Microsoft is talking a lot about the importance of touch input to the Windows 8 experience in everything from tablets to high-end desktops. To show just how far you can go with touch, Microsoft demonstrated a PC running Windows 8 connected to an 82-inch touchscreen that can support up to 100 touch inputs (or 10 simultaneous users).

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  • Rick83 - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Sure, it looks great in a demo, but so far all ergonomics and usability research has shown that this kind of UI does not work for any extended time frame.

    On the other hand, instructors use black/whiteboards etc, so there's a potential use case in education, or, in fact, when doing demonstrations or presentations, but I fail to see how Windows has much to do with that, as in the end application support is what matters more.
    Of course, if that means that there is a decent multi-touch API integrated into Windows 8, this may be of some interest.

    Still, a bit too flashy for my taste.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Nothing beats Apple flashy-ness. MS can try all they want. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    True, but with a wireless keyboard and touchpad or mouse that could be kind of neat. I'd still opt for the regular TV plus connected HTPC though, that way you don't have to throw the whole thing out when something is outdated. I wonder if they'll work voice control into it, that could be good for home theatre. Reply
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Welcome is 2007, except I use a 100" screen. Reply
  • Kepe - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    You are absolutely right. Imagine (if you aren't already) sitting in front of your desktop PC. Now imagine if its monitor was a touch screen and you had Win 8 installed. Now imagine using your computer by reaching all the way to your monitor and touching it to accomplish something. I can't even reach my monitor without leaning forward. Can you imagine anything that could be *less* ergonomic? Neither can I.
    Touch UIs only work when you can have the touch screen near your body and at about elbow height (or in your hand if it's a handheld device). Sure it would be cool gimmick for desktops, for about two minutes, in which time your arm will start to hurt and you'll notice how much easier it is to point at things on your screen using a mouse.
    The Metro UI will be a huge failure on desktops. Maybe it would be ok if you could split your screen so that the other (say, right) half would be where the Metro UI with its live tiles resides, and on your left you could have the regular Windows desktop. I played around with the Developer Preview quite a bit when it came out, and found the Metro UI to be hugely restrictive and hard to operate. You just can't do what you want with it. Want to launch a program? Good luck trying to find the program search thingy and then typing in the name of the program you need. Instead of just going to the start menu and finding all your programs listed alphabetically there.
    Windows is a platform on top of which applications run. Being able to quickly and effortlessly find and launch the applications you want is the main functionality. Not a fancy (touch) UI that shows the latest Facebook posts of your "friends" and the weather outside.
    Well anyways, downloading the Consumer Preview now. I hope they have done something to make the thing less crippled.
    Reply
  • thrawn3 - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    I mostly agree with you but you forget one interesting way of applying this technology and that is Microsoft Surface. From what this article is saying it sounds like they have rolled in a lot of the same code into Windows 8.
    I don't think there are any Gorilla arm problems with using a tabletop display and touch surface.

    I haven't tried Windows 8 yet but the Consumer Preview is already downloading and I will see soon enough what I think of the design.
    Reply
  • Kepe - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    When I said "Touch UIs only work when you can have the touch screen near your body and at about elbow height" I meant things like the Surface. You need to have the touch screen at ~elbow height, close to you and tilted upwards for it to be ergonomic to use. Then it will work. Reply
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Even then, imagine using this for an extended period of time?

    Sure, playing with it for 20 minutes is neet-o. Think of using this for hours... Sorry, slight mouse movements and finger twitches when typing are far far far more usable than a touchscreen. I get annoyed using my smartphone's touchscreen for more than 30 minutes.
    Reply
  • Chudilo - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    You, sir lack any sort of imagination. Imagine a desktop that is design with a touchscreen surface in mind (and By desktop I include the desk) If a High resolution (high DPI, mobile phone like pixel density) Multi-touch Monitor is anchored to your desk at about a 45 degree angle directly in front of you with a physical keyboard (that won't change until they have piezoelectric keyboards that will let you feel buttons on screen) at the bottom of of the display. (no mouse).
    Precise (mouse-like) input for CAD and Photoshop is handled by moving stylus directly on the screen.

    That is actually a more natural way of interacting with your computer. That's right, more natural then a mouse. You can drag windows by dragging them. select things by touching them. The current
    Reply
  • This Guy - Thursday, March 01, 2012 - link

    Sounds like a touch screen laptop with a fixed screen angle, like the acer iconia w500. Using one for six months, I agree that it is often more natural to touch the screen than to use a keyboard/mouse or pointing stick.

    The biggest flaw with these types of device is that there is not a touch screen element for precise input. Why can't Microsoft add a small box to Windows which you contol by rolling your finger? When you place your finger in the box, roll it twice to configure then the box works just like a pointing stick.

    I'm calling it a roll box :)
    Reply

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