Even Michael Dell can’t get touchscreens to work properly

I am, mostly, reasonably calm.

I think I got to age 17 having spent a long time professionally worrying about things before I realised — perhaps in quite a male manner — that worrying about things is a ridiculous waste of time. Stop worrying about everything, I told myself, and start doing.

So I’m calm, generally.

That is, until you put a video of somebody demonstrating a touchscreen mobile phone that doesn’t actually work properly.

I simply CANNOT stand to see it.

I’ll give you an example.

Many a time I have been at a launch party or event when a manufacturer has had cause to show off a video of their touchscreen device(s) working. Usually the videos are pre-packaged — which winds me up even more.

The videos generally feature a spokesperson showing off the product and marvelling at how good the touchscreen is — what they’re usually doing is telling us (not directly) that they’ve managed to make something that’s as good as — or close to the iPhone.

(Which is another pet hate: Can’t we please have some innovation beyond Apple?)

As the spokesperson is demonstrating, there will come a time when they swipe their finger(s) over the screen and… nothing will happen.

Because the touchscreen is a piece of shit.

The spokesperson things they’ve flicked the screen on. So does the rest of the audience. But the screen hasn’t moved. The spokesperson will notice this a few seconds later and quickly flick his/her finger again. Deliberately. And the screen will move.

And everyone in the sodding room thinks, ‘Er, so, yeah, not quiet up to Apple standard yet.’

This isn’t flucking rocket science, it really isn’t.

I’m going to make an effort to actually call people out on this. I’m going to actually highlight every sodding device that doesn’t WORK properly.

I don’t give a toss about the underlying technology or excuses like that. Either it works like the iPhone or it’s broken.

There’s no arguing here. The flick-and-it-works iPhone model is fantastic. I don’t care who made it or programmed it though. Either the flick works… or it doesn’t.

I understand that if the spokesperson doesn’t TOUCH the screen properly, yes, the device can’t be expected to perform. But 99.999% of the time, it’s the technology being shit.

Would you like a case in point?

Good, I was hoping you’d say yes.

Here, then, is Michael Arrington bumping into another titan of the tech world also called Michael: Michael Dell.

Yup. Even Michael Dell’s technology is inferior to the iPhone. How depressing.

Have a watch:

Near the beginning you’ll see Dell swiping through the new Android handset he’s showing off… and you’ll see him flick-and-… yeah, it doesn’t work.

There is no middle ground. Either it’s a touchscreen (and it works). It can’t be an almost-touchscreen.


Absolutely rubbish.

Won’t somebody please make touchscreens that work for all phones. Fix the hardware, the software, whatever the hell it is that continues to make fools out of spokespeople everywhere.

  • stewie325

    Excuse me? Did we watch the same video?

    Oh, maybe it was sarcasm….

    Nope – checked the article twice, and am still baffled how one can make such observations based on 15s of footage where a single touch wasn’t quite registered. Again, seriously?!?

    Maybe you were just frustrated that Stevie’s latest creation isn’t worth a fraction of its hype. Maybe the Dell tablet’s functions being demonstrated were too much to comprehend…How can a mobile device have fully customisable homescreens!?! With friggin wallpapers! And full Flash support. Or a camera. Not to mention a good one…

    Who needs that rubbish, right?

  • deanj

    that is sweet! way better than the iPad!! it’s got a cam and can multitask! woohoooo!!!

  • Alex

    yeah – he didnt touch the screen – was this really worth a whole rant? jeese get it together will you?

  • Most definitely

  • Lauri

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Anroid at the moment have 4 'homescreens', which is why you can't swipe to the 5th?

  • I'm not sure I will need to look!

  • Yeah… he just ran out of Android screens to scroll through.

  • Dave

    Go to the National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street in Dublin and use the worst touch screens you’ve ever experienced. Puts other (mobile) devices in perspective.

  • And presumably your rant is about resistive screens being less immediately sensitive? But capacitive screens have their downsides too. They're less accurate, only work with human fingers, are more fragile, don't work if your fingers are too dry or too wet etc etc. Just playing devil's advocate! 😎

  • Fai

    Have a closer look at the top bar – there weren't any more screens for him to flick through! You might have been premature on Mr Dell…

  • Ah perhaps I have been!

  • I was careful not to mention specific technologies Steve. The iPhone's screen seems to work a heck of a lot better than a lot I've seen though.

  • That's ok then I will need to change the title. But you know what I mean, right?

  • chris

    people have pointed out the 4 homescreen thing but overall your absolutely right, I love my N900 but the touch screen could def be better and bar apple its the same all over!

  • Vasco

    Nevertheless, there's a established “touch syndrome” and its iPhone's fault. I totally understand that. Maybe Mr Dell didn't had the chance to really show the touching capabilities of the device… it was freezing like hell, while caught on camera.

  • Fair point

  • Thanks Chris!

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