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'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | about 2 years ago

Microsoft 6

Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Pogue writes that with Windows 8 Microsoft has made a billion-dollar gamble that personal computing is taking a new direction and that new direction is touch. Using a series of fluid, light finger taps and swipes across the screen on a PC running Windows 8, you can open programs, flip between them, navigate, adjust settings and split the screen between apps, among other functions. It's fresh, efficient and joyous to use—all on a touch-screen tablet. But Microsoft expects us to run Windows 8 on our tens of millions of everyday PCs and although touch has been incredibly successful on our phones, tablets, airport kiosks and cash machines, Pogue says touch will never take over on PC's. The reason? Gorilla Arms. There are three big differences between tablet screens and a PC's screen: angle, distance and time interval. The problem is "the tingling ache that [comes] from extending my right arm to manipulate that screen for hours, an affliction that has earned the nickname of gorilla arm." Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s but Microsoft is betting that Windows 8 will be so attractive that we won't mind touching our PC screens, at least until the PC concept fades away entirely. "My belief is that touch screens make sense on mobile computers but not on stationary ones," concludes Pogue. "Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that I'm wrong.""

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Re: Tingling Ache in Pogue's Arm (1)

theodp (442580) | about 2 years ago | (#42490843)

"Tech writer David Pogue, wife, charged in Westport dispute [] : An argument ensued, which Jennifer Pogue decided to record on her iPhone, police said. David Pogue contends that, during a struggle over the phone, "When he wouldn't let go, she bit his arm," said police Capt. Sam Arciola."

Why touch only? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 2 years ago | (#42490989)

On a desktop, you can have all the input devices you like and use the one that works for each job. For instance, a dual-monitor setup with touch on one would be great for flight sims: "fly" the airplane with a joystick and flip switches with the touch screen.

Re:Why touch only? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42491209)

On a desktop, you can have all the input devices you like and use the one that works for each job.

The only joystick that works in Windows Store applications is an Xbox 360 Controller, not the USB HID joysticks that everyone else makes. As Microsoft deemphasizes the desktop in favor of the interface formerly known as Metro, you're going to have to find a flight stick licensed by Microsoft for use with the Xbox 360 video game console.

Horizontal touch surface? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 2 years ago | (#42491319)

I think it's significant that vertical touch screens are still rare on desktops. Their use in 1972 in the University of Illinois' PLATO system meant not only that the technology was employed in a large scale, but that it was made available to impressionable students. Over the years many technological solutions were found, prices have come down, and there's been wide-spread use in "kiosk" environments.

If they were really usable in full workday desktop environment I think we'd have seen them take off long ago.

Nevertheless, I would point to the Apple "Magic Trackpad" as a possible compromise. If, in fact, multitouch gestures add real value to a GUI, but large vertical screens cause "gorilla arm," then an auxiliary flat multitouch panel is a possible solution--and has the advantage of being retrofittable to existing displays. It was once thought that people would have great difficulty adapting to the "abstract" nature of mouse movements in one plane causing pointer movements in another--and indeed there seem to be small percentage of people who find this to be a real problem--but by and large people adapted quickly.

Microsoft in Charge (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42492293)

I think it's significant that vertical touch screens are still rare on desktops.

I don't think that is significant we have not had serious competition on the desktop since Apple went with a begging bowl to Microsoft a then firmly entrenched unapologetic abusive monopoly still not know for their innovation. In fact for this change to happen competition (of a sort) came from not the desktop, but mobile...with a completely different...erm Desktop!?

Its Metro(widget Layer) not Touchscreen failed. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42492473)

The second 27"-32" monitor with speakers; >300PPI ; 2.4:1, hits about $150-$250 I'm buying one.

...before windows 8 I wanted a Desktop OS with a killer touchscreen, after Windows 8...I am still waiting for it.Can we say Metro is crap, there is a reason why Windows Phone is 3% of the market and dropping and Android is 75% and growing. It would be improved immediately by simply running Android in VM/Windows 7 desktop.

Seriously have you used Window 8 without a touchscreen....With a touchscreen, both are awful Its two Desktops the metro one (The one Microsoft is pushing as the future)...which is shitty mixed with the crippled Window 7 environment...that pushes users onto sticking "point and click" style start menu on it on (there are about 6 last time I looked)....nice long term strategy boys!!

Here is the thing I maintain constantly I want next years *touchscreen* Chromebook running Linux (I mean Cinnamon) running Android Apps VM or AINE(Android is not an Emulator) I don't long as get this. I'm running touchscreen Applications in a windows environment!!!. Angry Birds(Microsoft Share App) running side by side with LibreOffice Writer Absolutely. Its not like my mouse and keyboard are going anywhere soon...or it would be a 32" Tablet.

Seriously though who here who has a modern capacitive device that loves it (Apple/Android users only like I need to say), ok keep your hands up if you like Windows 8...ok same people put up your hands if your want your Apple/Android interface replaced with Windows 8.

...Forgot to say Tower Defence/Strategy games on Touchscreen fabulous...on a 32" Display OMG. Flight Sims with on screen buttons, using a flight sim joystick...not going to happen.

The sad fact is I love widgets, but they failed on the desktop with Vista...and are done better on Android.

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