The pictured tablet (10 Commandments OS) has a touch interface. But it’s not a Tablet PC. Neither are a number of MIDs and UMPCs touchscreens being released recently. Including the upcoming Archos 9 as well as the recently released Viliv S5 and X70.
When is a touchscreen not a tablet?
Frank Garcia (aka CTitanic) of UMPC Tips has written a lot recently on this question. eGalax Touch Screens are not always USB-HID Compliant explains that not all touch screens are USB-HID Compliant. Some, like the Viliv S5 and X70, instead have PS/2 interface.
You may ask: “So what? An interface is an interface.” Well, no. If your touch screen is not USB-HID Compliant, then your Windows 7 (or Vista) OS device will be missing these features:
- No on-screen keyboard in the profile logon screen
- no automatic learning from your handwriting
- no floating tip, or focus on text field after opening tip
- right click menus popping while scrolling and confused by the OS as a click
- no pen flicks
- Tablet PC software missing in accessories (Vista) and not accessible (including Control Panel applets)
- lousy looking handwriting or with slow and bad performance, including poor recognition rate
- No Ink support in Office and Outlook 2007 or Windows Live Messenger
Frank observes: “Installing W7 in a touch screen device without HID Support does not make too much sense to me because you are missing the best part that W7 brings to these type of devices. Without these features you better stay with Windows XP.” Interesting point. XP is a lighter OS.
Frank doesn’t believe this missing functionality can be fixed with a driver update, though this isn’t 100% certain.
Frank concludes: “Will I buy a Touch Screen Device that is not HID Compliant? The short answer is NO.” I’m not that definitive. I did purchase the Viliv S5 and X70 knowing they’re not USB-HID compliant. But those are smaller screen (4.8” and 7”) devices where the tablet features are less important (to me). But for a larger screen device like the Archos 9, its not being USB-HID compliant might be a show stopper for me too.