Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Input Devices Intel Portables Hardware

Touchscreen Netbooks To Shine At CES 2009 109

Posted by timothy
from the touchscreen-sans-tablet-seems-a-waste dept.
i4u writes "The new generation of netbooks debuting at CES 2009 will add touch and have twistable screens to use them in tablet or notebook style. Intel is set to introduce a new Classmate netbook with a twistable screen and touchscreen at the CES 2009. Back in October Asus said it was planning to introduce touchscreen Asus Eee netbooks in early 2009. Asus is exhibiting at the CES Unveiled pre-show that takes place on January 6th. Expect the Asus Eee Touch to be unveiled then. Gigabyte has outrun all of them with the Intel Atom-powered M912V that has been on the market for a while. Adding a touchscreen is rather easy. More difficult is to offer a touch-optimized UI. Let's see what the netbook vendors are going to invest on the software side."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Touchscreen Netbooks To Shine At CES 2009

Comments Filter:
  • Touchscreens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:44PM (#26244827) Homepage
    Touchscreens - here's a technology that's been lingering for what, 20? 30 years?

    Just because we can build them, does not mean we should. They never have been in mainstream use, and never will be.

    The proof is in the actual usage.

    The reasoning is simple. Touchscreen technology may be cool for a second, but having to raise your hands for an extended period of time (touchscreen) is exhastive and prohibitive, vs. lying them flat (keyboard, mouse) is easy to do for prolonged periods of time.

    In conclusion, this may be just yet another round of "touchscreen fads".

    btw - one possible good use would be multitouch with "surface" computing. But that would be more of a "tablet" or "surface" PC vs. a "laptop" - and that would be a bit more of a shift in overall UI (and hardware).

    • Re:Touchscreens (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:49PM (#26244873) Journal

      While I see what you mean, I partly disagree.

      Touchscreens can be useful for certain tasks, such as... note taking during a lecture, or drawing something in a paint program. They're also handy on smaller handhelds where keyboards aren't feasible.

      They're already super popular in cell phones. I don't see why they wouldn't be viable in a netbook, although I fully agree that there's basically no market for them on full size laptops.

      • by ultrabot (200914)

        although I fully agree that there's basically no market for them on full size laptops.

        There are situations when it's more practical to tap the screen than fold up the keyboard - e.g. when reading documents in a cramped space of a plane or car. In fact most of the laptop use doesn't really require keyboard entry, just navigation - most of the time we are just consuming information, not producing it.

        • by tepples (727027)

          In fact most of the laptop use doesn't really require keyboard entry, just navigation - most of the time we are just consuming information, not producing it.

          True, most PC users spend >= 75% of screen time outside of a text edit box. But that time spent producing is still significant; otherwise, what were you doing when you posted that comment?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by TeraByte911 (1434819)
        Touchscreens are popular in mobile phones because the way that mobile phones are used is conducive to touchscreens replacing more traditional forms of input.

        For netbooks and laptops, however, the act of physically keeping your hand raised with a stylus in order to make effective use of the touchscreen would be a huge strain on your hand and arm.

        Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers everywhere, rejoice.

        • well, according to the articles and images, these touch netbooks have swivel/foldable displays [finalsense.com] like tablet PCs. so it'd be no different from the way you hold a pen/pencil when taking notes or drawing. and being netbook-sized, you'd be able to easily hold them in one hand like a book while holding the stylus in the other.

          besides, unless you're gaming, doing graphic design, or performing some other task that requires constant pointing device input (like taking notes by hand), you wouldn't really need to keep

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dargaud (518470)
        I see touchscreens as useful only on netbooks, if you can turn the screen around and use it as a tablet. If you have to raise your hands every time, then the novelty will wear off fast (see 'gorilla arm [wikipedia.org]' syndrom). I'd love something like that so I can read cbr comic books in bed. But keep your greasy fingers off my big main desktop monitor!
      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        Please....
        iPhone is NOT a cellphone. It is a PDA with convenient GSM(or whatever) module.
        My primary concern with cellphones is that they make and receive calls, and do it good for a long standby/call time.
      • by Conficio (832978)

        Have you ever done any note taking on a touch screen? So far it proofed for me too painful most of the time.

