Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Businesses Communications Apple

Apple Losing Touchscreen War 392

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-about-the-battle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While Apple's iPhone may be the first device most people call to mind when they think of a touch interface mobile, the 3G device is still lagging behind in the touchscreen shifting stakes — it's getting a sound thrashing from Moto and Samsung, who've cornered the Asian market where touchscreens are popular for their ability to let users input Asian languages without all that fiddly Qwerty nonsense."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Losing Touchscreen War

Comments Filter:
  • by ardor (673957) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:21PM (#24963965)

    Steve Jobs is not a human with a reality distortion field, Steve Jobs is a reality distortion field with a human body inside.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:22PM (#24963981) Homepage

    Hopefully before that day comes, Apple will start making tablets again --- I really need a replacement for my Newton MessagePad and my Fujitsu Stylistic is just too big to travel w/ me constantly as the MP did (and my Sony PRS-505 ebook reader does --- something that size, w/ pen input would be perfect).

    William

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:39PM (#24964315) Homepage Journal
      That would ROCK. They could just slap a touchscreen on top of the bottom clamshell of a Macbook air.

      It would be perfect for college students taking notes and reading e-textbooks and a myriad of other applications.

      Somewhat offtopic, and forgive me for being ignorant, by why havent tablets caught on? I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it Just Worked(tm). Most of the "tablets" out there are just laptops with flippable screens == too much complexity and too many fragile moving parts.

      I usually can't stand Macs but if Apple were the first to do a simple, elegant, full-screened "iClipboard", I'd be all over it.

      Forget the iPhone, it's UI is way too goddamned slow for a mobile device.
      • by omeomi (675045) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:45PM (#24964411) Homepage
        Somewhat offtopic, and forgive me for being ignorant, by why havent tablets caught on? I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it Just Worked(tm).

        Looks like you just answered your own question there...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snoyberg (787126)

          I think his question is "Why hasn't it caught on on the manufacturing side to make a tablet that Just Worked(tm)?"

      • by jfim (1167051) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:52PM (#24964533)

        There are "slates", which are only the screen and a stylus, but text input is very annoying. Think of the amount of text you might enter in a single day, or just even in a single slashdot post. Would you rather write it with a stylus or type it?

        • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:22PM (#24965103)

          Which brings up an interesting question. Up until now Western languages have had a huge advantage for computers since keyboards can have one button per letter because of the small alphabet and context-free characters. It is really easy and fast to input characters to form words using dedicated buttons.

          Now with accurate, sensitive touch screens, will word-based writing systems like Chinese actually be better suited now for writing?

        • by HAKdragon (193605) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nogardkah>> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @02:03PM (#24965815)

          My biggest issue with writing on touch screens is the lack of friction/traction. Since a stylus on touch screen is real smooth, I have a harder time controlling my writing as opposed to when I use a pen or pencil on a piece of paper.

      • by dal20402 (895630)

        Pure tablets haven't caught on because text input from them is a chore at best, and most of what most people do with a computer is text input.

        I suppose it's possible that better virtual keyboards and haptic feedback may improve the situation, but not enough for me... without a breakthrough, I'd rather have a powerful MacBook Air-like machine than a tablet.

      • by aero6dof (415422)

        Somewhat offtopic, and forgive me for being ignorant, by why havent tablets caught on?

        Personally, I haven't given them even a second glance because they seem to be priced at some high-premium above regular laptops. I know the touch hardware costs more to add in, but the price differential looks like double the otherwise equivalent laptop. As an additional side issue, I'd have to deal with Windows or reduced Linux support.

      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:30PM (#24965249)

        They have caught on in niche markets. Last two times I went for surgery at a relatively brand new place all the nurses had tablets. Those 100 forms you had to fill out authorizing surgery were all digital. You could read through them and sign at the bottom.

        All the XRay machines at their office are digital. Everything gets dumped into a central server. When I went into the consult rooms the doctors walked in with tablets and reviewed the xrays right there, no more having to hand off the big negatives.

