Why the Convergence of Touch-Screen TVs, Tablets is Inevitable

By Mike Elgan  |  Posted 2015-01-21 Print this article Print
Touch Screen TVs

This is also true for Android.

In short, there will be a convergence of TVs and touch tablets that will replace today's PC paradigm. And good riddance to the PC for the following reason.

2. WIMP is dead

No one under the age of 20 will ever want to use a WIMP PC (windows, icons, menus and pointing devices). And, in 10 years, no one under the same will be true for anyone under the age of 30. The paradigm is now 45 years old. Today's kids are growing up on smartphones and tablets. They will naturally gravitate to the superiority of multi-touch displays.

Companies are scrambling to replace the components of WIMP computers, especially mice, which are clearly obsolete. Apple gravitates to desktop PC trackpads as a mouse replacement. Users embrace laptops, which also have trackpads.

HP even came out with an extremely compelling device called the HP Sprout, which uses cameras to see where the hands are for gesture control along with a projector.

Ultimately, the most elegant replacement for WIMP computers will be all-glass touch screens because touching things directly will always be more intuitive than touching something over 'here' that affects a screen over 'there.'

3. Falling prices will make the touch displays cost very little

Today, touch displays cost a lot more than non-touch displays. The difference started out huge, and now it's shrinking. Following the trend lines, the addition of touch capability will become so inexpensive that every screen will be a touch display no matter what the application. This is true for desktops, laptops and TVs.

Once TVs become touch displays and also run apps, the app developer will do for the living room what the Apple app store did for the iPhone. They'll transform it into a device of a million uses.

This will be especially true in enterprises, where executives need to use their computers not only for business applications, but also for communication. Projectors are a low-quality, low-res experience for the most part. These will be replaced by huge touch screens.

Enterprise users will get personal systems the size of today's big-screen TVs. And conference rooms will get screens like the one shown in this YouTube video.

The two biggest objections to big-screen touch computers are first that they cause "gorilla arm" as the user reaches out like Frankenstein to touch a wall-mounted display. People imagine a fixed, vertical position that would be uncomfortable to use all day. The second is that people are addicted to and cannot imagine life without, their physical keyboards.

But these objections will melt away. The main reason is that, in addition to a slow touch display revolution, we're also undergoing a slow voice revolution. The combination of ever-improving voice interaction along with advances in voice assistants like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, will have us typing a lot less and talking a lot more.

In addition, most giant touch computers will rotate from vertical to angled like a drafting table or to flat like a table depending on how it will be used.

The other reason is that physical keyboards will always be usable with giant touch displays, if you want to use them.

I don't know if the Fuhu Nabi Big Tab XL will be a hit with consumers. In fact, I doubt it will, but it does provide a glimpse at mainstream home, business and enterprise computing because it's really a giant touch tablet that runs apps.

Microsoft is in the lead in this market. Apple may dominate the category as well. And the companies that today make both Android tablets and TVs (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) may also compete as leading makers.

Regardless, I see the trend lines of user preference changes, hardware cost and technology evolution all converging on this inevitable form factor.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel