Microsoft eyes zero lag touchscreens

Posted by Shane McGlaun

I think everyone can agree that lag is a real downer when it comes touchscreen devices, as we all want a smartphone or tablet capable of responding the second we touch a button or flick a finger.

Think about it - if you draw right on the screen you want the characters and lines to be on pace with your finger no matter how fast you move. The reality? Lag on most touchscreen devices today is so significant that it's clearly noticeable, making for a rather poor user experience.

Enter Microsoft. Yes, Redmond is working to reduce touchscreen lag and has uploaded a  video showcasing  a
new test system that allows users to see the difference between lag rates on various touchscreens.

According to Microsoft, the average lag on a current touchscreen device is 100 ms. The video shows a reduction of that lag to 50 ms, and while the lag is better and the line follows closer to the finger, the delay is still very apparent. Reducing that lag further to 10 ms offers a marked improvement with some slight noticeable lag. Moving that lag to 1 ms makes the line virtually come out of the user's finger, which is what users want.

Personally, I would love to see touchscreens get faster. I know with my Android phone I can swipe my finger across the unlock bar and it feels like it takes a second or more before the bar actually moves, and the screen unlocks. I wonder how far we are from zero lag displays on touchscreen devices today. With the soaring popularity of games like Draw Something, reduced lag and more accurate touchscreens are becoming more and more important to users.