HP is taking touch to the people, with new touch screen laptop and desktop models, all featuring Windows 7 and some shipping on Oct. 22, when the new operating system is formally introduced.
The new multi-touch models include a number of applications that take advantage of the interface, including Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Recipe Box, a webcam "photo booth" application, and the HP Music Store.
- HP TouchSmart tx2 -- A laptop, starting at $799, with a 12.1-inch screen that rotates 180-degrees for use as a tablet. Besides touch commands, users can write or draw on the screen with an electronic pen. Available Oct. 22.
- HP TouchSmart 300 and 600 -- Are the third-generation of HP's touch-enabled desktops. The 300 has a 20-inch screen and the 600 (shown) has a 23-inch display. The 300 starts at $899 and will begin deliveries on Nov. 1, with the 600 due Oct. 22 and priced starting at $1,049. Read our review of the HP TouchSmart 600.
- HP TouchSmart 9100 -- An all-in-one desktop, starting at $1,299, which includes a 23-inch touch screen. It can be used as standard touch screen PC or tasked as a map or events kiosk in an office, hotel, or other location. Deliveries begin in December.
- HP LD42200tm -- A digital signage device with a 42-inch touch screen. Available in December for $2,799.
Besides touch screens, HP also introduced several business desktop and laptop computers as well as new value-oriented Compaq-branded desktops and a laptop.
The Compaq Presario CQ61z (where do they get these model numbers?) costs only $399 and features a 15.6-inch screen, after $100 instant rebate. The Compaq 500B business desktop sells for $359, while the new Compaq Presario 4010f desktop sells for $309.
My take: The laptop looks very interesting and I will consider purchasing one during my next upgrade cycle. I am not wild about reaching out to touch a desktop, although HP is pushing these models for entertainment and kitchen use, where touch makes some sense.
In the kitchen, the touch screen is meant to be used with recipes and other applications that can work entirely by touch when keyboard use isn't appropriate. Verbal directions are also provided.
The new Compaq's are a welcome addition to lowest-priced laptops and desktops. The laptop competes with netbooks on price and will win some of those battles.