The Windows 8 Gamble with Touch Technology

After a reluctant (and even hostile) reception to its new operating system, Windows 8, it seems that Microsoft has taken a billion-dollar gamble that the future of personal computing is touch technology.

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Most of us are very familiar with touch technology; it has been incredibly successful. We use it every day on our smartphones, kiosks, and tablet computers, but with Windows 8, Microsoft is assuming (hoping) that users will find Windows 8 so attractive that they will want to use it the millions of home PCs around the world.

There are three main differences between tablet screens and a PC screen usage: the angle, distance and time interval; which iterates why touch technology is appropriate in some instances, and not in others.

While many are seeing touch technology for the first time, touch technology was originally introduced in the 1980s. The reason it didn’t catch on then, was due to a problem referred to at the time as “gorilla arm.” Repeated use of touch screens in a PC environment revealed that a painful condition that would arise with its users. Symptoms included a tingling ache from incurred from the repetitive stress injuries were associated with prolonged touch screen usage. Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s. The other issue of course comes from finger-grease. It is easy enough to clean of your smartphone, but it is certainly not convenient on a large monitor.

This recent gambit by Microsoft seems to show tangible desperateness of the once mighty software company as it struggles to remain as a leader in the computer world. It may be that we are seeing the final death throes of the failing giant as it places all its energies into the uncertain future of touch technology and its Windows operating system. Some have argued that the death of the PC is inevitable; but until such time as a new superior interface comes along, the future of PC usage will remain largely unchanged.

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