I chose “something else”, although “touch screen” would solve my one big problem.
I have a really really hard time with touchpads under a keyboard; I’m constantly bumping them while typing and doing awful things to my work: usually just moving the cursor in the paragraph I’m typing, but sometimes selecting text (that the next keystroke overwrites) or clicking buttons (like “close window” or “undo”).
(I’m mostly a Linux user, but I’ve had similar problems when I’ve had to use Mac or Windows laptops with touchpads.)
I normally use a mouse, and then it’s safe to turn off the touchpad, but I still want to have some way to use a mouse pointer if my wireless mouse battery dies, if I forget to pack it, etc.
My workaround on the touchscreen Thinkpad I’ve used until now was to have an large labelled launcher in the always-visible panel that opens the “Mouse and Trackpad” preferences that let me turn on or off particular pointing devices. So I can turn off the touchpad when I have a mouse available, but if I don’t for some reason and I need to turn the touchpad back on, I can touch the launcher to open the pointer preferences, and touch the toggle to turn the touchpad back on, neither of which requires much precision.
I also have a GPD Pocket 2 itsy bitsy micro-laptop, which is too small to have a touchpad and instead has a little optical trackpad above the top-right corner of the keyboard which you use kind of like a trackball. I love it! (There are also physical left- and right-click buttons above the keyboard on the left.) So that’s an example of a compact input device that works well for me.
(Unlike a lot of your customers, I’ve never been able to use Thinkpad touchpoints; I find they require so much force to move that I can’t be precise with them.)
So I’d love a Framework with a touchscreen, but any alternative pointing device that I could use that would be guaranteed not to register spurious touches while I was typing, or a quick and easy hardware means of turning on and off the touchpad, would be great too, and probably cheaper (in quantity) than a touchscreen.
I would utterly love a full-sized laptop that put the touchpad above the keyboard! (But I’m guessing a drop-in input cover like that wouldn’t be possible since the height of the touchpad area has to fit with the battery, and the height of the keyboard area has to fit with the motherboard. Also, taking all the keyboard layouts you support and multiplying by 2 would be a lot.)
I just got my Framework a couple days ago, and the interim workaround I’m using is assigning the Framework-logo/F12 key to toggle the touchpad on or off. (XF86 seems to think that’s the “Audio media” key, but it doesn’t do anything by default in Xubuntu.)
(One thing a touchscreen would do that an optical trackpad, a touchpad that was above the keyboard, or a quick hardware way of toggling the touchpad on and off wouldn’t, would be to let me easily use handwriting input, e.g., for non-alphabetic scripts in Google Translate.)