Survey indicates growing demand for touch screen computers

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Almost a third of laptop users and more than a quarter of desktop PC owners are keen to have a touch screen on their next computer.

Market watcher Canalys talked to 4,000-odd phone and PC users in various European countries and found that while touch screens are still just a growing interest, it's an interest that is escalating rapidly. Survey subjects were asked to express their demand for PC touch screen UIs on a scale of 1 to 10, the higher the number the stronger the interest.

Among desktop PC users, 26 per cent rated this at 9 or 10. The percentage of notebook or netbooks users who also scored their interest at 9 or 10 was 32 percent.

Those favouring touch screens tend to be people who have owned a lot of phones - 15 or more - in the past, and there's a particular interest in touch screens on netbooks and netbook-style devices. Likewise, folk who currently use smartphones can see an advantage in having a touch screen integrated into other kinds of computing kit.

iPhone owners, for example, didn't care too much for touch screens fitted to desktops or laptops, but ask them if they'd fancy a netbook with such a display and 61 per cent rating the notion a highly appealing to them.

Canalys was quick to add its tuppence on the viability of a market for new-style, media-oriented touch screen tablets of the kind the iPhone maker is expected to announce this week.

The gizmo is seen as the ideal blend of smartphone and PC, with the big screen and speed of the latter; and the simple, content-centric UI, always on connectivity and content/app stores of the former.

"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," said Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd.

"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.


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