IDC: Sales of touchscreen laptops to be lower than expected in 2013

The Acer Aspire S7 was one of many touchscreen laptops released as part of the Windows 8 launch.

When Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October 2012, many OEMs also launched touchscreen laptops and notebook-tablet hybrid products to go along with Microsoft's vision of the touch friendly OS. Many analysts predicted that consumers would be more interested in buying touchscreen enabled notebooks than the old fashioned laptop that had just a trackpad for interaction.

Now it looks like the PC buying public has not embraced the touchscreen future of laptops as previously predicted. Computerworld reports that Bob O'Donnell, an analyst with IDC, said that the firm at first thought that between 17 to 18 percent of notebooks sold in 2013 would have touchscreens. Now he says IDC's numbers look like touchscreen notebook sales will take up between 10 to 15 percent of all laptops.

What happened? A big problem is price; touchscreen notebooks are still more expensive than their non-touchscreen counterparts. O'Donnell says that currently, the average price of a touchscreen laptop is between $699 and $799, which is about double the price of some low end non-touchscreen models.

Another problem is that there are just not that many touch enabled apps on Windows 8 that are attractive or compelling for PC buyers to use.

Source: Computerworld | Image via

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I have no interest in touchscreen for everyday use. Have no interest in holding my arms up instead of just resting while using keyboard/mouse.

I was skeptical about touch screens on laptops until I started using an Asus 11 inch Touch Screen Windows 8 Laptop. I primarily use it for personal use and find the Touch Screen faster and efficient for some actions. I always preferred a Mouse over a Touchpad and now I am starting to prefer Touchscreens over the Touchpad. The Touchscreen is not going to replace a Keyboard; but it sure is going to replace the Trackpad.

I remember saying a few months ago that the ergonomics of a touch screen on a laptop and desktop is non existent. Yet the usual fans on Neowin said I was an alien and not in tuned with society because touch is the best thing since extra thin condoms. Touch right now is just all hype. It is a way to try and push Windows 8. When they can comfortably implement this technology, I'll buy one.

All the touch were in small ares screens... I'm still waiting for high performance 15.6+ screens with touch and discreete graphics.

Windows 8 might not be making people want to go out and replace their Windows 7 laptops... they're not phones... and well Phones are slowing down too. If you are doing basic stuff, you don't really need a new laptop every year. The 4 yr to 6 yr cycle still lives and many more people have a PC now! So now it's about selling software and services while the machine ages.

Touch or not, my biggest problem with laptop LCD screen is the low resolution they seem to be stuck at. It's incredible that we have tablet with smaller screen (7" or 10") boosting HD or even higher resolution (new Nexus 7 or iPad) while bigger screen laptop are still at 1366x768.

I'm holding back any laptop buying until we get better screen at resonable price.

TruckWEB said,
I'm holding back any laptop buying until we get better screen at resonable price.

I got a MacBook Air, the screen is pretty good, but just cannot be compared to Pro with Retina Display. About my standard Desktop I will buy a Screen that has nice colors and at least 4k, I want a desktop screen with colors and details as the Mac Retina Display, I will buy this product, otherwise, the rest is just not interesting.

I will avoid buying an 22 or 24 inch screen that is above 500, except if made by Apple, sorry, they are the only one proven themselves over and over when it is about hardware.

Why put such negative spin on this? I swear I heard the whole idea of touch screen is another form factor or additional user input. It's nice to have the implementation but you don't have to constantly use it. I mean come on you can just pinch zoom, draw your idea instead of opening visio etc. Besides, with big screen for presentation is pretty useful if there's scratch pad program.

I pointed out that with the Transformer Prime (a dockable tablet running Android) that with the dock connected, it looks (and mostly acts) like a laptop, notebook or netbook; that is despite the still-touchable screen. I've used it, and would use it primarily in docked mode - not because of any loathing of Android (which I don't), but because I loathe virtual (as in non-physical) keyboards. I loathe all of them - regardless of OS or implementation. (Since it is a universal loathing, I actually think that my pre-computer background (clerical/secretarial) may be at fault - how many old-school IT sorts like touch, for that matter?)

I have a touch laptop and a touch monitor, and the typical comments from people about not wanting to reach out your arms all day to use a touchscreen are totally true for desktop PCs. The ONLY time I use the touch monitor is when testing touch input in software. BUT, I use the touchscreen on the laptop all the time, and I use the touchpad by the keyboard so infrequently that I have it turned off. I suppose if I were going to use that laptop for some really high-precision work I would plug in a mouse, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. Using the touchscreen on the laptop is actually rather natural and pleasant. There isn't any stretching involved.

