For a long time, the mouse and keyboard/keypad have ruled the corporate world. Wehave loved the convenience of menus popping up with a right click or launching anapplication with a double left-click. We love having all those keyboard shortcut keycombinations, and Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V are so common that even the most novice computer usersknow what they stand for.
So much so that we couldn't imagine using a computing device with any other interface,but now, things are changing. Devices like the iPod, iPad, and Android are proving that thereis a world beyond the keyboard and mouse. That you can do a lot of things without clickingand double-clicking.
But so far, multi-touch devices have proven themselves mostly in the consumer world.The corporate world has largely been deprived of it, not by design, but because most at-tempts made to bring these technologies to the corporate world met with limited success.Some attempts even failed. The tablet PCs with the keyboard and touch pad is a clear exam-ple. It just hasn't taken off in a big way.
Another reason-resistance to change. We the corporate users are so used to the com-fort of mouse and keyboard that we don't want to let it go, and the device manufacturersand application developers have also kept our comfort in mind so far.
But now things are changing, even for the corporate world. One very clear indication ofthat has been the grand success of multi-touch and gesture based computing in the con-sumer world. Now that consumers have become comfortable with these technologies, thecorporate world will follow, as it always has.
The second key success factor is that there are newer operating systems and SDKs thathave been designed for multi-touch and gesture computing. So it would be easier for devel-opers to start building apps that don't require a mouse or a keyboard.
The third key reason has to do with the Web browser, Internet, and connectivity. Webbrowsers are gradually becoming the main interface for anything due to their ease of useand development. It's also easy to use multi-touch and gestures on them. I was at a confer-ence by Opera Software in Oslo recently where they talked about putting their browser asthe main interface on a lot of devices-TVs, GPS navigation, music players, and so on. TheInternet is becoming the main repository of all information and applications, so there'splenty of content for everyone. Lastly, enterprises (and even homes) have ample 'wired'bandwidth to access this information, and 'wireless' bandwidth problems should go awaywith 3G coming in.
So will all this development make multi-touch and gesture computing as the dominant in-terfaces, and turn the mouse and keyboard into artifacts, even in the corporate world? Proba-bly not, but it will certainly marginalize their utility, so that they become niche products, justas the PC has become just another computing device, and not “THE” computing device.