Without doubt it was the iPhone that explored and popularized new horizons with the multi-touch interface. In a trend that is going more mainstream, Nokia and Blackberry having announced their latest models in the touchscreen space. Then there are the devices from Samsung and of course the Google backed phone – T-mobile G1 in what could could well be a revolution in user interface technologies.
For a technology that came into being in the early 70s, Touch screens have taken quite some time to go mainstream. The concept brings with it a fresh outlook to interacting with computer applications. Mobile devices have also been gaining more processing power under the hood and with powerful devices no longer being the forte of business executives alone. Here, its significant that Apple took the mobile community by storm with the iPhone. While the device is known for its sleek looks and interface, it is the synchronization between software and hardware that makes the device tick.
Taking cue from Apple’s success mobile phone manufacturers have also begun making entries in the touch-screen enabled mobile space. Google’s Android, the much mentioned mobile device software stack will be supported by a number of hardware manufacturers ( part of the OHA – Open Handset Alliance) and with its first G1 device that supports both a slide out keyboard and a touch interface, the tone for touch-screen’s importance is set. Nokia also announced its 5800 XPressMusic handset which is the first touchscreen from the Finnish mobile giant. While Apple has its niche space, Nokia has the market share to really make a difference with a slew of devices offering touchscreen interfaces. Also, RIM has announced Storm, a touch screen based device that is targeted at going beyond the business users.
But this appears only a beginning to the application of touch screens. The technology could go on to replace the mouse and keyboards as we know them. Microsoft research had demoed the concept of platform computing, with multi-touch interfaces. Then there are is the patent filed for technology of dual touch interfaces.
While navigation and maps are applications that clearly benefit from touchscreens, the wait is on for the real killer application for mobile devices. What applications of touch screens have you found exceptional?