You've got to admit that touchscreens make life a lot easier - especially when you're on the road, sitting in an awkward position, or some other situation where the traditional mouse & keyboard combination just doesn't work. We all had to wait decades before computer manufacturers made them standard on tablets, and now that we feel comfortable with touchscreens, they're starting to make an appearance in laptops, as well.
Just like the rest of us, computer manufacturers are always "keeping up with the Joneses", so when I visited Best Buy last week for a new mousepad, I saw not 1 but ten different laptops for sale with touchscreens...and of course, my first thought was, "wow, I want to get one of those." Just imagine having a laptop that's as easy to navigate as your tablet.
Now from an agent's perspective, these mobile devices are a lifesaver - especially for showings. There's nothing better than people able to pull up specs, photos, and information on your tablet during a walk-through, and agents often keep their laptop in the car for pulling up MLS details and other "legacy" systems that aren't tablet enabled yet. Laptops are a little harder to use in the car than they should be, though, and having a touchscreen would be nice....in theory.
In real life, there's a different story - touchscreens are BAD on laptops, and here's why. They lead to something called "Gorilla Arm", which is pretty well documented in the computer industry, and happens when you hold your arm "up" for too long. I guess if you want to see it in action, set your iphone or iPad on edge and try to use it for a while....and then you'll experience "Gorilla Arm" firsthand.
The general idea with touchscreens is that they're best-used when they're at a slight angle, which is something that Microsoft discussed at length with their new "Surface" tablets, and Steve Jobs discussed in relation to the "Gorilla Arm" issue several years ago. It turns out that Apple considered touchscreen laptops long before the rest of us did, but abandoned the idea because of too many sore arms.
So start selling touchscreen laptops now? Well, there are a few reasons: they cost less to manufacture than they used to, Windows 8 supports multi-touch capabilities designed for touchscreens, and of course, once one manufacturer adds them, everybody else needs to also in order to remain competitive.
Save your money. Save your arm. If you find a great laptop with a touchscreen built in, by all means purchase it - but don't make that a key purchase decision, and definitely don't get rid of your mouse.
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