Touch might not be such a big feature on big screen computers, but the notebook market is getting ready to tempt Windows 7 users
There are a few touchscreen laptops out on the market now, but in sales term the market is tiny. It won't be until Windows 7 will be generally available that this will change, and even then, not by much.
However, a few companies are preparing new models to take advantage of any demand (though we're frankly sceptical that touchscreen notebooks will take off due to the obvious stumbling block of smeary/fingerprint covered screens). TechRadar
has a round up of existing models including a recent Asus EEE PC that's a netbook/tablet combo, but it will be the models that hit the streets with Windows 7 that will garner the most attention.
ASUS's new touchscreen comes with a swivel action
First up will be Sony with a new Vaio W model. There is is a cool Q&A with Sony on the Laptop Blog
that offers some insight into where Sony is going with its future models -- the Playstation store and interface anyone?
However, most people seem to be waiting for Apple to make a move in this market with its long-rumoured 'netpad' style tablet, with an iPhone-quality oil-repelling capacitive touch-screen. And of course, that's going to be tied very much to Mac OS X or iPhone OS -- we don't expect Apple would make it easy for anyone to run Windows 7 on that.
Given Apple's success in the iPhone space, it has the greatest chance of taking tablets mainstream, but even that probably won't be enough to make it really popular -- the number of people who need something between a mobile handset and a full-size notebook is, frankly, a niche audience.
What is needed are some applications that will make users jump up and pay attention. Without them touch is just a nice gimmick. Perhaps this list
will convince you that there is a future in touch?