It's all about stores and manufacturers shoving their old inventory down buyer's throats. When a non-tech-savvy buyer walks into a store, their needs are the least a salesperson of worried or concerned about, it's all about meeting their quota of clearing out the old stock for the new or pushing what they get the most commission on.

Tech-savvy make up for no more than 10% of the buyers.

NocturnalAlloy said,
....

Exactly.
I was in a best buy the other day listening to the sales lady stream a pile of excrement out of her mouth to get a guy to buy a generation older laptop instead of buying a Win8 upgrade license.

Not surprised at all tbh. Now we have the hybrid tablets which can dock easily into a laptop like keyboard which also doubles as the cover. It is much more convenient to be able to detach the main tablet portion (ala, Surface) and choose to use the keyboard when you need it. Sure, there is probably a market out there for laptop devices like this, but I think a device like the MS Surface is the future of computing.

If a tap-n-thwak based application can do all, fine. Still...how does one enter large amounts of text, or for that matter, just filling in the boxes with text?

For a short time in the summer of 2006 I worked on creating a custom touch-based event registration terminal for my employer (mostly the software side). Even in XP I found myself randomly touching the screen for different interactions rather than reaching for the mouse. I didn't use touch for everything and it wasn't even a conscious decision. I think the difference was touch for a single click and the mouse for multiple clicks and actions (but I don't really know). Maybe, not having to spend the fraction of a second to grip the mouse and locate the cursor before clicking felt easier.

My point is that the ability to touch absolutely adds another cool option to improve efficiency. Nobody is suggesting that a laptop user should have their arms stretched out in the air all day. That's just silly... If I had the money, I'd definitely go for a touch laptop!

Windows 8 was designed for the Surface concept.. i.e. laptop hybrids converting into tablets if the need rises. The concept makes sense (in theory) but the hardware is still not there. Many tried different approaches (kick stand, detachable keyboards, Lenovo Helix etc).

Sometimes I wish I have a touchscreen on my laptop especially when I'm sitting in bed to read a PDF document. But the laptop is too heavy (3.5lbs) and without the keyboard detaching it makes little sense.

Agree. You really only need a touchscreen on a laptop if the keyboard pops off and you're going to use it as a tablet from time to time. A regular laptop or ultrabook doesn't really need one. It doesn't help that a lot of the convertible designs haven't been that compelling. I imagine that they will improve over time though.

Has anyone who commented ever used a touchscreen laptop? You aren't forced to never use the keyboard and touchpad. There are some elements in Windows 8 which are way more efficient to touch on the screen than to use your mouse to click on. It's an added way to control your machine. The reason why PCs with touchscreens aren't moving as well as they'd like is because it costs extra and PCs are completely cost sensitive right now. I would have purchased a really nice laptop instead of my Asus q200 which was the cheapest I could find if I had the option financially. I would have also replaced my wife's laptop also with a touch enabled laptop. I know multiple people who are looking to replace PCs but are trying to scrape up 300$ for a bottom of the barrel machine because no one wants to use credit they might need to repair a vehicle or something that's actually important. These are all average people not people who post on tech blogs. This is the reality and it is a damn shame. This is why people are buying low end android tabs.

I doubt sales of touchscreen full size laptops (13"+) or for that matter desktop PC Monitors will outsell non-touch versions anytime in the near future if at all. It's a pain (literally) to constantly reach out and touch a device sitting on your desk for hours. Touch is really the domain of phones and tablets which you hold in your hands to use anyway. The switch to touch is going to driven more by people using tablets and phones more than desktops and laptops than by desktop and laptop users embracing touch.

I know most people don't agree with Apple or Steve Jobs, but he did say one thing a few years ago which I find very true. Touching a device that is not flat on the table like a tablet doesn't work over an extended time. Sitting and having to reach over a keyboard to touch a screen just doesn't work well and results in arm fatigue. The problem that I have found with a touch based laptop, is that there isn't anything compelling enough to use touch when you have a track pad and keyboard. This is similar to the early convertible tablets Microsoft tried in the early 2000's. This is also partly why I think Apple is staying away from touch on a laptop, however as we all know, if they did dabble into it, it would be a bigger hit than what current PC's are doing

I agree with that, while it is very cool to have a touch screen laptop (in my case I have a 23 inch touch screen desktop) it is just not practical.

I want to see a better pen/mouse/touchpads that does more and recognizes your hands; that will be practical.

