Blame it on the iPhone. Or maybe blame Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”. Touch screen displays used to be simple affairs for airport kiosks and bank ATMs, but now everyone wants “multitouch”. This means that the screen is able to recognize when the screen is being touched in two or more places. Multitouch makes it possible to do much more than just push a virtual button. As the iPhone has demonstrated, touchscreens can now respond to gestures to shrink or expand images, or to flip through a series of items.
So it’s little surprise that the SID exhibit hall is filled with some fascinating examples of multitouch displays. One of the the most impressive was at the Samsung booth. The multitouch screen was 82″ diagonal. That would be impressive enough, except that it had “QFHD” resolution. This means that it has 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, or the same as four 1080p sets. The clarity of the image was astounding.
There were many other multitouch panels on display. I take this as an indication that manufacturers see touch as a good way to differentiate their products. It also makes it possible to create new and more effective user interfaces, which will be necessary as the possibilities offered by display devices (and the devices that they control) continue to become more complex. As we want to access more types of content from more sources — both on our home networks and on the Internet — multitouch could well make it easier and more intuitive.