A quarter of desktop users and almost a third of notebook users are very interested in having a touchscreen interface on their PCs, research has found.
The survey by Canalys asked over 4,000 computer and mobile phone users in several countries to rate their interest in touchscreen technology on a scale of one to ten.
Overall, 26 per cent of home desktop users and 32 per cent of laptop and netbook users said their interest was at nine or ten, ten being the highest.
“Previous attempts at bringing tablet PCs to the mass market failed for a multitude of reasons,” said Canalys senior analyst Daryl Chiam. “They were typically expensive, heavy and the pen-driven user interfaces were not seamlessly integrated into the whole user experience. Critically, they lacked compelling applications. Outside of a few occupational niches they brought little benefit. But user expectations and experience, and the underlying technologies, have moved on and it is time for the industry to try again.”
According to the firm, consumers who have owned a large number of mobile phones, and have therefore been exposed to various user interfaces, are more receptive to the idea of touchscreens on portable PCs.
iPhone users did not, however, show a markedly higher interest in having a touchscreen on a desktop or laptop, but 61 per cent displayed a strong interest in having one on a netbook-size device. This suggests that should apple launch a touch-enabled computer, such as its rumoured tablet, it would have a ready-made customer base
Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd said: “Having an integrated application, content and service delivery model will be vital to the proposition of this new generation of tablets and touch-screen PCs. Many vendors will find this a challenge, but users have come to expect this now. It was missing from previous attempts at transforming PC user behaviour, but it will make the difference between success and failure this time around.”