        My experience with the good old Apple Newton was the best ever. But only with the right signing alphabet. Still slow and the device was certainly underpowered. Hand writing recognition didn't work well.

        The Palm III was usable with the gestures as well. My current Treo is a nice toy. For one hand usage of the phone I prefer the touch screen, but if I have two free hands, the keyboard is much faster, es

    • I think you are right that touch may not be the best input for all devices. But I can tell you that the iPhone is a great example of touch done right. I cannot imagine it without gestures ect. The Macbook Pro gestures are good too and highly useful. But I agree that the concept of dealing with touch on a 30 in monitor or een a netbook is hardly attractive. Touch has its place, and few companies seem to understand this.
      • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmail.3.1415926com minus pi> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:33PM (#26245131)
        Yeah, I can't imagine an iPhone without a touchscreen either. Imagine trying to do everything with that one button it has!
        • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:17PM (#26245371) Journal
          Yet, the diehards would convince themselves (and try to convince everyone else) that all they ever really needed was one button, anyways.

          There is precedent...
          • by WiiVault (1039946)
            Worked well for the iPod... The 3g iPod (2003) was easily the worst iPod Apple ever made becouse it had 4 buttons and really only needed one. Granted the 1G and 2G also had multiple but they were located on the wheel which, while a pain was far better). Oddly enough once Apple went one button the iPod took off. Lets not forget that the iPhone really has quite a few physical inputs- the hold switch, the volume control and the various sensors (not sure if they count). I'm curious what key botton you think is
            • by rxan (1424721)
              The 3G iPod was actually one of the favourites for me. One thing that bothered me about all of the models before and after it (touch included) is that the buttons are difficult to feel through a pocket. I hated using the remote control, so the third generation's seperate buttons actually let me change songs without taking it out of my pocket.
            • by mspohr (589790)
              Actually, the iPod requires two hands to operate. One to hold it and another to touch the screen. This makes it more difficult to use than my Blackberry where I can operate it with one hand (same hand that holds it operates the thumbwheel). Significantly better especially on the bus, train, driving (I don't do that), etc.
          • Yet, the diehards would convince themselves (and try to convince everyone else) that all they ever really needed was one button, anyways.

            It's easy! You just input commands in Morse code!

        • by vosester (1163269)

          Imagine trying to do everything with that one button it has!

          I think it was called the click wheel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod#User_interface [wikipedia.org]

    • by Teun (17872)
      You are not supposed to raise your hands, you're supposed to twist and lay down the screen.
      That still does not mean much, on a 8.9" touch screen there's only so much real estate for icons etc. The rest will depend on smart gestures.
      • You are not supposed to raise your hands, you're supposed to twist and lay down the screen.

        Ah, good. Instead of having aching arms, we can have stabbing neck pains from constantly bending down to look at a screen that's flush with the table. Much better.

        • or you could just hold the screen in your hand the same way you hold a book when reading at a desk. unless you're holding the netbook up to your chest, it shouldn't be that uncomfortable of a posture.

          and actually, the proper viewing angle for close work is downward at a 40 degree angle [novadesks.com], allowing your eyes to focus better on objects near you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by omar.sahal (687649)

      The proof is in the actual usage.

      The above is true, you use your hands all the time to write play instruments etc. If these things are designed correctly then I don't see a problem, they have

      twistable screens to use them in tablet.. style

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      You are thinking in traditional desktops, a vertical screen, a keyboard, and space. But think in them as tablets, with keyboards that can be unfolded, and you'll get a larger version of the G1, or a touchscreen Kindle, or things like that.

      I dont think this models will have multitouch, but would have been a nice addition too.
    • by rxan (1424721)

      I agree and have the same gripes about touch screen technology. However there are some cases, as others have mentioned, when it is better to use a touch screen.

