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back to article Cisco reboots PC with $1500 'Scandafornian' Android fondleslab

In the face of some tough quarters, Cisco has used its Cisco Live event to show its bold vision for the future: a $US1,500 big-screen Android tablet with webcam, noise-cancelling audio, apps, and multi-user logins. No, really, that's the Borg's new pitch. As we all know, Cisco's business is hardly buoyant at present. So with …

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Silver badge

The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

... is that they never include wrist-wrests on counter-balanced multi-degree-of-freedom-moving levers to compensate for having to have to lift your arms up all the time to interact with the system.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

I'm not sure that's a real problem for the majority of people, although it's become a common argument against touch-PCs. Touch isn't mainstream in the consumer world but touch-screens are used by some people all day in specific jobs - mostly factory-based I'd guess.

As a student I had a job as a checkout-dolly in Tesco. You spend 8 hours sitting on a chair sticking your arms out in front of you to pick up items and move them over the scanner, and interacting with a touch-screen checkout. Arguably, having to pick things up is even worse than having to stick your arms out to tap a screen, but people don't have special harnesses or whatever and you see people in their 50s who do this day in day out.

So I don't think the automatic "it's bad for you" response can be taken as gospel, any more than a chair manufacturer telling you that standing up all day is bad for you!

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Bronze badge

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

"... is that they never include wrist-wrests on counter-balanced multi-degree-of-freedom-moving levers to compensate for having to have to lift your arms up all the time to interact with the system.

4 0"

Perhaps if they were to invent a human to computer interface whereby one could input data and perhaps move cursors arround the screen. Ohhh, hang on, hmmmm.

I for one am awaiting the scratch and sniff screen that would extend my user experience and empower me as a user (1). Porn would never be the same again.

(1) Ferrous alert

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Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Personally, I don't know if it's any worse for you than (say) typing at a keyboard for 8 hours a day (which is, admittedly, bad for you).

I don't, however, think it's that comfortable to use (especially at first), which is a major consideration for a consumer when buying a new piece of tech. Remember, as a checkout operator, you are paid (probably minimum wage, based on my experience of working in Sainsburys) to be sitting at that machine 8 hours a day. A consumer would be paying to use this tablet.

Plus the photo makes the device look, to put it bluntly, fugly. Something which some computers get away with because they are insanely powerful, but this being a (admittedly large) tablet, I suspect it's not insanely powerful.

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Silver badge

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

is that people mess up the screen. I still wait for the USB powered wiper or the dishwasher-safe screen.

But seriously, touchscreens rarely improve productivity and they should not be the first choice of user interface if there is room for alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

As JDX pointed out, in situations like POS where the computer interaction is in-between handling other things, touch can be handy.

Also in industrial operation scenarios where the operator is mostly monitoring what is going on, and only occasionally needs to interact with the system.

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Silver badge

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Touch screens and mouse control are different interfaces that allow different tasks to be performed, and both have validity. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the intended use-case scenario.

I don't get this "touch is new and mouse is old so touch must replace mouse everywhere" mentality. There's a reason we use handlebars on motorcycles and steering wheels in cars, and not the other way around.

For example, I do a lot of 3D modelling and graphic work as a hobby (and sometimes for work) A couple of years ago I got a Samsung Slate with Windows 7 and installed Blender (3D modelling software) on it. Since the Slate treats touch as a mouse event it was possible to use it thus, but trying to build 3D models in Blender using touch is an exercise in rage and frustration that would drive even Ghandi batshit crazy. Likewise trying to use Gimp or Photoshop with a touch interface. It's like trying to drive a car with a joystick. Forget. It.

Then there's typing up documentation and code for work. You need a keyboard. Not a picture of a keyboard on a screen. You need buttons that move, that are far enough part that my fat fingers don't end up tapping out shit like "SWKECT namw, addtess, phone FROM users WJERE joindate > 20130701".

Mouse gives you precision that touch simply cannot match. Of course you can use a touch pen (the Slate even came with one), but while drawing in Photoshop is nice with a pen, 3D modelling is a different story. Some things just need to be done with a mouse and keyboard.

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Silver badge
Happy

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Could still be very useful for armless people using their feet, looking at the bright side you know.

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Anonymous Coward

$1500 ?

Similar Android desktop PC-like things are $350 here. I'd better go double-check exactly what it is just in case it's an unusually low, accidentally crazy low, price.