        Doctors wrote prescriptions on the pad and they printed off out front.

        But as others have pointed out, I wouldn't have wanted to post this note on slashdot using a stylus.

      • The Nokia internet tablets are promising, but not beefy enough on memory. Give me a model with 512 megs of memory instead of 128, and then I'll take it seriously.

        I am keeping my eyes on them regardless, since Nokia bought out Trolltech/QT and KDE 4 packages are now available for them.

      • fragile? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Comboman (895500)

        Why havent tablets caught on? ... Most of the "tablets" out there are just laptops with flippable screens == too much complexity and too many fragile moving parts.

        Moving parts yes, but fragile? What's fragile is a tablet screen without a flippable laptop keyboard protecting it during transport/storage/etc. Don't think of it as a laptop with a flippable touchscreen; think of it as a tablet PC with a built-in protective cover that doubles as a keyboard.

      • by i.of.the.storm (907783) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:07PM (#24967831) Homepage
        Dunno, I just started college and I got a tablet, along with 5 other friends, and here I regularly see a ton of tablets. They are catching on, it's just that until recently there haven't been many affordable tablets. But now HP's got the awesome tx2000/2500 series for under a grand USD, which is really nice. Also, the slate style tablets w/o flippable screens would suck for stuff like writing this comment. I don't see what's so complex about spinning the screen around. Everyone who sees it is pretty impressed, even a die-hard Mac user I know. Swiveling screens are actually useful beyond just converting to a tablet too, eg. if you're working on something and you want to show someone in front of you.
  • by AMCandel (1116349) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:23PM (#24963993)
    Apple Fanbois, attack!
    • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:16PM (#24964971) Journal

      Not even remotely comparable figures. iPhones aren't even being sold in places like CHINA, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. They've only been selling in some other countries for a month or two (Singapore, India).

      So if the iPhone has 20% of the OVERALL Asian market, it must be COMPLETELY DOMINATING the few (1?) market it's been in for any length of time: Japan.

      Time to buy more Apple Stock.

      • It would be pretty hard to have 20% of the Asian market while not sold in China. So either the figures only include the markets it is sold in, or it accounts for the fact that people in China are buying iPhones and then unlocking them.

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:24PM (#24964027)
    "All the other handset vendors - including Apple - are essentially niche players," ABI Research noted.

    For some background, I'm in IT and I work almost exclusively on Microsoft products and groan all you want but I'm a fan of theirs. I recently wanted to buy a smart phone. Mostly, something that was good at general web surfing, reading email and more. I saw my friends' iPhones and it was exactly what I was looking for but I have a natural anti-Apple bias so I didn't get one.

    Then I started a search for a phone that met the requirements I have that didn't have an Apple on the back of it. Last Friday, I eliminated the final contender (AT&T Tilt) and gave up and bought an iPhone 3G.

    It's not perfect, but it is amazingly good. I've yet to see a Windows Mobile device come close to it. The Samsung Omnia and Nokia Tube mentioned in the article don't appear to be available and to be honest, I didn't realize the other Windows Mobile devices sucked until I held them in my hand.

    Does anyone know of a Windows Mobile device that matches the iPhone in web surfing? I'd love to hear about it.
    • by lantastik (877247) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:36PM (#24964271)

      If web surfing is such a high priority for you, you are not looking for a smart phone, you are looking for an iPhone.

      Pick almost any other smart phone feature and put it head-to-head against the iPhone and the iPhone loses.

      • by ceejayoz (567949)

        If web surfing is such a high priority for you, you are not looking for a smart phone, you are looking for an iPhone.

        If you don't have proper Internet on your phone by now, I really don't think you have a right to call it a "smart" phone.

        The technology is there, the computing horsepower is there, and some phones have had it for a while. There's really no excuse at this point.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:17PM (#24964985)

          If you don't have proper Internet on your phone by now, I really don't think you have a right to call it a "smart" phone.

