Perhaps not as 'sexy' or exciting as the screens Tom Cruise used to manipulate objects in Mission Impossible, the next generation of commercial desktops will follow suit along with their current offspring of mobile apps on tablets and smartphones. In fact the touch screen may allow form factors that are unique, attached to or built into a variety of office furniture (desks, walls, and doors).
HP's Sprout and Dell's conceptual Smart Desk show how touch-driven work surfaces can breathe new life into the desktop form factor.
What is in your future?
Desktop PC shipments have certainly declined in recent years, as sales of portable computers have taken off:
A recent desktop PC evolution, following Apple's lead with the iMac, is the all-in-one (AIO) computer: all the major Windows PC manufacturers (Lenovo, HP, Dell) now offer big-screen AIO systems -- some of them touch-enabled. However, navigating a desktop OS on a big vertically oriented touchscreen is a recipe for 'gorilla arm', which is why the most recent developments, spearheaded by HP, seek to blend the best of the desktop experience with the best of the tablet experience, with some intriguing extras thrown in.
HP''s Sprout is an 'immersive computing' platform that's the first product to emerge from the company's Blended Reality ecosystem, which will in due course also include MultiJet Fusion 3D printers.
Dell Smart Desk
Dell unveiled its conceptual Smart Desk in November last year. Yet to appear as a finished product, the Smart Desk couples a large (5K) screen PC with a horizontal touch-sensitive work surface that can be driven by fingers, stylus or other 'totems' such as a ruler or a compass-like circular object for use with Google Maps. To exploit the work surface/PC platform, Dell talks of "plug-ins to key ISV applications" (Dell's promotional image clearly shows Adobe Photoshop.