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Silver badge
Meh

Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

I notice most people defending 'touch' are citing non-desktop cases (checkout, factory floor, hand-held). Well yes, I did specify "on the desktop" for a reason - namely that for a phone or tablet touch is quite easily arguably the best interface and for specialised uses all bets are off. For doing any sort of serious content creation, though, touch is unlikely to be helpful.

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Re: The trouble with 'touch' on the desktop...

Could not agree more. I have a nifty Lenovo Yoga thingy with an excellent touch screen.

But I use a the keyboard, mouse and Ancient desktop. The only time I actually use the

touchscreen is when my effing expensive and useless blue tooth mouse is arguing with the wireless card and not responding.

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FAIL

Well, I guess that about wraps it up for Cisco.

Shame, they produce some good networking kit.

GJC

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Bronze badge

Re: Well, I guess that about wraps it up for Cisco.

"Shame, they used to produce some good networking kit."

There you go Geoff, I fixed it for you before Jim intervened and gave you a little fondle.

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Re: Well, I guess that about wraps it up for Cisco.

A fair comment.

GJC

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Silver badge

Cisco late to the competition to build the world's most niche device

Unless you can watch it slide slowly out of your hands and shatter on the floor like Intel's effort then there's no way that Cisco can compete.

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Facepalm

Cisco: proving time and time again that the future of the internet is in consumer grade junk.

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Steve Jobs was right

The fact is that touch doesn't work well on a desktop as Steve Jobs repeatedly, and correctly, pointed out.

It just isn't comfortable to have to lift your arm up and stretch it out to the screen. Touch is great for a device that is close and more or less flat (i.e. parallel to the ground) but there is a reason why touch screen laptops never took off.

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Silver badge

The obvious solution for that would seem to be to have a touch screen built into your desk (though a camera based solution might work as well).

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Silver badge

I wouldn't mind a horizontally-mounted touchscreen as a secondary display/control surface for a desktop or laptop PC... it would be somewhere to keep application toolbars, or perform file management. Some details would need working out (how would it handle cursor movement between screens, as with traditional dual-monitor set-ups?)

Ideally, though - this secondary display/control surface would double as a stand-alone Android tablet.

Oh? Someone has already made one, with a reputation for digitisers?

http://cintiqcompanion.wacom.com/CintiqCompanionHybrid/en/

Shame about the price tag!

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@ Dave 126

".....horizontally-mounted touchscreen as a secondary display/control surface for a desktop or laptop PC... it would be somewhere to keep application toolbars...."

Somewhere to spill your coffee too, I suspect.

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Re: @ Dave 126

>Somewhere to spill your coffee too, I suspect.

That's a very valid point.

It can be mitigated, though - the Sony Tablet S is fully waterproof. It just seems to me that making an Android tablet that can function as a secondary monitor might be away to differentiate it the market.

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Bronze badge

"The obvious solution for that would seem to be to have a touch screen built into your desk (though a camera based solution might work as well)."

Hmmm, anybody for space invaders C. 1980's.

What we need to do is standardise the size of fingers and perhaps regulate the grease output, finger mobility and perhaps the haptic percussion rate. We could then declare an average user and then blame anybody that had issues with the system as being of the wrong physiological type.

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And there you have it: A brilliant idea leaked like nothing else without any form of patents applied to it:

Do you remember those keyboards that did not exist, and you could just tap on the table, pretending there was a keyboard? A webcam thingy and some logic, and the computer could deduce what you were typing without actually needing a keyboard.

Surely, one can do the same with the screen... just pretend there's a fondleslab on the table, train a cam on it, and let some logic decide what the user is going to do.

Ok, admittedly, this is bad for people like me who listen to music and play airdrum every so often, but I guess you get out of that habit pretty quickly :)

There... for free... :D

Regards,

Guus

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Anonymous Coward

Is That..........

........the Cisco Kit.

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Cisco win

The competition to win the worst product of the noughties. Expect no less from people who design a phone interface that needs 4 presses to get out of the current (directory) menu just to answer an incoming call.

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Re: Cisco win

are we not in the teenies or something or is it just cold?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cisco win

Is is the spiritual successor of the One-Per-Desk?

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WTF?

Cisco kid

Slow day at the office?