          The technology is there, the computing horsepower is there, and some phones have had it for a while. There's really no excuse at this point.

          If you can't install arbitrary applications on your phone by now, I really don't think you have a right to call it a "smart" phone.

          The technology is there, the computing horsepower is there, and some phones have had it for a while. There's really no excuse at this point.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tiedyejeremy (559815)

            If you can't install arbitrary applications on your phone by now, I really don't think you have a right to call it a "smart" phone.

            The technology is there, the computing horsepower is there, and some phones have had it for a while. There's really no excuse at this point.

            Here, here. The reason iphone and apple in general have not had better market penetration is their exclusionary nature.

          • by samkass (174571) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @02:35PM (#24966413) Homepage Journal

            If you can't install arbitrary applications on your phone by now, I really don't think you have a right to call it a "smart" phone.

            Oh please. All religious dogma aside, the 3000+ apps available through Apple's App Store more than qualify the iPhone as a "smart" phone. Sure, you have to pay $99, and Apple has rejected 3 apps so far so they must be evil, but all in all it's one of the cheapest, easiest-to-approach development systems for any mobile provider. And if you can't find some way to make $99/year on the App Store (or if you really want to keep everything free, open a lemonade stand on your street corner while developing on your laptop) then I don't have a lot of respect for your business acumen.

      • by kisrael (134664) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:22PM (#24965093) Homepage

        "Pick almost any other smart phone feature and put it head-to-head against the iPhone and the iPhone loses."

        This was a more defensible stance before the app store got under swing....
        it seemed ridiculous that my Palm was a better To Do and journaler than my iPhone, but Appigo's Todo and Twitteriffic now make it the best device I've owned.

        Probably the keyboard isn't fantastic for stuff that involves a lot of symbols, but in combination w/ its word recognition I can practically touch type.

        This device is amazing.

      • The iCal integration is pretty great.

        And with jailbreak, the iPhone's software capabilities go far and away beyond other manufacturers' offerings. Too bad Apple refuses to support the devices in a jailbroken capacity.

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I saw my friends' iPhones and it was exactly what I was looking for but I have a natural anti-Apple bias so I didn't get one.

      What's so "natural" about an anti-apple bias? Even if you are an admin in a MS shop? In the IIe days I liked Apple very much; but when my kids were in school and they had the expensive Apples with dinky keyboards and clumsy one button mice I hated them. These days Apple seems to have gotten their shit back together; were I to buy a whole computer rather than swapping out parts like I'

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Well, as they say, an Ubuntu user is just a windows fan who's used Vista.

      Disclaimer: I use and like Vista for my laptop and gaming, it's just a joke people.
    • by lupis42 (1048492)
      I hear very excellent things about the HTC touch pro, from a guy I know who does dev for them. The one he had to play with was CDMA, and the casing wasn't 100% final, but the main points are all there: Fast Processor, Lots of Memory, VGA screen, good touchscreen, copy-paste functionality, decent camera, BT, GPS, support for fast networks (3G or EVDO rev. a), and it runs Windows mobile. Might not be cheap, but I plan to get the CDMA one when it comes out, if you're on GSM, they should already be available
      • The next iteration, the HTC Dream, is supposed to run Android, and have a slide out QWERTY keyboard. That I'm really looking forward to.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      You could had bought HTC modell with a keyboard which you pull out from underneath: Touch Pro (Raphael)

      It's probably quite close to the iPhone but runs Windows instead.

      Personally I think the iPhone looks very nice in functionality but there is no way in hell I'd "legally" buy one with subscription for the insane prices they are charging. Half a thousand dollars or so sure, but no subscription.

      Also I don't like that Apple wants to decide what you want or should do, what you should get and so on. I'm not much

      • iPhone sans phone (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027)

        Personally I think the iPhone looks very nice in functionality but there is no way in hell I'd "legally" buy one with subscription for the insane prices they are charging. Half a thousand dollars or so sure, but no subscription.