Steve Jobs had many people working for him, and I will not get surprised if they have not installed touch screens on the mac and mac laptops and tested them intensively.

The problem also is that touch has just become another marketing gimmick. While I think Microsoft has great intentions with Windows 8 and touch, the actual implementation hasn't been thought out very well. This comes down to OEMs not innovating well enough either, rather they have been just adapting touch technology to existing devices that were not meant for touch. OEMs and Microsoft need to work side by side on this issue, touch has its place but not the way its being done now

wv@gt said,
OEMs and Microsoft need to work side by side on this issue, touch has its place but not the way its being done now

I was thinking about the same thing long ago, if you produce an operating system that defines a computer, then your hardware division must be producing tons of hardware prototypes or concept machines that you can sell to the public.

It looks like Microsoft does not want to go against the hardware manufacturers, but they can also produce 2 or 3 Microsoft desktops, 2 or 3 laptops, TVs, Tablets, etc, 2 or 3 of anything that is defined by their software, and that hardware should be tuned to perfection, absolute perfection regardless of cost.

Then sell the hardware at double price, write a big banner on it that this is a concept hardware, a hardware that should inspire other hardware manufacturers.

Who knows, maybe this model will work, or badly backfire, selling something is a delicate thing after all.

I guess for me as an Industrial Designer, I have to question weather the OEMS are actually designing and doing usability testing. The problem Microsoft had back in the 2000's was that XP was not set up for touch or stylus input. Now Microsoft has a decent touch OS, but yet the OEMs can't seem to get past the retro fitting touch part. Like I said Touch has its place if its done right. The Lenovo Yogo concept was great, but maybe too much for consumers. There were once concepts of laptops where the keyboard and trackpad area were placed with a secondary touch input area.
Also another thing to think about, for some users switching between haptic and non haptic device control is not something everyone prefers, kind of like what happened with early smart phones with touch or slide out keyboard

on a phone or tablet, I can see a purpose. It's small, compact, and a mouse and keyboard are overkill. However with laptops, you have 14, 15, 17 inch screens. The last thing I want to be doing is reaching over a keyboard to poke at a screen.

I honestly do not see the usefulness of "touch" on a regular laptop; of course on a convertible Tablet PC is a completely different situation

Touch works well on a tablet, but the position you usually sit in using a laptop just isn't conducive to reaching up and tapping the screen, especially if you're using regular desktop programs instead of Modern apps (which you likely will on a laptop).

Fritzly said,
I honestly do not see the usefulness of "touch" on a regular laptop; of course on a convertible Tablet PC is a completely different situation

You see that's the conundrum of Windows 8. Once you start touching it, you expect to touch it everywhere. I hate when I reach out to touch my desktop only to remember it's not touch enabled................

Going to have to fix that this Christmas.

deadonthefloor said,

You see that's the conundrum of Windows 8. Once you start touching it, you expect to touch it everywhere. I hate when I reach out to touch my desktop only to remember it's not touch enabled................

Going to have to fix that this Christmas.

I almost want to report your post as a joke.

Strange, I'm sure we all expected it to be great!

Using a touch laptop/desktop constantly with your stretched arms out infront of you is so easy and not cramping your muscles at all....

Yeah, that 3-4" between your laptop keyboard and the screen is a massive distance requiring you to be at full stretch....

efjay said,
Yeah, that 3-4" between your laptop keyboard and the screen is a massive distance requiring you to be at full stretch....

Well, unless you have the gift of levitation you still have to pull and hold your arms up from the surface your laptop is resting on.

efjay said,
Yeah, that 3-4" between your laptop keyboard and the screen is a massive distance requiring you to be at full stretch....

I suggest you play with a touch screen enabled laptop/desktop for a few hours and feel your forearms

Shadowzz said,

I suggest you play with a touch screen enabled laptop/desktop for a few hours and feel your forearms

I would suggest that you actually use one. Having a touch screen on a laptop doesn't mean that it's your primary input method all the time. It's a supplemental input method. It's a very nice addition but is not to be used over the keyboard and mouse all the time.

pack34 said,

I would suggest that you actually use one. Having a touch screen on a laptop doesn't mean that it's your primary input method all the time. It's a supplemental input method. It's a very nice addition but is not to be used over the keyboard and mouse all the time.

