Younger generation to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises

Just recently, HP Philippines launches their latest Touchsmart offering to the local market via the HP TouchSmart 600. The new device ushers in the touchscreen interface amongst desktop PCs.

In a nutshell, The TouchSmart 600 has a 23-inch 16:9 HD widescreen for gaming and video entertainment. The TouchSmart 600 has HDMI and Composite Video inputs that let you connect an Xbox, PS3, or Wii so that you can use it as a display for your video game console. It also features 750GB of storage space and 4GB DDR3-SDRAM which makes this PC lighting fast. Bundled with an Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 processor is Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

The HP TouchSmart 600 PC’s included software package comes with: Recovery Partition; Optional re-allocation of recovery partition; Recovery CD/DVD creation tool and many more.

During the launch, I was asking myself if the enterprise market will be adopting a touchscreen PC. I am convinced that home users would love to have this as part of their appliance, but for corporate use – I seriously doubt it. I chanced upon a study by Gartner that confirms my concern.

According to Gartner, Inc., the immediate productivity gains promised by the flood of touch-enabled devices coming to market in 2010 will be slow to materialize in the enterprise.

“What we’re going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises” said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. “By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 percent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens”

The earliest adopters of touch-enabled devices will be consumers who rarely deal with legacy issues. They will be looking for entertainment and casual gaming applications. Gartner predicts that iPhone and touch-enabled smartphone users will want to extend the multitouch experience to their PC computing. iPad and the overwhelming majority of slate, tablet and touch-enabled convertible devices planned for 2010 will have a consumer focus.

Touch-enabled devices will have slow adoption in the enterprise, due to heavy requirements for typing and text input, Gartner analysts said. The “muscle memory” of mouse users and the potential problems of moving a user’s hands from the keyboard to the mouse will create particular adoption barriers for knowledge workers. Instead, consumers and education will be the earliest adopters of touch-enabled PCs and notebooks.

One of the key target usages for the next wave of tablets will be media content consumption (movies, newspapers and e-books), and the real success driver for entertainment devices will be the content delivery ecosystem. If this category succeeds, it will create greater market awareness of and demand for touch in other PC applications.

As prices drop, education will become a major market for touch and pen-enabled devices. Younger children just entering school find direct manipulation on the screen a natural way to interact with their computers. Older students are already using pen input to annotate class material or capture formulae and graphics that can’t be recorded with keyboards (for math, chemistry and physics classes, among others). However, most school districts do not want to support two separate devices — one for touch and another for pen. To deal with the differing requirements of the different grades, most districts are looking for dual-input screens that support both touch and pen in a single device.

For workers immersed in graphics data analysis, touch will extend the value of the datasets as users directly manipulate the resulting graphs. Software support will be the big issue. Over time, as more touch-based graphics analysis applications become available, the features will move down market for mainstream employees, but not in the near term.

Gartner expects progress to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. No single “killer application” will change the market overnight; rather, there will be an incremental introduction of user interface and ergonomics improvements, drops in hardware prices and increases in touch-enhanced software.

At the end of the day, it will be the needs of the users and the available applications that will determine what gadgets are for which users.

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