        You might want to look into buying an iPod Touch then.

    • I'm surprised that you bought an iPhone based on requirements. Not that they aren't important or that the iPhone doesn't satisfy them but most people (like me) think the user interface is the most compelling reason to use an Apple product and are willing to let a few technical spec's fall through.

      Still I'm happy you made the right choice! :)

      • I think this post sums up the term "fanboi" nicely.

        • by kisrael (134664) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:28PM (#24965209) Homepage

          "I think this post sums up the term "fanboi" nicely."

          No, it really didn't... I don't know what "specs" we're talking about being missed here, but a good interface is crucial for many people...
          like Myron Krueger said: "If people were going to use computers all day, everyday, the design of such machines was not solely a technical problem-- it was also an aesthetic one. A lousy interface would mean a lousy life."

          • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:44PM (#24965489)

            "I think this post sums up the term "fanboi" nicely."

            No, it really didn't... I don't know what "specs" we're talking about being missed here, but a good interface is crucial for many people...
            like Myron Krueger said: "If people were going to use computers all day, everyday, the design of such machines was not solely a technical problem-- it was also an aesthetic one. A lousy interface would mean a lousy life."

            Dude, this is Slashdot. Here, "advanced user interface" means you're using xterm-color.

        • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:52PM (#24965627) Journal

          Not that I think I'll change anyone's mind but really think about what makes a product, ANY product useful nowadays. Is it the raw specs? Do you buy your car based solely (or even primarily) on how many horsepower it has or its MPG? No, things like comfort and handling and responsiveness matter greatly. Possibly even safety could be considered a part of the "user interface", we could all literally tie ourselves in to the seat using rope but a seat belt is much more convenient (and likely to be used).

          This doesn't even go into such things like styling or "image" (which is why you might buy a BMW over say a Chevy) and which, I'll happily admit, is a reason why I like Apple products. (Even services are very dependent on "the user interface" how is Disneyland different from Coney Island? Note: I used to design theme parks). So, if you want the maximum price to performance and are willing to suffer (great?) inconvenience, build your computer from scratch and install your own OS on it. That's what Bill had in mind, he thought we could all be nerds. I value my time more highly so I'll let Apple do the work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Umuri (897961)

      Your problem is you didn't mess with non default. Which as anyone knows, default will not get you the best in 95%+ of cases.

      I have an HTC-6800 (mogul for sprint users, titan/ppc-800 for others). The built in I.E. sucks, but if you put opera mini on it, it works wonderfully. Add to that wifi and a bigger ability to customize than the iphone, and i'm quite happy with it. Non quirky gps is also a plus.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by genghisjahn (1344927)
      I have the HTC Mogul and while it is not nearly as pretty (as far as GUI) it is very functional. The Exchange Direct Push is great. Email, calendar, contacts are all in both places, where ever I put them...no manual synching. For browsing, I use the IE Mobile for lots of sites that have mobile specific sites but the real winner is SkyFire's browser for Windows Mobile. Full site, zoom in, drag around on the screen, play flash, real audio, youtube...it all just works. If I flip the keyboard out the whole
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Dude. Android [openhandsetalliance.com]. Maybe you've heard of it?

    • by BorgDrone (64343) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:31PM (#24965275) Homepage

      Does anyone know of a Windows Mobile device that matches the iPhone in web surfing? I'd love to hear about it.

      There isn't any, opera on WM is pretty good, WebKit on S60 is pretty good, but none is as usable as Safari on iPhone.

      I do software development for mobile phones for a living, we have hundreds of different phones for testing purposes. None of them comes even close to the iPhone.

