Mainstream implementation of touch and multi-touch capable devices is the “next move,” if you will. But first, we need more refinement in the technology and standardization of marketing & protocol.

Advertising must explain all the features, while hardware must enable touch out of the box, recognizing and supporting a minimum of four input points. There needs to be innovation in manufacturing & operations. Companies must strive for highest quality in sensor design, integration, and software to deliver the best user experience. Definitions must be set to distinguish “direct manipulation” from “multi-touch” and from “gestural interactivity.”

It is going to be a while. Amongst other issues, are the barriers of cost and simplicity. Touchscreens offered by 3rd-party hardware vendors must be purchased separately and often require special software & drivers that ramp up the cost. Ideally, touchscreens would be inexpensive monitors connected via USB or VGA and work with built-in Windows or Mac OSX functionality. Additionally, touchscreen adoption will be driven in part by the development of useful apps.

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Word is out that Windows 7 supports multi-touch, which is a huge step in the right direction. When will Apple get in the game (post-Snow-Leopard)? 

Touchscreens will become affordable eventually, no doubt. Retrofitting existing displays is an option for now. After all, the major difference between a touchscreen and an LCD display is that one lacks sensors. PQ Labs makes touchscreen overlays that you can mount onto your gigantic LCD or plasma TV monitors to enable multi-touch. Their product demos were pretty impressive.

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