A (Mostly Fictional) History of the Touch Screen

Woah, woah, woah, hold the rotary phone for just a minute. Did HP just release an all-in-one, touch-screen desktop PC? What year is it? Who’s the President of the United States of America? Is there still a United States of America? What’s going on?!

If you’re freaking out like that guy above, take a deep breath. Maybe a summary of the history that led up to the big momma of interactive computing that is the HP TouchSmart Envy  will help alleviate your confusion. Follow me...

100,000 B.C.E. – Homo Sapien woman first to discover she has hands.

340 B.C.E. – Alexander the Great grows tired of squinting at a tiny map of the soon-to-be-conquered Persian Empire, and asks his councillors, “Can I get a really, really big one, please? So I can touch it and stuff.”


800 A.D. – A Benedictine monk is working on a stained-glass window when he, mesmerized by the colors, taps the glass a little too forcefully, shattering five years’ worth of labor.

1048 A.D. – Bi Sheng of China invents a movable printing machine. After spending almost three days trying to type a ":)", he groans, “This is a pain in the ***.”

1509 A.D. – Michelangelo is painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when he cries to himself, “I have to paint all these clouds by hand?! Can’t I just copy and paste, then drag and drop them?”


1776 A.D. – While the founding fathers are signing the Declaration of Independence, the always visionary Thomas Jefferson hollers out “You didn’t all have to come at once, you could just have signed it on your Envy’s and emailed it to me.”

1814 A.D. – In the midst of rescuing George Washington’s portrait from the flame-engulfed White House, Dolley Madison mentions to her husband, “If only we could just have uploaded it to our hard drive...”

1947 - 1989 A.D. (Cold War Era) – The United States and the U.S.S.R. start a really long game of Battleship each on their own TouchSmart PC’s. Then, some minor construction disrupts their playing.  

1999 A.D. – Around midnight, Y2K grips the world. Everyone takes a little break.

2000 A.D. – A little after midnight, Y2K was way over-exaggerated. Everyone gets back to work.

2009 A.D. – HP launches the Envy line of personal computers after considering and scrapping other names like the HP Gluttony, Sloth, and Wrath.

2013 A.D. – Envy is a success, and HP rolls out the Envy 23 TouchSmart all-in-one desktop complete with touchscreen user interface. In other news, regular laptops cite lack of personal interaction as contributing to widespread occupational depression.


2200 A.D. – Rear Admiral James T. Kirk of the Starfleet travels back in time to deliver the PADD (Personal Access Display Device) to less-advanced Earthlings. They all wind up in dumpsters for some reason.

Feel better? Thought so. It’s always calming to know that a technological innovation like the HP Envy TouchSmart didn’t just fall from the skies. It’s even more reassuring to know that it doesn’t cost a fortune, thanks to some great deals. So what are you waiting for? 2300 A.D.?

By: Seth

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