PC based appliances, touchscreens, technology & innovation

In December, I took delivery of my fourth touch screen computer.  The first two were Compaq TC-1000’s with their futuristic removable keyboards, and lack of processing power and memory.  They were followed by a Fujitsu U1010, which was my idea of what a netbook ought to be, except I found that to be slow as a wet week as well.  To my complete surprise, I found that the Fujitsu was too small to be practical for use – something that I never thought that I’d ever say!  In fact – make it the fifth:  the CarPC had a 7″ WVGA touchscreen embedded in the dash.

This time, it’s serious though.  This time, the machine is my primary, having converted the workstation to Windows Home Server three months ago.

The new machine is a HP TX2z, and it’s the first time that I’ve bought myself  new laptop.  For the money, it’s hard to buy a dual core laptop with 4gb of RAM in a 12″ form factor.  I wanted small (but not as small as the Fujitsu or Dad’s Acer Aspire One), but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice power – for some reason it’s difficult to buy grunter machines that are less than 14″.

I’m loving having a laptop.  Most of the Maxine McKew post was written on the train yesterday morning while the bus drivers were all having a sleep in (yep – this post has been in draft for a while!!).  I know that lots of people blaze away on laptops on the train all the time, but that was a first for me, and like the first time I connected to the internet, or a wireless network, or downloaded something, it was a moment.  Since I started writing this post, the HP TM2, the natural replacement for the TX2z has been announced and released, and I read today that they are being slated for i7 processors.  Not having to sacrifice performance for small is my idea of a computing dream, particularly when I can connect it to my big monitor and dock at home.

I’m loving having a touchscreen again after such a long break – Windows7 and multitouch has really moved touch forward, and being able pinch and zoom, and poke links in Chrome with my finger to navigate to the next point of interest, especially when the in tablet mode.

What will be interesting is how touch gets implemented for the mainstream.  It’s clear that although the HP Touchsmarts are lovely machines, for non technology focussed users, the gorilla arms paradigm isn’t going to win friends.  But I think that 10/GUI has a lot of potential.  It seems a physically natural and natural way to work, and has some beauty in the way that it abstracts the hardware layer.  I can’t wait for this stuff to start flowing through.

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