Tempering the touchpad trend

After a period of Apple having the only large trackpad accessory for its touchscreen-averse desktop Macs (and only Macs despite its Bluetooth compatibility), PC vendors have jumped on trackpads as if they had the springy surface of a trampoline. In fact, the velocity seems to have accelerated as we approach the release of Windows 8, which is optimized for touch screens that many PCs will lack. So the trackpad has become the disembodied notebook component that enables Windows 8’s charming — or at least Charm-coaxing — multitouch gestures.

Vizio started the trackpad trend by including a Magic Trackpad-sized device with its first all-in-one PCs, going as far as ditching the mouse in favor of a remote. HP also included one with its new high-end (as opposed to the old high-end) touch-deficient Spectre One, although isn’t ready to off the rodent.

Now, if anyone can sell an external pointing device to PC users, it’s probably Logitech, which will take aim with a new T6500 glass trackpad. But it still seems that there will be a limited aftermarket for such devices. They would be of primary interest to non-touch-enabled desktop users, a shrinking part of the Windows pie (and even smaller if Microsoft makes the progress it wants in talbets). Logitech would have to bet — as Vizio appears to be doing — that the multitouch gestures of Windows 8 wlll sway people away from the classic pointing device of the mouse, even as Microsoft and others add multi-touch capabilities to that.

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