      As for Moto and Samsung, they make really, really crappy devices. Motorola devices are just underpowered, and most API's aren't accesible by 3rd party developers. Samsung devices are full of bugs, one even weirder than another. For example: on certain Samsung devices only odd attempts at opening a socket connection work (1st try succeeds, 2nd fails, 3rd succeeds), on some the bluetooth stack is broken (you can do a scan, you can connect, but you cannot detect a disconnect, your read will block forever without an exception). The list goes on and on and on.

      Also, not one of Samsungs devices seems to be running the same software as any other model, some bugs appear on several devices, but every single device has it's own combination of bugs and strange behaviour.

      Apple's phone and SDK may not be perfect, but it's way better than anything on any other platform, including .NET compact framework.

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:25PM (#24964041) Journal

    I was under the impression that it did, and that it even used its predictive-text system with the pictogram-style input ?

    Add that to the question: "What the hell has Apple got to "lose" regarding touch-screens anyway?" and it looks to me like someone wanted some hits, and Apple is a good brand-name to use to get them....

    Simon the cynic.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The iPhone does have Chinese input.

      Moreover, the article isn't really news at all. The iPhone was just released in most of these markets and isn't officially in China yet anyway. However, being here in Hong Kong (or even in the mainland) you see the iphone everywhere. So just give it time.

      Plus, who ever heard of a "touchscreen war"?

    • by Yokaze (70883)

      I don't know about other languages, but in Japanese, you enter the latin transliteration and get a list of possible representations in japanese / chinese characters, instead of drawing the character like you can do on other devices.
      That said, since firmware 2.0 [engadget.com], the iphone has handwriting recognition.

    • I was under the impression that it did, and that it even used its predictive-text system with the pictogram-style input ?

      Yeah as of iPhone OS 2.0 it has a rather robust input system. Apple wasn't targeting the international market before the 2.0 OS.

      The AC that submitted this obviously doesn't know that the iPhone isn't limited to only QWERTY input and the referenced article makes no statement on that is why Samsung and Moto are currently more popular. Looks like a little bit of trolling going on...

      http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/keyboard.html [apple.com]

    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:48PM (#24964449)
      I got the impression that they were referring to the other phone manufacturers having captured the market well before apple even entered it. Just my $.02
  • by overshoot (39700) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:29PM (#24964139)
    How come I can't find any here in the USA?

    For those of us with fingers larger than pencil points, QWERTY is just a waste of precious real estate.

    • by MooseMuffin (799896) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:35PM (#24964245)

      Larger than pencil points? Clearly you are not evolutionarily suited for the modern world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      One of the things that Apple engineers excel at is tuning obscure user interface parameters to enhance usability, but not in a way you can easily ... er ... put your finger on.

      I had the very first Apple "BlackBird" laptop -- a true landmark machine. It had a touchpad in an era when laptops came with trackballs -- basically inverted mice. It worked flawlessly and intuitively. It was years before I ever found a Windows laptop whose touchpad wasn't irritating by comparison. Apple somehow managed to make th

      • by dal20402 (895630)

        You wouldn't want to type on it

        This is what I thought when I only had an iPod touch. Then I got an iPhone 3G and started texting with it away from home.

        It's surprisingly good. I can type with it at 1/3 to 1/2 my speed on a full-size desktop keyboard. The key is to have faith in its autocorrect feature and just keep typing... 95% of the time the correction is right, and the rest of the time it's faster to just correct at the end of your text or paragraph.

        Now that the iPhone has good international input methods, it's really not a probl

      • I still prefer the classic Graffiti on the Palm, but the iPod QWERTY keyboard is acceptable; better than any hardware keyboard I've used on a smartphone.

        I can text without looking at my phone because of tactile feedback. I might even be able to do the same with a qwerty smartphone keyboard because I know the layout so well.

        The iPhone doesn't provide tactile feedback, so you don't know what key is where. I can't imagine how that is an improvement.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For those of us with fingers larger than pencil points, QWERTY is just a waste of precious real estate.

      In that case, just use your trouser snake.

