Touchscreens : NOT the Future of Desktop PCs

Touchscreens definitely have their place in the so-called “modern consumer electronics market”, but some people just take it too far. For example, a recent article predicted that soon the now-ubiquitous keyboard & mouse combination would be totally extinct. All computers would come equipped with huge (50 inches!) touchscreens that would double as virtual keyboards, and you’d do all the point-and-click stuff with your fingers.

Now I’m annoyed by these ridiculous predictions, so I’m going to devote a blog post (this one) to why I think they are wrong. Yay for the Internet! Here we go.

Hand Fatigue

This would be a major ergonomic problem with large touchscreens. When using the mouse, you usually only move your fingers and your wrist, while your arm is in a rested position. You can move the cursor from one side of the screen just by flicking the wrist. With a large touchscreen you would need to move your entire arm to accomplish the same thing. Obviously, this would get tiring fast.

Lack of Precision

Try hitting only a single pixel with the tip of your finger. You can’t? No drawing/design/3D modeling for you!
To be fair, a stylus pen would help with this.


On the other hand, I just can’t fathom playing any modern FPS with a stylus. Well, I can imagine how it would end – with a stylus-impaled touchscreen.

Lack of Feedback

Touch typing would be a lot harder on a flat touchscreen, as it lacks all the guiding and feedback mechanisms that a physical keyboard has. I’m talking about the buttons and how they move – tactile feedback – and the clicks and clatter they create -audial feedback. Haptic feedback technology may eventually solve this, but it still has a long way to go.

Miscellaneous Nitpicking

Smudges and dirty fingerprints are another problem. The same goes for moving around your input devices (I can easily reposition the keyboard for my comfort; not so with a huge 50-inch screen). And having your hands on the screen would interfere with your ability to see what’s going on. And… eh, I’m out.

By the way, many of the aforementioned arguments also apply to holographic displays (the kind seen in “Minority Report”).


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One Response to “Touchscreens : NOT the Future of Desktop PCs”

  1. Dade says:

    “i can imagine how it would end – with a stylus-impaled touchscreen.” LOL so true

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