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Say goodbye to the computer mouse
...or not

 2:49 pm on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

Taking over will be so called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices.


IMO, this is not going to happen, at least not for many years to come, if at all. The mouse is used for everything--it's simple to use, inexpensive, very versatile, and in my opinion can do things that other input devices cannot. There may be other technologies for input devices for such things as gaming consoles, cell phones, etc... however as far as the desktop/laptop is concerned, I'm not sure there is going to be much change.

What do you think? You think the mouse is on its way out?



 4:03 pm on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The other technologies creeping more into products in three to five years, well, sure. But aside from the early adopters, when you figure in backwards compatibility, replacement cycles and such maybe ten to something years might be more realistic.


 4:20 pm on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

While new technologies are always on the rise, users may not be ready. Most of the users out there are comfortable with their mouse so why change anytime soon? However, the touch pads etc. do have an appeal for users who are not too savvy. The iPhone is one of the easiest phones I have ever used, so maybe these new technologies would be helpful.

In any case it all sounds pretty cool, can't wait to see what's next!


 5:29 pm on Jul 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Cost is one of the major keys to this, from a consumer point of view. A mouse ciosts a few $$. Gesturing or touching a screen is convenient and intuative, however, it's not practical for the vast majority of consumer applications.

The touch interface was invented way back in 1971, and it is perfect for a whole range of applications. In fact, it's helped generate new applications that would have been impractical for a mouse. Think of point of information kiosks, think of point of sale cash registers at restaurants, etc. It's helped create the touchscreen-based phone. However, it has not replaced the mouse and keyboard in the vast majority of consumer computer interfaces.

I'd like to be proved wrong, but, I think it'll be more than a few years before alternative technology replaces the mouse in the vast majority of general applications for the consumer.


 7:01 pm on Jul 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can see, however, that the two technologies might come together. For instance, a PC that has both touch-screen technology with a mouse, as well. What would this be good for? Well, for one, it would allow all touch-screen capabilities and applications to be used -- things that mice simply cannot do. This may be good for art applications, for example. But then have the mouse for all other uses. Even with this implementation the mouse wouldn't be replaced by the touch-screen feature -- or at least I don't see that happening. With both of them part of the same machine, I still see the mouse being used more than the other technologies simply because the mouse invokes events that touch-screens simply cannot handle physically (ie a basic roll-over).


 10:24 am on Jul 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

A mouse requires small movements and can be easily positioned. Touch-screens will never replace the mouse (even on laptops) because far larger movements are needed (so it is slower, harder and more likely to cause RSI in the shoulder). Also, the screen gets covered in fingerprints.

The mouse/touchpad/trackpoint concept will survive for as long as large screens survive. If we move to little screens mounted like spectacles, then a replacement may be necessary (for the keyboard too).

In specialist and ultra-portable devices, touch screens (and other technologies) will always be useful but not in PCs as we know them today.

Personally, I think the trackpoint is best pointing device.


 6:21 pm on Jul 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

I saw a commercial for a new HP that had a pretty sweet touch screen. I wouldn't use it though. My monitors are up on a stand at nearly arm's length. Besides, I'm about as anal as it gets about fingerprints on my monitors. I hate it when people touch them.

I have a logitech G5 gaming mouse and it's so sweet. I could never be so accurate with my gestures. I can get a single pixel with my mouse in photoshop. I have a real hard time doing that with my WACOM. If I need to be accurate, I can't beat my mouse.

facial recognition

:) I vote for that. Could you imagine running a video conference call while interacting with the computer through facial gestures? haha... hope you don't sneeze!


 1:52 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I dont think we will ever loose the mouse


 7:56 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

though the idea of not having to use is very attractive in theory, especially if you are a laptop user, I have my reservations about touch-screens taking over the mouse-world. Look what happened to touch-pad. How many people use it regularly? Not many. Almost everyone that I know who uses a laptop for long hours, uses mouse.

So, I guess I will be a skeptic for some time to come.


 8:07 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

id imagine anyone with half decent eyesight sits further away from the screen than arm lengh.


 10:13 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I dont think we will ever loose the mouse

Unless you own a cat! LOL



 4:45 am on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

kaled touched on this point (no pun intended) citing RSI issues, but even if you don't get RSI from using a touch screen, have you ever tried doing anything that required your arms to be off a resting place for more than a few minutes at a time? Your arms get very tired.

Just try holding your arms up in front of you and time how long it takes for them to start dropping on their own. Add lots of arm movements to that and you're going to be lucky to last a full minute.

Touchscreens are absolutely useless for anything but kiosks where use is short and limited. Or maybe wall mounted monitoring stations in server rooms, hospitals, or anything that will be quick, limited use.


 1:59 am on Sep 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Interesting topic! I started out using a pen and tablet in the mid 80's (before ever using a mouse) and I still use a tablet in preference to a mouse. Totally different experience. However, good tablets are quite expensive. With a laptop, I find a mouse much better than the touch pad. Touchscreens I find less intuitive than expected. I think that one's preference may well depend on the input device first used. If new machines arrive with a better input device then new users may well adopt them. That could eventually mean the demise of the mouse.


 2:33 am on Sep 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

As long as the computer screen is vertical rather than flat (on the desk where the keyboard currently resides) I don't see touch screen as anything useful in high data input areas. An lcd with touch screen KEYBOARD built into the top of a real DESK might be interesting...even useful (no debris, no mechanicals, etc). Just don't see that happening anytime soon.


 11:53 pm on Oct 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I haven't used a mouse with a ball for more than a decade now.

First, it was the trackpoint (or whatever it was called) on IBM ThinkPad laptops, and then the flat touchpad on later HP and other laptops.


 12:46 am on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

agree with tangor ( I use a lot of wacom )

I would love a ..horizontal lcd with touch and with keyboard ( as a touch on a button to "flip" to keyboard ..touch another to go to standard touch screen ..and still with wacom pen options would be great ) ..hint to wacom ..around 17 to 19 inches would do fine ..

problem is it will either be a long time coming ..or as usual ( where I am wacom are expensive ..about twice US cost ..) like their current big touch screen Cintiq 21 around 2500.00...here .cordless would be nice too ..with RRFC ..
interesting that visualplanet foils go upto 116" ..nice size for a desktop ..makes me think of the machine that Bjork uses the "reactable" and other touchscreen synths ..

"painter" on a touchscreen is real interesting ..


 4:41 am on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

This Gartner analyst will most likely be fired soon due to stupid predictions such as this. There will certainly be combinations of touch and mouse however.


 9:19 am on Oct 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

This Gartner analyst will most likely be fired soon due to stupid predictions such as this.

on the contrary, stupid predictions are a great way to make a name for yourself. These days you don't get any traction talking about "current trends." Nobody's interested. You have to dress it up as a "prediction."


 12:15 pm on Oct 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well something might replace the mouse but except for pocket devices I predict that it isn't going to be touch screen.

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