The problem isn't doubts about the hardware, once costs drop. Instead, says John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch, it's a lack of software designed to work well with touch. For instance, few applications are written to support multitouch, he says.
That could change if Microsoft delivers on multitouch technology that it has demonstrated and says will be in Windows 7, the next version of Windows, due in 2010. Such a move could galvanize software developers. Microsoft might also be able to spearhead a software standard that makes it easier for touch-enabled applications to work on the myriad kinds of touch technology.
In the meantime, some specialized consumer applications are likely to adopt multitouch technology, like casino gambling and other games. Imagine moving checkers or Scrabble tiles on a screen with your fingers.
Such applications may help touch technology overcome a classic chicken-and-egg problem. "A lot of people don't realize they want it until they use it," Mr. Stedman says.