By 2015, more than half the PCs bought for children will have touchscreens, analysts have claimed.
According to Gartner, education will become a major market for touch and pen-enabled devices as the prices drop. The firm suggests that younger children find “direct manipulation” a more natural way to use computers, while older children already use pens (in the more traditional sense) for work that can’t be done on a keyboard.
"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 per cent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 per cent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 per cent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens."
Gartner predicts that the earliest touchscreen adopters will be consumers looking for entertainment and casual gaming applications, whereas enterprise will be slow to adopt the devices due to their heavy need for typing and text input.
"As with many recent technology advances, touch adoption will be led by consumers and only gradually get accepted by the enterprise," Ms. Fiering said. "What will be different here is the expected widespread adoption of touch by education, so that an entire generation will graduate within the next 10 to 15 years for whom touch input is totally natural.”
Tablet computers such as the iPad will create greater demand for touch in other PCs, the firm said.