Is It Time to Say Goodbye to the Computer Mouse?

The growing popularity of handheld PCs marks a major movement in computer history. Aside from the change in computer use due to the rise of these revolutionary innovations, the phenomenon also signals an imminent change in input devices. With the now-ubiquitous cutting-edge touch screen, it may cause one to wonder – Is the era of computer mouse coming to an end? Indeed, there may soon be no need for the device that allowed us to click our way through interfaces for the past few decades.

Clicking vs Touching

The ground-breaking invention, the mouse, was conceptualized in 1972; it has since then enabled much ease and efficiency in operating a personal computer. These days however, various touch-navigated input devices provide even more convenience, far outdoing the dependable mouse.

Before the Touch Screen Came the Touch Pad

It’s observable how laptops have begun to shed the mouse by incorporating the touch pad or track pad, even as early as two decades ago. Since laptops have been constantly growing in popularity, outshining desktop computers, users have gradually grown accustomed to touching and tapping with their fingers instead of clicking on a mouse. Apple was the first to integrate multi-touch, which allows two or more points to be recognized by the surface. Other computer companies soon incorporated a similar technology into their laptops.

[Read also: Tips on How to Buy Your First Laptop]

Blazing the Trail for Touch Screen Navigation

Touch navigation was later engineered for the screen itself. Various computer companies aimed to develop the touch screen for years, and it was Apple who beat all the others in making the technology practicable. The iPad is today’s gadget of choice – yet even long before this brainchild of Apple was born, several touch-screen tablets and pocket PCs were already in the market. Those earlier models easily became a sensation among consumers who could afford them, but their appeal was brief since the technology was yet flawed in those days. It was Apple that eventually improved upon touch screen navigation, as first seen in the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Companies such as HP and ASUS soon incorporated touch navigation into their laptops, yet the devices that were first produced were not completely satisfactory. It was then thought that the technology was suitable only for small hand-held gadgets, and not for devices with larger displays. When the iPad was released in 2010, it garnered much praise, due in part to the large screen featuring effortless touch navigation. Though the device may not be as ergonomic as a desktop PC or a regular laptop, combining it with a few interesting iPad accessories like the Bluetooth keyboard – together with the appropriate applications, of course – can afford a good amount of productivity.

The success of the iPad has since spurred other computer companies to produce similar Windows-based devices. It’s easy to extrapolate that touch-operated interfaces will soon be integrated into laptop computers and Netbooks. The devices and the corresponding applications will likely move into a kind of interface that can be navigated without requiring a mouse.

Nonetheless, Hold On to That Mouse

Though it’s apparent that computer use is moving toward the touch-screen interface, it’s doubtful that this technology will be applied to desktop PCs. Don’t throw your mouse away just yet; the computer mouse will still prove to be very useful for certain tasks, such as intense gaming or graphic design work. Just be sure to keep up with the changing times by preparing for a permanent shift to touch navigation.

[Recommended read: Is This The End of the Desktop and Laptop?]

Do you think the computer mouse is heading towards the end of its era? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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