  • by sampson7 (536545) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:33PM (#24964191)
    This article fails to address anything meaningful. It has no facts, no helpful statistics, and no meaningful analysis. The real questions are:

    1. What are the touch screen statistics in the United States? What share does Apple hold domestically?

    2. Is there some reason why Apple is not competing in the international market? Is Apple having their lunch eaten by companies that are "household names" in Asia, or is the product inferrior? What is Apple's penetration in those markets over the past year?

    3. How do these numbers change if were to include things like Black Berrys and other "smart" phone without touch screens?

    4. Why are 80 percent of touch screen phones marketed in Asia? Why aren't the touch screens being created for the Asian market showing up here? I find it hard to believe that ease of displaying Asian fonts is the only reason. Is there some lack of American infrastructure? Lack of interest from American consumers?

    As someone who loves bleeding edge technology, I'm frustrated by the lack of options in the US and find the whole international marketing strategy wonderfully interesting. But this article is a slow boat of fail because it lacks any analysis or insight.
    • As someone who loves bleeding edge technology, I'm frustrated by the lack of options in the US and find the whole international marketing strategy wonderfully interesting

      It's been like that for the past few decades. I think the issue is that people in the USA tend to keep their gadgets for longer periods of time whereas more people in Asia tend to replace their gadgets faster. With few exceptions, the latest and greatest tends not to sell well here.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:51PM (#24964519)

      Why are 80 percent of touch screen phones marketed in Asia? Why aren't the touch screens being created for the Asian market showing up here?

      The american cellular market has the telco as the gatekeeper. Each handset that shows up here has to get past them; and they are only interested in 'showcasing' a limited number of handsets.

    • This article fails to address anything meaningful. It has no facts, no helpful statistics, and no meaningful analysis

      When I read the Slashdot headline, my immediate two questions were:

      1. What is a "touchscreen war"?
      2. How is victory measured in a touchscreen war?

      I may be about to harp on a point that's completely stupid and trivial, but I'm going to do it anyway. (incidentally, this isn't aimed at the post I'm replying to, but it seemed like the best thing to reply to)

      Please, everyone, stop talking about "wars" and "killers" when you talk about technology. When you use that language, you're being stupid. You're triviali

  • Models? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:33PM (#24964195)

    If Motorola and Samsung have the market sewn up, essentially, what are they doing it with? This is the first time I had even heard Motorola *had* a touch screen phone.

    Also, why aren't they sold in the US, then? I read about Motorola wanting to spin off their phone division, all the problems they've had, then I'm told they have these phones that I might be interested in (I don't have AT&T so no iPhone for me) but don't seem to be available.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:35PM (#24964243)

    My wife and I are excruciatingly unhappy owners of Samsung Glydes. The touch screens are nothing short of possessed.

    * The screens randomly accept commands, often registering touches inches away from the actual contact
    * The screens often refuse to acknowledge any contact whatsoever
    * Worst of all, they're prone to poltergeist behaviors. While placed on a conference table in a meeting, for example, mine started self-executing commands. After much laughter, the assistant director of a government agency who happened to be in the room received a call from my phone (much to the delight of the attendees).

    While that example was humorous, the phone has executed deletes of several important contacts, downloaded software, and refused to accept commands to answer important incoming phone calls.

    Several trips to Verizon, including software updates and replacements, have failed to resolve the issues.

    Perhaps Moto is a threat to Apple, but claiming that Samsung's touch screens are a threat is an absurd claim at best.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TheNetAvenger (624455)

      Trackpads will do the same thing if they are dirty or have conductive grease on them.

      Wash your hands once in a while, and this behavior stops.

      Just in case you think this is specific to Samsung, or any conductive touch based technology, it is not.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:36PM (#24964259)

    Anybody can build a touch screen that lets you poke at big static buttons, or lets you try to fatfinger a virtual keyboard. Only Apple has the FingerWorks patents to do high-quality, high-usability multitouch gestures [fingerworks.com].