      It is very cumbersome to use the trackpad on a notebook when it's on your lap in a confined place (ie: on a subway). The trackpad is simply too close to you. There are many times when it would simply be easier to reach to the screen and resize a window or select a button with my finger. This is why I wish my laptop had a touchscreen -- not for prim

      • It is very cumbersome to use the trackpad on a notebook when it's on your lap in a confined place (ie: on a subway). The trackpad is simply too close to you.

        The IBM/Lenovo clit mouse solves that problem too, since it's in the middle of the keyboard.

        • by rxan (1424721)

          LOL I've never heard it called the clit mouse. I always called it the nub mouse.

          Very true though, I love the nub mouse, too. Older laptops (mid nineties) had the nub mouse and I thought it was great. Some had a teeny trackball in the middle of the keyboard. But not many manufacturers offer the nub whom I know of, aside from Lenovo.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jacksonyee (590218)

      I have actually found tablets useful in a variety of circumstances involving minimally trained workers and intuitive GUIs. They are extensively used in kiosk and POS interfaces for restaurants, front desks, and other such fields. Long before the iPhone came out, my Nokia N800 also ran very well with the touchscreen. You do need specially designed interfaces which are thumb and finger friendly, but once you have those interfaces built, it actually is quite intuitive to touch the screen to do something rathe

    • by Nicolay77 (258497)

      Touchscreen technology may be cool for a second, but having to raise your hands for an extended period of time (touchscreen) is exhastive and prohibitive

      I would have to raise my hands to write in this kind of netbooks as much as I have to raise my hands to write in a piece of paper in my desk.

    • The separation of I/O into the two components of the screen and keyboard is an artificial one. Consider paper.

      However, typing text does seem to be an improvement on writing (speed, machine readable).

    • The problems you've listed in regards to touchscreens only really exist if it's replacing other input such as a mouse or keyboard, rather than being used in conjunction with it. I take all of my notes on my eeepc... except things which have to be sketched like graphs in my math classes, where I have to pull out paper and pencil and doodle something which I inevitably lose. If I could have a quick and easy option to sketch on my subnotebook, then return to typing, it would be much preferable.
    • How is the parent being modded +5 insightful? Please RTFA and click on the links. And if possible, read the early reviews Netbooks like Gigabyte M812V and M912V. Who is talking about touchscreen monitors? We are talking about Netbooks being used like Tablet PCs. I personally have been waiting for touchscreen tablet under $700.
    • I'm excited about this. I have an old CF-28 touchscreen that I use for a "netbook" (internet terminal, notes, homework) that has a touchscreen, and I touch the screen all the time. When I borrow other peoples' laptops, I find I have to stop myself from touching the screen. When I upgrade to a new netbook, I will definitely be wanting a touchscreen.
  • .. what about that?

  • Maemo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:55PM (#26244905)

    You guys should keep an eye out for what Nokia has in the pipeline for Maemo.

    The "Hildon" desktop is optimized for touch usage, is open source and will be shipped with Ubuntu MID.

    http://www.clutter-project.org/ will play an interesting role as well.

    • As a fellow N800 owner, I really hope that Nokia will take some tips from the OpenPandora project to make Maemo 5 worthwhile hardware wise. The next tablet is going to have a hard time selling between their high-end smartphones and the low-end netbooks.

      OMAP 3530 is a great chip, but unless they have the battery life and open features of the Pandora in addition to a 3.2 megapixel camera with video capture, Nokia will not be earning my money. You can literally drop a x264 encoded, dvd quality video onto the

      • I've heard good things about the Pandora PDA. But to stem the irrational exuberance:

        You can literally drop a x264 encoded, dvd quality video onto the Pandora, take it to a friend's house, and play it on their television

        As I understand it, PSP can play H.264 [mac.com], and the PSP-2000 can do so with SDTV/EDTV output. So can an Aiptek camcorder that takes SD cards. And they're a lot easier to come by than Pandora, for which you'd probably be waiting 6 months for a 4-day preorder window.

        along with whatever games that you have on the system with a USB controller.

