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TheStreet Open House

The Google Laptop That Beat Apple and Microsoft

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG MSFT INTC HPQ AMZN HMC TM



Now, Acer has added a third version of this best-selling laptop to its arsenal: one with a touchscreen.  It's $300.

First of all, just to be clear, the only thing you will notice that's changed with this new version is the touchscreen.  If you didn't know that it had a touchscreen, you would never guess.

This begs the question:  Do you need a touchscreen on a laptop like this?

My answer is that, for close to 99% of you out there, the answer is a resounding "no."

At this point, putting a touchscreen in a Google laptop is the answer to a question nobody was asking; a solution in search of a problem.  In over three years of using a Chromebook every single day, at no point did I say to myself, "Wow, if this thing just had a touchscreen, it would be perfect."

It's perfect anyway!

Be honest: How many of you are using the touchscreen on your touchscreen-enabled laptop?  When do you reach forward, pointing like an orangutan exercising a new yoga pose, with your greasy fingers onto the precious screen?  Other than in a Microsoft ad, never.

Using your fingers on the screen is something you do on your tablet and obviously on your smartphone.  Not on your laptop.

The reason for this is it's far more productive to use a mouse or trackpad, than trying to edit your article or email on the screen with your finger.  Why?  Your finger needs big touch targets.

In order for a laptop to be useful for fingers on a touchscreen, it needs to have a completely different kind of interface than the one we are used to on a laptop.  A laptop is optimized for fine granularity that the trackpad and mouse afford.

This is another way of saying that Apple is and has been 100% right about the laptop and tablet being two very different animals.  Microsoft has tried to marry the two in the same device, using two different software interfaces -- one for fingers, the other for trackpad/mouse.

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