    Disclaimer: I've been using a FingerWorks TouchStream keyboard for more than five years, so I'm a big fan of the technology. I've also been a Mac user since 1985 or so. But when Apple bought FingerWorks, they completely shut down all sales and support, leaving the existing user base swinging in the breeze, so I'm a bit... conflicted.

  • That's OK, because when all their computers start coming with touch interfaces (imagine that not only will you have the keyboard and mouse, but you'll be able to reach out and move/resize things right on the screen) then they're gonna be bad-ass again.
    • I really think the touchscreen computer is going to be a big fail as long as the ergonomics of computers remain the same as they are today. Holding your hand up to a monitor for any real length of time is tiring and painful (and probably unhealthy after doing it for extended periods of time). Touch screen will work nicely for tablet form factor PCs but aside from that workspaces will have to be re-engineered to make them acceptable to the masses. I really don't think that early versions are going to be adop
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:41PM (#24964349) Journal

    TFA says a big reason why it is lagging overall is because Moto and Samsung holds 80% of the touchscreen market in Asia. Considering that Apple has not even RELEASED the iPhone in CHINA, Korea and Vietnam to name a few countries it seems obvious why. Also, it was just released (like a month or two ago?) in places like INDIA, Singapre, etc.

    On the contrary, seeing the crazy lengths people will go to here to GET an iPhone (I'm in Vietnam) I'm sure that that percentage will change. It is amazing to see, in a country where the per capita income is about $1K (CIA world factbook), lots of people carrying iPhones (a hacked iPhone is about $700 here). I was just in a cab and surprised to see the driver who probably makes less than $10/day using one (but maybe he "found" it from some unlucky person leaving it in the cab). The demand is so high that many telephone shops will have "iPhone" as the most prominent sign on their shops even though no-one in the entire country is an authorized reseller. Sorry but it is still a big big status symbol here.

    • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:49PM (#24964463) Journal

      Oh yeah, to add to my parent post. Not only do people really really want it, they're willing to do so without support for Vietnamese! So all TEXTING, note taking, calendar entries, address book entries, e-mailing must be done IN ENGLISH. Not only is there no language support for Vietnamese currently in the iPhone but there is no country support (like in the address field; "Vietnam" isn't even one of the countries listed). I keep showing people this and they keep wanting to buy mine off me. How embarrassing really.

    • by dorzak (142233)

      The iPhone and iPod Touch with 2.0 or later can do Asian characters.

      The article overlooks that. It isn't limited to just QWERTY.

      • by wisebabo (638845)

        Yeah but 2.0 hasn't been hacked completely to work in Vietnam! So I'm stuck with 1.14.

  • "Losing the war?" Only if somehow Samsung and Motorola's larger market share confers a strategic advantage in supplying devices with multi-touch screens. Balda supplies Apple -- do they supply the other guys as well, and are quantity discounts significant enough to marginalize all but Samsung and Motorola?

  • by Jethro (14165) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @12:57PM (#24964635) Homepage

    A while ago I decided it was time to replace my trusty old Harmony remote, as some of the buttons don't work very well, etc.

    I decided to get the then-brand-new Harmony One, which features a touch-screen where the older Harmony remotes have six or eight buttons around an LCD.

    I returned it a week later. I just couldn't handle not having a tactile response. I don't want to have to LOOK at the remote in order to use it, and there's just no way to feel your way around with a touch screen.

    I do have an iPod Touch, and that's a major problem I have with it. Try using an iPod Touch while it's in your pocket while listening to music. Yeah, you can find the On button, but it takes a lot of practice to actually sue the slider without looking, and then just try skipping a track. Heck, it's easy to mis-press the thing when you're looking right at it.

    I love the form-factor of an iPod Touch/iPhone as an information-display device, and the eye-candy is beautiful, but I'd prefer tactile over touch-screen anytime.

