Friday, July 19, 2013

Do You Know Where That Finger Has Been?

Not that I'm obsessed with cleanliness, but the first thing I thought of when I saw Microsoft's new operating system in action was greasy, streaky fingerprints making the screen look like a health hazard not to be touched.

I've seen the screen on my smart phone with its dull sheen of body oil after I've used it on a warm day. The sweat and slime leave a film that you can't see through and when the sun hits it a certain way, it's disgusting. Why would I want my tablet to look like that? It's one thing to rub the phone across my sleeve to clean it up, but to wipe a tablet down my trouser leg?

It comes as no surprise that Microsoft is taking a hit on unsold tablets that featured the touch screen. I'm not the only person around who would be ashamed to share an image on my tablet with friends, out of fear they would gag at the site of my fingerprints streaked across the glass.

Someone at Microsoft might have thought of that when they added the stylus to the package, an oil-free device that can be touched to the screen without leaving a mark. But as anyone knows, a stylus is too easy to lose and then there's all the difficulty in replacing it. That isn't any kind of a selling feature for a device meant to compete with Apple's iPad.

The operating system lacks the elegance of an Apple device, and not many are willing to train themselves to a new system these days. We all have enough to do as it is. And making those big tiles work on a desktop model in the office? Would you want your co-workers touching your screen when who knows where those fingrs have been? The whole idea is nauseating and distracting from the work you should be doing. How can you get anything done if you're obsessed about bacteria counts? You're spending half the day wiping down your keyboard with alcohol swabs already, and there's no telling if the screen material can take that sort of abuse.

The PC market is in decline because the economy is in decline and businesses are closing up. The need for new PCs in start-ups is non-existent, and companies barely hanging on aren't going to upgrade systems when it's all about cutting costs. On the other hand, entering a new market that is already largely built to capacity isn't going to be the panacea that Microsoft needed to boost the bottom line.

How about replacing the stylus with a wiper that cleans the screen like your car's wipers? Push a button and the glass sparkles. Now that's a development we can all appreciate, even if we aren't obsessive about germs.

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