Will 2015 mark the demise of the touchscreen notebook?

The trend for clamshell computers with a touch screen as well as a keyboard could already be over.

| Updated on: Dec 03 2014, 12:54 IST

The trend for clamshell computers with a touch screen as well as a keyboard could already be over.

The launch of Windows 8 in August 2012 was meant to herald a new way of working on a computer: one that combined the best attributes of using a tablet with the practicality of physical keyboards, track pads and a mouse in a single operating system.

However, just over two years on from Microsoft integrating touchscreen commands into its software, a number of the world's leading PC makers are looking to wind down production of touchscreen notebooks.

According to Digitimes research, orders for such computers built in Taiwan have ceased and 'this type of notebook will be phased out of the industry,' claim the publication's sources.

Although a portable computer that can be used for serious productivity and for idle browsing via the screen too seems like a great idea on paper, the reality is very different. Trying to use the two input methods is counterintuitive when both are contained in a traditional clamshell form.

Apple doesn't offer a single touchscreen computer and when asked why, Steve Jobs famously said: 'We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work. Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical. It gives great demo but after a short period of time, you start to fatigue and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off. it doesn't work, it's ergonomically terrible. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal, hence iPads.'

Jobs' sentiments were echoed earlier this year by Apple's current senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, who told Cnet that Apple has no plans to build a touchscreen Mac. 'We don't think it's the right interface, honestly,' he said.

It seems that after two years of trying, Apple's competitors are beginning to agree. Demand for touchscreen notebooks has been low and for 2015 manufacturers will be turning their attention to traditional notebooks instead.

That's not to say that a device with a keyboard and a touchscreen can't be a success, but it does suggest it has to take a different form factor than the traditional notebook, hence the growing prevalence of 2-in1 and detachable devices where the screen separates form the keyboard or can be folded over to become a de-facto tablet.

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First Published Date: 03 Dec, 12:49 IST