updated 12:05 pm EDT, Thu October 2, 2008
Fujitsu Multi-Touch 2009
Fujitsu senior product director Paul Moore in an interview published today revealed plans by his company to introduce multi-touch computers while simultaneously downplaying the significance of the technology. Following in the footsteps of an early development in Dell's Latitude XT, Fujitsu tells Wired it plans to release PCs in mid-2009 that accept multi-finger gestures but plans to limit these to fixed and convertible tablet PCs rather than extend them to all its notebooks.
To Moore, the inherently fixed, lidded design of most notebooks makes touchscreens impractical and wastes space, while tablets make the screen the central feature.
"If you put a notebook in a slate mode, you are talking about a platform that is more gesture friendly than the clamshell," he says. "You don't see a lot of touchscreen notebooks because it is not intuitive to reach up and start touching the screen when there is a good keypad."
Multi-touch is advancing in the computer industry but has so far been limited by a combination of hardware and software. While conventional PCs like Apple's MacBooks and ASUS' Eee PC series have trackpads that recognize certain multi-touch gestures, direct input with items onscreen has largely remained elusive. HP has announced intentions to launch multi-touch systems sometime in 2009 but won't receive broader support until Windows 7, which should introduce official support.
Apple has technically developed a multi-touch engine for Mac OS X but so far limits it to the iPhone and iPod touch.