To my mind direct onscreen tactile interaction would be one of the ultimate goals for something like Ableton Live for live mixing/DJing. Why? It would go a long way to truly bringing it into a more intuitive mode of DJing/live mixing within a certain DJ/live mix workflow. The only problem is that Ableton's GUI interface isn't exactly designed for touch interactivity given the miniature sized GUI controls and scene slots that are more ideally suited for mouse click interactions or a stylus and digitizer control combo, but with a mix of assigned midi based hardware controls and an appropriately responsive touch screen it would certainly go some way to making such a goal a reality. The closest I'd actually got to a relatively portable direct touch screen mixing with Ableton was with one of the first affordable media centric consumer class tablet via the TX2000 which had a resolution of 1280 x 800. It eventually died on  me due to general GPU overheating issues which was a common issue with the tablet for many of its users. But even with this tablet touch interactivity was very cumbersome and lacking due to the nature of the none touch friendly Ableton interface. Fortunately though the tablet was also equipped with a stylus and built in digitizer which allowed for vastly more accurate control of Ableton via the touch screen, it was certainly much more direct and faster using that along side midi controllers then using a mouse. Having gotten so used to using it that way for 3 to 4 years it felt strange and somewhat very limiting having to go back to mouse and keyboard controls in combination with midi controllers. Critics of the CDJ user variety (who have probably never even gotten close to being able to properly mix vinyl records on turntables) would now accuse us of looking like we were playing Sudoku as apposed to looking like we were emailing rather then mixing live/DJing. 

As you could imagine running Ableton 7 in a lower resolution then 1280 x 800 on the 12" tablet in order to make the scenes and controls larger didn't leave much workspace real-estate to work with. 

Since the tablet died I've always been on the lookout for alternate device options that either allowed for direct interaction via a stylus or touch interactions directly on the physical surface of a screen. Given the current state of Ableton's interface the only foremost contender to my mind was Wacom's 1280 x 800 Cintiq 12" tablet for its portability factor. Its generally a device with more of a graphic design slant in mind but could quite easily be turned to accurate Ableton like stylus driven interactional purposes. It's hardly the cheapest of options either at $1200 RRP. 


 

Something to try if you've got $300 (RRP)



Many moons have now passed and it seems Dell has decided to turn out another version of a multi- touch - touch screen of their own in the form of the ST2220T. At 21.5" with a maximum resolution 1920x1080 there's going to be plenty of space to work with. Obviously its intended for a less portable stationary existence in some work space or in the home given its size but I guess if you have the means it could still be ported much in the way that a DJ used to port their turntables in flight cases or to this very day their mixers.  



It's simple and said to be sturdy collapsible all in one kick stand like design over more conventional monitor stands also potentially makes it even easier to port in some kind of flight case. On the design front its far from being an eye sore and they've even thought about how people might actually use a touch screen even if it is intended for more general media user streams of use. Generally most general user media touch screens that I've seen not primarily intended as an industry CAD or as a commercial point of sale device tended to have a fixed upright stand that didn't actually allow for a high degree of articulation/tilting and the ST2220T appears to have incorporated the means to do this nicely via the simple kick stand design.





However with no actual hands on I can't actually tell you much more about the touch screen. But one thing that seemed a little odd was that it was said to have a gloss finish on the actual panel as well as the bezel?! Is that really a good idea given the touch element to it or is it something that will only bug people who can't stand finger prints on shiny surfaces? Generally though I guess its no biggie as you could quite easily get some kind of protective skin over it whether it be matte or something else of the gloss variety.



 
Potentially given the physical size of the screen it would mean that even when running Ableton in a lower resolution to make scene manipulation more realistically possible via touch interactions there would still be a reasonable amount of work space to spread out on with a bit of a reshuffle.