Intel thinks touchscreens on notebooks make sense – do you?

Intel is showing off a reference design for an ultrabook with a touchscreen display. It’s not a convertible tablet, since you can’t fold the laptop flat and still use the touchscreen. It’s just a notebook — with a touch-sensitive display.

Intel touchscreen ultrabook prototype

You can use the touchscreen much like you’d use any phone or tablet touch interface. You can pinch to zoom, tap your finger to “click” or swipe or drag your little heart out.

On the one hand, this sort of solution would make it possible to interact with Windows 8 Metro apps designed for tablets even if you don’t have a tablet (assuming what you do have is a notebook with a touchscreen).

On the other hand, you have to reach up from the keyboard to use a touchscreen on a notebook.

Yes, I know that sounds obvious. But if you’re reading this on a computer right now there’s a good chance that your hands are hanging out near the keyboard, touchpad, or mouse. Moving your arm sideways to reach the numeric keypad, mouse or other area takes very little effort.

Now try moving your fingers up to poke at the screen. Now imagine that you’re reading a book or magazine that requires tapping the screen every minute or two in order to change pages. You have to lift your arm up over and over again or leave it hovering in an awkward position.

I’m not saying touchscreens on notebooks are useless… I’m just not sure they’re as useful as touchscreens on tablets or smartphones, because I’m not sure you’re going to want to use them all that often.

That said, the Intel ultrabook prototype sure is purty. It has a 13.3 inch, 1600 x 900 pixel touchscreen display and appears to be just as thin and light as most of the other ultrabooks we’ve seen. You can check out a few videos of the prototype below, thanks to Ultrabook News, Engadget, and The Verge.

  • ctcsme

    Nice idea but needs a new hinge design, similar to TV wall mounts, that would allow the screen to be swung forward on a central support past the keyboard to allow easy access and function like a tablet on a stand. It’s a simple design and would make that netbook more uselful.

  • Tommy Becker

    Sure I do, I just don’t think the title of this article makes sense.

  • http://twitter.com/bp__ Brian P.

    I could see where a tap on the screen might be quicker than using the touchpad but only in some instances.  Small links are a pain to tap in most cases (unless you have the feature that Chrome has for android phones/tablets that zooms in for you).  

    Perhaps Windows 8 will make this a more useful idea.  Otherwise, feels kinda half-baked.

  • Jack

    To me, touch input is only a workaround for devices that do not have a keyboard and mouse where a small form factor and less weight are the primary focus. When devices get large, I’d rather use a physical keyboard and mouse since touch just gets cumbersome.

  • Mobile1

    I wouldn’t say no to a touchscreen on a notebook, but I wouldn’t pay much for one either.

  • animatio

    better make touchpads bigger

  • Super123

    Yes. Hope they release win8 PC with the ASUS Transformer design.

  • Ablonseno

    I have a touchscreen desktop and find I rarely touch the screen on it.  I tried it with W8CP and it was horrid and ridiculous. swiping and poking around just to make stuff I needed appear.  I’ll try it on a tablet but if they don’t fix a _lot_ with the interface, I think MS has another WinME boondoggle on their hands.   It is easily a worse user interface than iOS, WebOS, and Android.

  • Anon

    Why?  Because of Pinch and Zoom… that is hard to do, and time consuming to do, or impossible to do… via keyboard.

    Pinch and Zoom is the reason why Tablets sell… it’s not because of the keyboard experience.   Too bad that you can’t have a “SLIDER” that works with a tablet, that is not so big to affect the overall size of the tablet.   

    Question – where is Pixel Qi these days, I was expecting main stream devices to adopt that tech, is it too expensive for them?

  • alxlr8

    No – it’s a terrible idea, and shows how out of touch and desperate Intel are getting. This is just an exercise in mock innovation to allay the fears of their investors….

    • CyberGusa

      Only if you ignore where the market is heading.  Tablets and Laptops are heading towards eventual convergence of hybrid functionality. 

      We’re already seeing keyboard docks becoming increasingly popular for tablets.  So this is just part the same trend but in reverse. 

      They also demonstrated Ultrabooks with motion sensors earlier.  While we have Windows 8 and MS Kinect to look forward to as well.

      MS is even trying to patent a new hybrid design that will allow a PC Tablet to dock and switch to a more powerful processor to then work as a laptop or desktop.

      So don’t be fooled by how simple this demonstration may look and realize they got more substantial changes in mind and these are just the early steps.