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April 3, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Intel talks up touchscreen laptops for Windows 8

Windows8StartScreen.jpgMicrosoft touts Windows 8 as being designed from the ground up to be touch-optimized. Those touch features will definitely be front and center in tablets — both on ARM and x.86 variants. But perhaps the full potential of Windows 8 lies in hybrid devices: machines that can function both as touch devices and notebooks without having to drag around peripherals.

Lenovo showed off an intriguing take on the concept at CES this year, with its IdeaPad Yoga, which converts from a standard notebook form to a tablet via a screen that folds all the way backwards on top of the keyboard.

Now Intel is talking up touchscreens on Windows 8 notebooks, including on ultrabooks, the Intel-invented category of ultra-thin-and-light PC laptops.

The tidbit comes via a PCWorld interview with Intel product manager Anand Kajshmanan.

“We fundamentally believe in the concept of touch, and touch on a clamshell,” Kajshmanan told PCWorld (as published in PCWorld’s sister publication, MacWorld.) “We believe it’s going to take off in 2012 or at least 2013, especially with Windows 8. It really feels like now is the right time, now that the hardware and software are working really well together. We’re strongly encouraging our partners to incorporate touch on the Ultrabooks.”

Of course, touchscreen laptops running Windows 7 have been around for a while now and they haven’t exactly been selling like hotcakes.

And this sentence from a 2009 Computerworld review of touchscreen notebooks running Windows 7 seems oddly familiar, echoing how Microsoft is describing Windows 8: “Windows 7 not only offers increased stability, better performance and a sharper appearance, it’s the first mainstream operating system that supports touch screens from the ground up.”

But given how much emphasis Microsoft is placing on touch with Windows 8’s new Metro-style user interface, could the new OS finally make touchscreen laptops and other such hybrid devices hot sellers?

(Image of Windows 8 Consumer Preview Start screen from Microsoft)

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