When Microsoft launched the touch-optimized Windows 8 OS in October 2012, they were heavily banking on the prediction that touch-enabled laptops and desktops will be the next big thing in computing. Although this move was already viewed as bold at the time, the tech giant was constantly being reassured by industry analysts such as IDC.
According to Computerworld, IDC originally estimated that between 17% and 18% of all notebooks released this year would feature touch interfaces. Furthermore, Acer president Jim Wong also made an optimistic forecast in May, stating that up to 35% of his company’s notebooks would sport touchscreens before 2013 came to a close.
But these predictions have failed to come true, as buyers are steering clear of the higher prices associated with touch-enabled laptops. To put things into perspective, the average touchscreen notebook retails between $700 and $800, while its classical counterparts can frequently sell for half this cost.
Another concern is that the app ecosystem for Windows 8 touch-enabled apps is rather slim. This is one of the key reasons to make the transition to the new OS, and without it, there’s simply not enough motivation to spend money on a feature that will generally go unused.
There’s also the fact that Windows 8 is such a radical shift from previous designs, which means that prospective users must overcome its learning curve. To make matters worse, Windows 8 is even harder to navigate using a traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup, which encompasses the large majority of its users. To bring back some type of familiarity and to appease non-touchscreen users, Microsoft has plans to ship Windows 8.1 this fall. Notable features include the return of the Start button and the ability to boot directly to the traditional desktop.
Based upon the criticisms discussed above, Bob O’Donnell, an analyst with IDC, admits that the firm’s original forecast now appears to be quite an overestimate. “That now looks to be too high, to be honest,” added O’Donnell, who reevaluated the figure to be between 10% and 15% of all laptop sales.