Windows 7, which is due out in a few months, will include a number of touch-friendly features. But you’ll need a computer with a touchscreen to take advantage of those features. And while I think touchscreen notebooks and netbooks will likely remain niche products for the foreseeable future, since touchscreens are awkward to use unless you include a swivel that lets you use the computer tablet mode, DigiTimes reports that netbooks may have a leg up on full sized notebooks when it comes to touchscreen adoption.
There’s two reasons for that. One is that netbook makers have already started to show more interest in touchscreen displays. But the second (which is probably closely related with the first) is that capacitive touch panels are priced by the inch. It costs about $2.50 to $3 per inch to make a touch panel, and that means that notebooks with 12 inch or smaller displays can be equipped with a touchscreen for around $30. The bigger the laptop, the more expensive the screen.
DigiTimes also reports that some netbook makers are looking at touchscreens as possible replacements for touchpads, which would allow them to build larger keyboards. I really hope this doesn’t happen though. It takes a lot more effort to lift your hand and point to the screen than to shift your hand slightly and use a touchpad. That might not seem like a big deal, but having a touchpad instead of/in addition to a touchscreen can save you a lot of time and effort when you’re surfing the web or creating long documents on a netbook.