    • by dal20402 (895630)

      It's still hard to do from in your pocket, but you don't have to use the slider. Just double-tap the Home button when the touch is locked and you get music controls.

      Note this works only on the touch, not the iPhone.

      Now if they'd just reinstate Shuffle by Album, which has been on iPods almost from Day 1 but is still inexplicably missing on the touch and iPhone, I'd be a much happier touch owner.

  • While Apple's iPhone may be the first device most people call to mind

    This alone is scary, and the fact that it may be true is even more scary.

    I have a digital voice recorder from 1997 that has a rather advanced touch screen, let alone all the PDAs and PocketPC Phones that existed YEARS before the iPhone.

    Sometimes you just have to go, "Ok, the public in general is uninformed and borderline scary stupid."

    (And before the fanbois go 'multi-touch', they should go look up multi-touch technology, as Apple didn't

    • PS Also don't forget the Casio Watches from the 80s that you could write on the screen with your finger to do calculator functions, as well as even manage contacts.

  • Let me get this straight: Apple is losing the touchscreen wars in a market they probably have little impact in and a market that has devices that the Euro and American markets will rarely get to see? Someone please, stop the engineers at Apple from leaping from their office windows!

    In other news: "American and French woodsmen are falling behind in the burgeoning chopstick market!"
  • You don't need the "fiddly QUERTY nonsense" anymore to enter Chinese/Japanese/Korean. Not since iPhone 2.0.

  • The first touch screen phones came from Handspring/Palm, and they were excellent at the time. In fact, they are still a decent choice for a low cost touch screen phone. Although they were designed for use with a stylus, there were many third party add-ons that allowed finger typing, many of them better than what the iPhone has.

    The next touch screen phones came from Microsoft. Although the user interface is the usual Microsoft-ugly, they crash a lot, and the whole thing is trying to enslave you to Microso

  • Well, you can actually draw asian language characters as well, although that's less efficient than that fiddly qwerty nonsense.

    Most people who speak Chinese (and I believe Japanese as well) actually tend to use roman characters to enter characters (for example, in China Hanyu Pinyin is used).

    The one notable exception is Taiwan, which uses Zhuyin instead, which is the same concept as using roman characters, but has a different character set.

    A few others are used as well, but the most common ones to use qwert

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @01:27PM (#24965203) Homepage

    I only have experience with Japanese, but even on the iPhone you get a Japanese keyboard, not QWERTY.

    Most Japanese phones use a standard numeric keypad to enter Japanese text, first in Hiragana and then into Kanji in the same way as computers do. The article poster clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

  • by steve_bryan (2671) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @02:52PM (#24966763)

    The bigger question is which shift is likely to be more important. Is the big shift going to be to generic touchscreens which are slight modifications of the current mouse programming interface or to multitouch which is an attempt at a basic reorganization of the human computer interface?

    In the article they say: "Such devices are popular in the region for their ability to allow users to input Asian language characters with a stylus". A stylus driven touchscreen is inherently NOT multitouch. Multitouch is a niche market compared to touchscreens in general but it is also distinct from it. The article is about Newton era technology which is not the technology which drives the iPhone and iPod touch.

  • Fun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kamapuaa (555446) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:10PM (#24967051) Homepage
    For what it's worth, the story is pure fantasy. The large majority of cell phones in China use keyboards for entry. Once you know what you're doing, it's quicker than writing out the characters. Just like English, it has predictive writing. Really, even though I am a native English speaker, I still find it faster to SMS in Chinese than in English.

    Secondly, the iPhone hasn't even been released in China, but is still a huge status symbol, and the upper-end electronics areas will prominently show iPhones for sale. When it does get released in China, it's sure to have Chinese-language writing support.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @06:39PM (#24970227)

    The iPhone already allows you to enter Asian languages with a finger:
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/tips/ [apple.com]
    Basics -> International Keyboards -> scroll down to the bottom.

"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it." -- C. Schulz

Working...