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Possibly taking a cue from popular gadgets like Apple'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, video, 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 then the handwriting can be converted into typed text.

HP has been putting a lot of emphases on its laptop computers in recent months. In August, the PC maker unveiled three new ultraportable laptops, including a machine that can convert from a notebook into a pen-based tablet. And then at the end of October, HP jumped into the hot mini-laptop market with the introduction of three new ultraportable systems, including two that carry price tags of less than $400.

According to HP, the company introduced its first touch-screen computer, the HP-150 in 1983.

As part of a major PC rollout last June, HP introduced the TouchSmart family of PCs, which feature HP software designed to enable users to access applications with a swipe or tap of a finger -- without touching a mouse or keyboard. HP said in an online document that its new touch-screen laptop technology is an offshoot of its TouchSmart desktops.

With a starting weight under 4.5 pounds, the tx2 has a 12.1-inch diagonal BrightView LED display. The laptop also uses Advanced Micro Device Inc.'s Turion X2 Ultra dual-core processor or AMD's Turion X2 dual-core processor, and it runs on Microsoft's Windows Vista.

It's available worldwide with a starting price of $1,149.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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