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At CES and CeBIT, I read about new user experience test results that Intel mentioned showing there may be pent up consumer demand for having touch on a laptop. Around the time Microsoft released it's Windows 8 Preview -- the new OS built around touch -- I spoke with Daria Loi from Intel, who showed me the touchscreen laptop she used in tests and the Ultraook reference design that has built-in touch. I also connected with +Josh Smith, talented consumer tech reviewer at Notebooks.com to get his take on touch for laptops.
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Steve “Chippy” Paine's profile photoKen Kaplan's profile photoKevin Cox's profile photoJosh Smith's profile photo
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Don't know how much I would trust the focus groups. Did they make comparisons to other things which they could improve for interactions in the study? Like Touch Screen vs Larger Track-pad. Anytime you focus on one area you lose focus on others.
 
Good point. They used an off-the-shelf laptop with touchscreen running several apps/scenarios where people could use touch, physical keyboard and/or touchpad .
 
+Ken E Kaplan What I'm wondering is if they made the keyboard or track-pad totally rock then would they dollar for dollar get higher scores? Another thing to think about would be if they change the UI would they still use touch? The Windows 8 Metro UI is wildly biased towards touch. For example scrolling in Metro with the mouse/track-pad forces users to use the tiny scroll-bar at the bottom and will not let you use the entire screen because it's stubborn.

Personally I've never used a touch screen laptop but it seems like an interesting concept. I'm curious exactly how it would change things.
 
I'm suspicious of the long-term desire of people to touch their laptop screens. Initially, when I had a touch laptop, I tried everything out but after a year of use I was only doing certain actions on the screen. Scrolling, drag and drop and some drag actions in programs and windows. Today, given the better touchpads, i'd probably do scrolling on the touchpad.
They key to it is a compelling touch experience. It all hinges on Windows 8 and Metro apps to give the consumer something they want, long-term. In my testing so far, Win 8 appears to be doing a good job of providing that but with users on laptops likely to be using the standard, mouse-optimised desktop more, it might not be enough. Maybe we'll migrate to Metro usage as apps improve but that will take years.
 
+Steve Chippy Paine +Nicole Scott Glad you chimed in. I tried to focus on the findings, but looking back at how people have had touch on clamshells for a while brings more context. I did ask Daria if she thought people saw touch as a novelty --fad or short-term desire that might not last. She said most felt it was just inevitable, that touch would just be there as another way to work the laptop. Your video duo from CeBIT put a lot in perspective. Many aren't crazy about touch today, but i wonder if touch will just become standard on laptops in the next two or three years. 
 
+Ken E Kaplan Novelty maybe, but fad or short term desire I don't think would be the case. I mean it's an input device if it works better then it works better. What really matters is how much better it is compared to other improvements. A car maker could add more trunk space to sports cars, but they don't because it takes away from the performance. There is always a trade-off. Touch screens are expensive and have some drawbacks. Capacitive touch adds glare and can reduce clarity of the display. If they were useful enough to mostly outweigh the negatives of this and be more functional then other ways to interact then I feel like it would make sense. Though I would think the current clamshell design hinders the full potential of touch screens.
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