WHILE A LOT OF PEOPLE stroke their iPhone screens lovingly, the big computer giant Hewlett-Packard has been working on an array of products that use the same kind of finger-tapping interface. And their first samples are in Irish computer shops, giving me the opportunity to play with the Touchsmart screen at left. I believe touchscreens are the preferred method of using a computer in a non-technical environment, even though I've seen effective touchscreen usages in hospitals and delivery vans. Touchscreens are the interface of the future. I'm impressed with the technology and plan to save the money required to mount a Touchsmart device in my sitting room. I'm thinking about designating a corner area where people can tap away during a television show or while watching a DVD on a main screen across the room. I know it's something I'd like to do during the evening news because I think a lot of stories on the main news shows need fact-checking.
Market research suggests H-P is doing the right thing. The number of touchscreen devices, including PCs, should more th an double to 800m by 2013, according to industry tracker iSuppli.
Microsoft is adding touchscreen capabilities to its next operating system, due out in 2010. When you add out-of-the-box touchscreen capabilities to low-cost touchscreen components, you have a whole new realm of computing about to change our concept of "input device" at the start of the next decade.