Acer this morning announced the availability of its new TravelMate B115 laptop for customers in the U.S. and Canada. It sports an 11.6-inch HD (1366x768) display with support for 10-point multi-touch, once considered a premium feature in laptop land but now available for a comparative pittance -- Acer's asking $380 USD and $439 CAD for the TravelMate B115.
Microsoft has never hidden the fact that Windows 8 works best when you're able to touch, tap, swipe, and get hands-on with your display. The problem there is that most existing monitors lack touch support, so if you want that functionality on your desktop, you're looking at investing in a new panel. Acer's new 20-inch FT200HQL is one such option, and though the 19.5-inch screen is on the small side, it supports 10-point capacitive touch input.
Microsoft's gamble with Windows 8 is that users far and wide want the same touch experience regardless of which device they're using, be it a smartphone, tablet, or notebook PC. That may have been a faulty assumption. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), touch-capable laptop shipments are much lower than Microsoft's OEM partners had predicted.
Is there room for a AAA title that uses touch controls?
Windows 8 is the latest in a long history of products launched with the full weight of the Microsoft corporate gorilla behind it, but like several of its predecessors it has failed to gain popularity the way the company would like to see. Complaints against Windows 8 and its “Metro” interface are many and though the Windows 8.1 update is on the horizon, Microsoft has done little to entice users into the modern UI or even Windows 8 in general.
Sony markets its Vaio Tap 20 as a mobile desktop, but you could say that about any portable computer. We think “laptablet” is closer to the mark. With its 20-inch display, the Tap 20 is both a big laptop and a gargantuan tablet. And it wouldn’t make any sense at all without Windows 8.
Note: This review was taken from the April issue of the magazine.
The next version of Ubuntu will support touch input.
Direct your browser to Ubuntu's homepage and you'll be greeted to a countdown timer that's set to expire on January 2, 2013 (tomorrow). It reads, "So close, you can almost touch it," a fairly obvious indication that Canonical plans on announcing a touch-friendly version of Ubuntu, just like Windows 8. Well, not just like Windows 8, though Ubuntu is headed towards a universal user interface (UI) that will look and function the same across multiple devices.
Think of the all the things you can accomplish with the basic two-fingered mouse set-up. Using only one left-click and one right-click button, you can transfer money to a prince in Nigeria, pay all of your bills for a month, or save the world from Diablo, the Lord of Terror. Now imagine what you could do with five little touch-sensitive mice, each connected to a separate finger. Sound weird and crazy? It is. But that's not stopping Japan's Double Research & Development Co. from developing the wacky device.
More often than not, a monolithic public corporation acquiring a small independent company ends up stifling innovation, sacrificing quality for quantity, and inexorably suffocating the golden goose. Happily, that scenario never played out when Logitech bought Slim Devices. While we don’t have any insight as to what’s gone on behind the scenes, we can tell you that the Touch—the fourth addition to the Squeezebox family of digital audio receivers under Logitech’s reign—is utterly fabulous.
If Israeli company eyeSight has its way then all gadgets with front-facing cameras will be strictly controlled by hand gestures. The company today announced the launch of its flagship Natural User Interface (NUI) technology for Android devices – already available for Nokia handsets, inviting manufacturers to use it in their forthcoming devices.
The technology depends on advanced algorithms for interpreting hand gestures. This requires real-time processing of images received from the device’s built-in camera.
The technology only appears to support simple hand gestures at the moment. “Users of Android devices can now silence an incoming call, navigate between GPS menus, activate their MP3 player, play games and carry many other tasks by simply swiping their hand over the device,” eyeSight said in a press release.
The technology might sound really exciting at first but it begins to lose that initial appeal in a hurry when you are made to think of a practical use for it. Perhaps for this very reason, it has proved to be a dud on Nokia phones.
We're not sure why Google would want to keep this a secret, but if the search giant plans on incorporating touch capabilities into its upcoming Chrome OS, the company doesn't want to you to know about it, at least not yet. At least that's the impression TechRadar gives, who flat out asked Google whether or not Chrome will include touch options.
"I can't... I mean... right now we are targeting netbooks, that's what we're focused on, but I expect it to work well... we expect it to target everything up to desktop computers. Chrome OS will be built for a specific hardware setup," said Anders Sandholm, Senior Product Manager of Search at Google's London HQ.
According to TechRadar, Sandholm was none too comfortable talking about touch, which is a bit different than a couple of months ago when Sandholm, without stuttering, told the tech site "I'm sure that something is being discussed [about touch input], but I'm not exactly sure what the outcome is going to be."
It's probably a safe bet that first-run Chrome OS-based netbooks won't come with any kind of touch capabilities, but after that, it's fair game.