Which is why RT tablets are flopping then, right? I mean they don't have keyboard cases or docks you can connect to, right? /s

I have a touchscreen laptop, actually an ativ smart pc, but i use it mostly in laptop mode. When you have it as a touchscreen laptop, you hold it differently. When it's on my lap, i hold the right side of the screen, and use my thumb to scroll up and down. it changes the way you use the device, and unless you have one, and have spent time with it, you don't know that, and you try to use it the same old way. I won't buy another non-touch laptop again. I feel like I lose a fundamental input method, like losing the trackpad or keyboard.

pack34 said,

I would suggest that you actually use one. Having a touch screen on a laptop doesn't mean that it's your primary input method all the time. It's a supplemental input method. It's a very nice addition but is not to be used over the keyboard and mouse all the time.


And who is willing pay extra for a touch screen they will use once in a blue moon?
Whats the point of it if you use it just once in a blue moon?

Might as well put floppy drives back into laptops/desktops ~.~

Shadowzz said,

I suggest you play with a touch screen enabled laptop/desktop for a few hours and feel your forearms

I used to work/develop for touch screen laptops exclusively for years, and they can be very handy for many tasks.

And yet Android tablets with supplemental keyboard docks (such as ASUS Transformer Prime and later) aren't whacked at all. A touch-first OS where keyboards are optional is fine (both iOS and Android); however, the reverse is a bad idea? It's not really a conundrum - it's that once you get used to touch (or any new paradigm) it's difficult to go backward. That is, in fact, likely what is scaring folks from adopting Windows 8 outside of convertibles - they may have a computer running Windows 7 (or an earlier version) at work (or that they use for work), and the transition curve in that sense could become quite ghastly. Never mind that Windows 8 (or 8.1) without touch is little different in terms of usage than Windows 7 outside of the Start menu's excision. It still boils down to staying put.

Isn't this a direct correlation to the slower than expected uptake of Windows 8? It's pretty much the only OS that's touch enabled enough to justify a touchscreen laptop.

Pluto is a Planet said,
Chrome OS lol
I'm not an average user, but I can't see myself ever using it, or recommending it to anyone. There are just too many negatives to it, because someone just might like to do something other than browse the Internet and use their ****ty office clone one day.

ahinson said,
I'm not an average user, but I can't see myself ever using it, or recommending it to anyone. There are just too many negatives to it, because someone just might like to do something other than browse the Internet and use their ****ty office clone one day.
I was making fun of it, not hailing it

I'm sure people will start embracing this formation of technology. In time this technology may take preference to the standard display.

Only when a touch screen becomes a viable replacement for a full-size keyboard for data entry. Certainly not likely (unless human anatomy undergoes a major change).

Touchscreens on a laptop or desktop just isn't practical. Using a keyboard and mouse is faster and more precise, plus your arm won't get tired from having to hold it to the screen.

It works great for tablets since you can orient it on a flat surface in the same fashion as a keyboard. And that's why the tablet market is alive and thriving. Touchscreens on a laptop is just a niche that really isn't worth the premium.

I don't know, I recently bought a new laptop, I actually actively avoided touch screen as an option. Same with a friend who bought a custom Sony Vaio Fit. It just adds to the price without being useful.

TsarNikky said,
Only when a touch screen becomes a viable replacement for a full-size keyboard for data entry. Certainly not likely (unless human anatomy undergoes a major change).

Touch screens on laptops are not at all intended to replace the keyboard for stuff like that. Thats why they still have keyboards... I dont know how people like you get these ideas when it's so obviously not the case. Touch is just another input option, just like the mouse/touch pad are optional input methods and you use them for things they are best suited at.

Syanide said,
I don't know, I recently bought a new laptop, I actually actively avoided touch screen as an option. Same with a friend who bought a custom Sony Vaio Fit. It just adds to the price without being useful.

I agree, i recently bought a new vaio. I use mine mainly for web dev and university work. So it would not be useful for me either. However, companies seem to always sell you what you think you need, but actually don't. This could be one of those. I only see fit to have a touchscreen on a laptop if the screen itself is detachable.

Arron said,

I agree, i recently bought a new vaio. I use mine mainly for web dev and university work. So it would not be useful for me either. However, companies seem to always sell you what you think you need, but actually don't. This could be one of those. I only see fit to have a touchscreen on a laptop if the screen itself is detachable.

Exactly. The problem with the screen being detectable, is that all the main components have to be built into the screen. As it stands now, you won't see one of those with an i7 and dedicated GPU since it would take up a considerable amount of room and require a great deal of cooling. Plus the storage, RAM, and battery isn't upgradable, blah, blah, blah.

We're starting to get a little closer with the Surface Pro and all the other Win 8 tablets, but they still lack a good keyboard, processing power, and all the other I/O advantages of a traditional laptop.