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Touch or not to Touch - how my interface changes

United States
The promise to move beyond current interface 'desktop' metaphors to something that might truly represent a desktop or maybe a completely different idea is not commensurate with traditional office computers but with off-the-desktop appliances. Where off-the-desktop really means breaking the traditional set up of mouse/keyboard/vertical screen.

We are seeing a revolution on hand held interfaces. Arguably, Apple lead this revolution (at a minimum they popularized it) but now many others are joining the wave. At the same time, large display interfaces are also being supported by quite a few companies leaping into touch enables metaphors for interfaces. Hand held devices have a lot of applications that provide interesting services but the scope seems to be limited. By that I mean that many apps are different variations of show me something on a map or web page where I can navigate around. There are of course plenty of games as well. For the large display technologies applications are currently woefully lacking. Here again many of them are show me things on a map or a web page. There are fewer games but those are replaced with plenty of ways to make patterns with finger painting or move images around.

Now being all touchy is catching on for laptops. There are plenty of useful and productive tools for those. But I don't really see the model of a laptop and touch screens being compatible. If I am using the touch screen then my hand(s) are not on the keyboard. So now I am constantly looking to make sure my hands have moved back to the 'F' and 'J' positions. Add to this the fact that most software has extremely limited touch support and you have a gimmick that really doesn't improve the usefulness of the device.

This is not a new topic but the question is still the same. What will the generic touch interface to do the tasks we now use a mouse and keyboard for really look like?

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