        Who makes native games for Pandora? You can't run ordinary Windows or Linux games because there'd be too much overhead emulating x86 on the Pandora's ARM CPU. Or are y

        • But what resolution H.264 can you play on a PSP? The link says resolutions like 480x160 - quite tiny.

          The Pandora has a very powerful processor backed by a very powerful co-processor. I suspect 480p H.264 - perhaps even 720p - should be feasible. Those Arm Cortex processors are approaching netbook speeds.

          But you're right about availability. The Pandora is constantly being pushed back. I wanted to buy one last year, and I still do - but I'll have to keep waiting. :P

          Games? Anyone. There's a few professional de

      • by ultrabot (200914)

        I fear that Maemo will take a backside in the near future to Nokia's Qtopia and other projects.

        As I understand it, Maemo should not be going anywhere - their "Qt on Linux" activity still happens under Maemo brand umbrella.

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        Let us not get over our heads....
        Saying that Nokia can't push something, is like saying MS or Intel can;t push something...
  • I want longer battery life, smaler dimensions (just thiner will be enough), and fixed ergo-electro-mechanical bugs.

  • Adding a touchscreen is rather easy. More difficult is to offer a touch optimized UI. Lets see what the netbook vendors are going to invest on the software side.

    Unless by some miracle, Apple releases such a thing, I'd say they'll invest hardly anything at all. Or at least less than what their marking department gets to play with. It's pretty clear, even after the iPhone has been out for a while, that most companies don't understand or care about the GUI of their devices to the same standard as Apple.

  • I thought netbooks were most popular because they are cheap and good for basic utilities. Won't adding a touchscreen just raise the price? And on top of that, netbooks come with lesser RAM and a weaker processor, a touchscreen can't be good for that. Plus it will probably just take up battery life. And one more gripe, is there good touchscreen technology for Linux? I hope this isn't a boost for the XP netbooks.
    • I thought netbooks were most popular because they are cheap and good for basic utilities. Won't adding a touchscreen just raise the price?

      In theory a touchscreen could be cheaper because it is built into the screen, and both can be manufactured together in large quantities. Splitting UI into two devices (screen+keyboard) bites into economies of scale.

      Additionally solid state devices are generally cheaper to make than devices with moving parts.

    • by ultrabot (200914)

      And on top of that, netbooks come with lesser RAM and a weaker processor, a touchscreen can't be good for that.

      Touchscreen doesn't really cause measurable cost in computing resources (think of it as yet another mouse).

      And one more gripe, is there good touchscreen technology for Linux? I hope this isn't a boost for the XP netbooks.

      Yes, Maemo (as I already posted). The low-power (and unaccelerated) arm hardware of e.g. Nokia N810 can do touch stuff just wine, and e.g. panning around the page in browser by dragging the stylus is smooth as ever. Plain-old-finger usage is a increasing priority as well, but of course it needs some practical considerations and porting in app-by-app basis (i.e. don't create monster dialogs that won't f

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Repossessed (1117929)

      Personally I want one because I can stuff them into my purse. A touchscreen is a big plus since the small keyboards and especially the mousepads are harder to use for me (a notebook in general thing). Price is more something to make it affordable than a feature, a bit higher isn't a dealbreaker.

      Glad I held out so long now actually.

  • Never been a fan of convertible touchscreen laptops. Too heavy (and bulky) to be used as a tablet. Hell, even the few true tablet, non-convertibles PCs out there are too clunky.
    http://www.motioncomputing.com/products/tablet_pc_le17.asp [motioncomputing.com]

    What I'd really like to see is the MacBook Air in tablet only form. Something like an iPod Touch with a 10-13" screen, but just as thin (as the MacBook Air / iPod Touch). Apple, are you listening?!?

    Failing this, how about something a little more down to earth:
    ht [techcrunch.com]
  • Until people start getting fingerprints all over them, at which point the will smudge... yah... I want in on that...

  • And then come the finger prints....

