Asus Eee PC T91
Asus Eee PC T91

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.

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5 replies on “Netbooks may be faster than laptops to adopt touchscreen displays”

  1. Windows for a touchscreen? WHY Windows? Linux/Maemo and iRex Iliad linux and the new coming machines all have touch or pen features. So WHY WINDOWS? It offends me. Mor than 40 years with computing, and the Microsoft garbage would chase me to the grave? I ask you journalists: stop assuming that windows is best or even adequate. Microsoft Era is soon over, bet on that. You are just keeping the suffering giant alive.

  2. You would think it would be OBVIOUS why touch screen would go into netbooks….they’re light weight. Try to pick up and cradle in you arm a 15″ or 17″ notebook that weights 7 to 9 lbs. No easy or fun for very long now is it?

    Now pick up your netbook and pretend it’s a swivel touch screen. That would be nice & easy to carry, right? A netbook would fit in the crook of your arm, right? That is why touch screens are a good idea for netbooks and won’t take off no matter what they price on larger devices.

    I’ll call it right now netbooks will be the kings of touch screens aside from smart phones. Most netbooks will have them in two years and only a small percentage of notebooks or desktops will have them in two years. AND IT WON’T BE BECAUSE OF PRICE.

    Touch screens are best used at angles that resemble holding something like….an iPhone or writing or drawing in a sloped desk. That sort of natural angle which touching it with the fingers is made easier is what really matters.

  3. Swivel? Who needs a swivel? Just lay the machine down with the
    display facing up and the keyboard sticking up in the air after rotating
    the display 180 degrees.
    Admittedly, poking at an upside down keyboard sticking up in the air
    might cramp your typing style. . .

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