I Just finished scanning Wednesday’s San Jose Mercury News daily business summary when a piece on Hewlett Packard’s future use of the touch interface on forthcoming products caught my eye and jumped my blood pressure five points.
Specifically what raised my hackles and blood pressure was an incorrect credit to Apple for its use of a touch interface. Hereto is what the Merc said:
Because the finger-tapping interface used by Apple's iPhone has become so popular, Palo Alto-based HP is developing an array of touch-screen products of its own, including notebooks, which it hopes to get on the market within the next 18 months.
HP is chasing a trend. The number of touch-screen devices, including PCs, should more than double to 800 million by 2013, according to industry tracker iSuppli. Spending on touch-screen components likely will reach $6.4 billion, up 33 percent from $4.8 billion, over the same period, iSuppli said.
It’s too bad the Merc’s Steve Johnson (who edits the summaries and its quoted analysts sources (at iSuppli) didn’t dig a little deeper. If they had they would have correctly credited Handspring Inc. (now part of Palm Computing) and Palm for pioneering touch interfaces on its aging Treo line nearly one-half to a full decade and half decade before Apple launched its touch enabled iPhone.
Furthermore, back in the days when Apple was still struggling with its first Macintosh, Hewlett Packard was manufacturing and marketing a line of PC monitors that incorporated touch technology.
I don’t begrudge Apple it’s successes with the iPhone and other products, but for an analyst firm such as iSuppli that’s quoted by any Silicon Valley publication to incorrectly claim companies such as HP, Fujitsu, Lenovo, or any of the other PC and PDA manufacturers are capitalizing on the success of Apple’s touch interface, is patently false.
But wait there’s more. Microsoft, which makes a pen/touch interface for its Windows Vista, XP and Pocket PC operating systems has said that touch computing interface technology will become a standard feature in many of it future products.
I really hope the Merc corrects the item and revaluates whether it should use market analyst firms that provide incorrect information.--Jim Forbes,08/06/2008.