  • Neither windows or Linux "get" the touchscreen.

    I see no point in having 90% of my screen practically useless at touching (list boxes which you need to aim at the tiny scrollbar, or buttons so small you have to pick really carefully).

    These netbooks will sell well, but until the apps mature we will not see much benefit.

    • Uhh in gtk and qt apps you just up your text size and the whole ui grows. All modern browsers support full page zoom.

      • using qt4 designer, i cannot grab the property list by the item titles which already occupy 50% of the space, I have to grab the tiny little scrollbar.

        Don't tell me to make it bigger when there is already a massive area which should be available for grabbing hold of already and there really is no reason to not use it.

        You are right, browsers are closer but most desktop browsers so far don't do grab and scroll (though pdf usually does).

        • Firefox has about 50 different extensions implementing grab-and-scroll in various ways.

        • by nabsltd (1313397)

          In Windows, you can change the width of scrollbars using the desktop settings panel.

          But, I do see what you mean, and adding "scroll window by dragging window contents" to all windows would be a nice option that would improve a touchscreen UI.

          I think a 9" touchscreen netbook would bring down the price of GPS units a lot, though. If you can get a usable 9" netbook for

          • I do see what you mean, and adding "scroll window by dragging window contents" to all windows would be a nice option that would improve a touchscreen UI.

            It wouldn't even need any changes to apps. Some laptop trackpads, such as the one in my Eee PC, emulate a scroll wheel when the user slides with two fingers. I see no reason (other than possibly the gesture patents that Apple has reportedly sought) that this can't be implemented on a tablet.

    • by rxan (1424721)

      Neither windows or Linux "get" the touchscreen.

      As far as I'm aware, neither of them have even released an OS that attempted to "get" the touch screen yet.

  • @bradgoodman: I agree, the microsoft surface is an excellent example. touch is here to stay but not always on the screen. Touchscreens are great when executed correctly, just look at the iphone/itouch, now imagine it with the new microsoft behind the screen touch tech. As far as mobile devices go touch is where the action is. Touch opens up more screen real estate and allows for an input device that wont wear out quickly. One big problem with most of the netbooks is the usage of "desktop" operating syste
    • As a blind person, I get concerned when I hear that the latest new shiny tech gadgets have touchscreens. But such is the way of progress, I suppose.

      I have an EEE 901 (the xp version), which has the following:

      • My screen reading software
      • Office 2003 (the Star Office 8 crap that ships with it doesn't read at all)
      • Firefox w/AdBlockPlus
      • PuTTY
      • Code::Blocks [codeblocks.org]
      • Winamp + XP Codec Pack

      Now, if only sound that didn't go through Microsoft's DirectSound was played at the same volume as sound that was. This is really a

  • The iPhone is arguably one of the most successful touchscreen devices ever built. But, the whole deal is not the touch screen. There where touchscreens before, but they were not wildly popular.

    But the software, that's something different. The guys that built it certainly went to great lengths to make sure that it is easy, responsive, fast and, most importantly, feel and look right in all aspects, like animations, feedbacks, font sizes, icons etc.

    Today's computer GUIs are mostly optimized to be used by mice

  • Return to Flybook? (Score:4, Informative)

    by wikinerd (809585) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:17PM (#26245761) Journal
    In short, they re-invented the Flybook [flybook.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      One of the main selling points for "netbooks" is the price, usually around US$400-600. Flybooks are about five times that price.
  • Fujitsu (Score:3, Informative)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:51PM (#26245959)
    Fujitsu's had a mini-notebook with a tablet twist-touchscreen for more than a year now.
  • "Netbooks" were small, light, inexpensive, Linux based, solid state drive machines. Now they seem to be as large as regular sub-notebooks, more expensive, run (or force) MS-Windows, and have hard drives. I fail to see how these almost conventional sub-notebooks are "Netbooks" anymore. Adding a touch screen? Yawn. Here's an idea: Add yet a 1" even bigger screen and an internal optical drive!!! Wow! Innovative!!

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

Working...