HP multitouch laptop: baiting Apple fanbois, for teh lulz!!1!

In Thursday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers review HP's new multi-touch laptop, irritating Apple fanbois everywhere. Not to mention cool spy gadgets for the James Bond within you...

Sharon Gaudin gets her fingers dirty:

HP TouchSmart tx2z
Possibly taking a cue from popular gadgets such as Apple Inc.'s iPhone, Hewlett-Packard Co. today unveiled its first touch-screen convertible laptop for consumers.

The HP TouchSmart tx2 Notebook PC uses multi-touch technology, enabling people to manipulate their applications, videos, music and photos by using either a stylus or multiple fingers. Since the laptop recognizes input from more than one finger at a time, users can use multiple gestures, such as flicking, pinching and rotating.

Since the laptop has a twisting hinge attaching the display screen, the device can be used as a PC, a tablet and a display. HP noted that the tx2 also has a rechargeable digital ink pen that can be used to write or draw on the screen, and the handwriting can then be converted into typed text.
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Charlie Sorrel adds:

The important part is the screen, a 12" capacitive swiveller. The capacitive screen, like that of the iPhone, allows multi touch gestures, and the swivelling hinge means that those gestures might actually be useful as you don't need to hold your arms out straight to use it.
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But [it's] still limited by drivers. The advantage of the iPhone is that it was conceived from the beginning to be controlled by touching the screen. Any PC maker needs to hack together custom controls for any existing applications that aren't built with touch support. So, swiping up and down works fine for scrolling web pages (despite a spotty Wi-Fi connection), and "double tapping the screen and then drawing the letter M, brings up the multimedia touch panel".

The conclusion? Promising, but flawed.
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Darren Murph drools:

Boasting a 12.1-inch swivel display (LED-backlit) that's just dying to have your prints all over it, the tx2 will come loaded with Windows Vista, a bezel-mounted fingerprint reader, integrated webcam with microphone, Bluetooth / WiFi, stereo speakers, a 5-in-1 multicard reader and a LightScribe SuperMulti DVD burner. HP's also delivering the oh-so-stylish Reaction Imprint exterior, an AMD Turion X2 dual-core processor, the firm's own MediaSmart 2.0 software, a VGA output, Ethernet and at least one USB port from the looks of things.
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While HP mistakenly claims that its sparkly new (but previously rumored) TouchSmart tx2 is the world's first multitouch consumer notebook, we're still decidedly stoked about this here convertible tablet.
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But Dave Caolo cannot hide his inner fanboi:

Talk about being slightly touched ... the tx2 isn't the first multi-touch notebook ... The MacBook Air was introduced on January 15th of 2008 with a multi-touch trackpad.
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The designers and developers at Apple know you want a fully touch-enabled laptop. So do the folks at HP. The difference is that Apple's staff are patient and careful enough to execute it in exactly the right way, not just the most obvious way.
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And Christopher Neher sets the rant-o-matic™ to "ludicrous":

Nonsense ... Does it make more sense to be smearing your fingers around on your notebook's screen or on a spacious trackpad that's designed specifically and solely to be touched? ... There is a better way; Apple's way.
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Nobody cares a whit about HP ... Apple has always been, and continues to be, the leader in Multi-Touch™ interfaces.
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At which, Arik Hesseldahl rolls his eyes:

[Neher's] rather slanted summary ... would have you believe that I’m willfully ignorant of the fact that the MacBook line sports a multi-touch trackpad. Actually I’m intimately aware of the multi-touch trackpad ... My point is very clear: Apple, which has done more than anyone to advance the touch-screen interface paradigm with the iPhone and iPod touch hasn’t yet done so with the Mac, whereas HP has done so in a way that isn’t perfect, but which is showing great promise.
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What’s stopping Apple from making both the trackpad and the screen multi-touch capable and allowing the user to figure out what works best for them? Touching the screen will make sense with some applications and it won’t with others, plus it will also open up the possibilities of new applications as yet barely imagined.
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Meanwhile, it seems Luigi Lugmayr is scarcely a fan of the artwork:

I hope there is a way to get the tx2 without the flowery imprints...
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And finally...

Buffer overflow:

Other Computerworld bloggers:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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