Not one mention so far of 'Cisco' and 'NSA' and 'embedded'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cisco kid

maybe someone could have a new "embedded NSA" product line: "eNSA" has a nice, easy-to-pronounce thing

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "eNSA" has a nice, easy-to-pronounce thing

Re: ""eNSA" has a nice, easy-to-pronounce thing"

Enterprise Networked Storage Architecture.

Digital Equipment Co, late 1990s. OK it may have been CPQ by then, but the idea was DEC's.

May have been easy to pronounce, should have been easy to sell, but as usual nobody got to hear of it.

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WTF?

Your Fired

Thought it was a new Amstrad Em@iler at first.

Lord Sugah will be impressed.

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Touchscreen desktops

I'm not convinced by the "Touch Screen Devices just don't work" argument. I got one of those Asus T100 convertible tablet/netbook thingies back in November. It has a touch-pad AND a touch-screen and I find myself using both about the same amount of time, even when in standard laptop mode.

Okay, that doesn't really make or break the argument either way as it is a small device designed to be used very close to you (it only has a 10" screen so you can't really use it too far away).

HOWEVER, having used it for a good six months now I find the lack of a touch-screen on my large (17.6") development laptop hugely frustrating. I frequently find myself stabbing at buttons on the screen or trying to drag windows around etc. The development laptop runs windows 8.1 - the same as the netbook.

HOWEVER, I DON'T find myself trying to fondle the monitor on my Windows 7 based desktop PC - even though it sits on the same desk as the laptop. I would say the monitor on the desktop and the screen on the laptop are about the same distance away from me and are used pretty similarly. The main difference is the interface.

And yes, I realise 93.7% of you will instantly dismiss my opinion because I'm using windows 8.1 but you know what? It's actually pretty good. If it could just learn NOT to pop-up the on-screen keyboard all the freakin' time even though I have a perfectly good physical keyboard docked (and it knows about the physical keyboard because it appears in the connected devices list) then the list of gripes I had from about 2 years ago would be all ticked off.

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Re: Touchscreen desktops

I have a T100 and I completely agree with all you say inc Win8.1 is pretty good

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Silver badge
Joke

"CEO-Level tablet"

I thought this was the CEO-level tablet of choice?

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Anonymous Coward

No doubt this will fly off the shelves just like the Cisco Cius.

Yet another mediocre product with no market and a high price tag.

Doomed from the start.

Why do Cisco even bother...

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Anonymous Coward

Who needs to pay $1500. I can build this for a lot less.

Fondleslab 10 inch $250

Wireless mouse/k'board $50

Monitor $140

Camera $50

That's less than $500. who do they think they are? Apple?

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Anonymous Coward

$1500?

Are you sure there isn't an extra zero in that price? Who in their right mind would come out with a tablet that costs $1500 these days? 5-10 years ago, that might have made sense, but nowadays, a $1500 tablet will slide off the store shelves slower than a Windows 8 phone.

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Silver badge

"Scandafornian"

AKA "we wish we'd bought Nokia..."

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Megaphone

Hold on...

Ok - disclaimer first - I work for Cisco in the Collaboration R&D group and have been using a DX80 for some time now.

A few things about the way these products are being portrayed is a little misleading IMHO... The DX 70 is a 14" touch interface and the DX80 is a 23" touch interface (both native 1920x1080) and supports full 1080p 30 video encode and decode (i.e. a standards based SIP video call). They are fully featured Cisco phones (multiple lines, bluetooth integration to make your smartphone a line as well, native Jabber IM and Presence, native WebEx client all built-in).

The DX80 also acts as your primary or secondary monitor if you choose to use it as such and can still be a high end personal telepresence system, a tool for accessing whatever apps make sense and a PC screen (touch enabled if you so desire) all at the same time.

These products are not consumer devices. These fit into the same sort of space we have been selling the EX60 and EX90 for a number of years - high-end personal TelePresence - but at a substantially lower price (less than one third of the EX90 price) and with significant new features.

Are execs going to use just the tablet features and throw away their laptops? No way. Not as far as I can tell. But the CxOs of Fortune 500 companies I have spoken to about these products all want them on their desk and for their entire management chain...

As for the Scandafornian thing... well, in 2009 Cisco did buy the company I worked for in Oslo, Norway (Tandberg) and that is where the DX80 Industrial Design was done - along with the US components as well - that kinda makes it work :-)

Of course - all my own opinions - flame me as required :-)

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