Touchscreens will be slow to penetrate business, Gartner says

But next generation of schoolchildren will demand access to touch systems in 10 to 15 years

The touchscreen function on Apple's iPhone and other smartphones is spreading to larger computing devices like the new iPad , making it a popular feature among consumers. The spread of touchscreens to the workplace, though, will take far longer, predicts Gartner Inc.

In a report released yesterday, Gartner forecast that only 10% of desktops, laptops and tablets used by knowledge workers in 2015 will have touchscreens, up from almost zero today.

By comparison, more than 50% of desktops, laptops and tablets purchased for users under age 15 will have touchscreens in 2015, up from less than 2% today, Gartner added.

"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," said Leslie Fiering, an analyst at Gartner.

For the past 20 years or so, tablet and personal computers with touch and pen (or stylus) input capablities were used strictly in specific vertical industries, such as health care, retail and field service.

Kiosks with touchscreens have become widely available as well, but those are designed mostly for use by a company's customers, not its workers.

The success of multi-touch features on various smartphones and the introduction of the iPad tablet has set off speculation that touchscreens could spread quickly to corporate users, Gartner noted.

However, the technology faces slow adoption in industry at least partly due to "adoption barriers" caused by large numbers of today's workers accustomed to using a keyboard and mouse, Gartner said.

In addition, coverting to touchscreens would be costly for companies, which would have to upgrade hardware and office applications.

Fiering said that consumers, and the education market, would likely be the earliest adopters of touch-enabled desktops, laptops and tablets.

In addition, low-cost touchscreen-enabled devices could be targeted at young children entering school, allowing them to see direct manipulation of icons on a screen as a natural way to interact with a computer, she said.

Currently, Fiering said some school districts are already seeking to buy touch and pen-input in a single device, since pen-input can be used to annotate detailed class material.

Gartner added that as many as 75% of its school district clients will likely be looking to buy touch and pen-input computers within five years.

"Consider this as the precursor to a major upcoming generational shift in how users relate to their computing devices," Fiering said. With the "expected widespread adoption of touch by education ... an entire generation will graduate within the next 10 to 15 years for whom touch input is totally natural."

For business users, progress toward touch capabilities will evolve incrementally, rather than burst forward because of some killer app, Fiering predicted. "As with many recent technology advances, touch adoption will be led by consumers and only gradually get accepted by the enterprise," she said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smarphonesiPad

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?