Published March 09, 2012
You may consider the touchscreen on your smartphone or tablet a high-performance display with instantaneous response to your finger input, but according to Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group, you'd be off base. Way off base.
In a glimpse inside the tech giant's research and development labs, Microsoft shows new touchscreen technology that reduces the latency between your finger and the display to just a single millisecond.
Assistant Director of the Microsoft's Applied Sciences Paul Dietz explains that current "touch system have about a 100ms of delay between when you touch and when the image actually changes. "
Now, if that sounds like splitting milliseconds to you, Dietz uses a 1ms touch screen to demonstrate how seemingly tiny steps in time can affect the user experience. Dragging an image at 100ms lag means the object trails your finger by a noticeable gap. A 50ms lag reduces the gap, but a 1ms lag actually moves the image simultaneously with your finger. Think of touch delays you've experienced dragging apps from one home screen to the next or pressing on-screen controls in mobile games to a stalled effect and you'll have an idea of the value of single-millisecond touch. You could also check out the video for yourself below.
The verdict from the video is that instantaneous touch matters, and, if most devices run with a delay of 100 ms, or even 10ms, we're not there yet.