HP unveils first multi-touch laptop for consumers

HP TouchSmart tx2' digital pen lets users draw or write on screen, then convert it to text

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.

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

HP said that it 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.

HP TouchSmart tx2

HP's TouchSmart tx2. More photos, info.

With a starting weight under 4.5 lb., the new tx2 laptop has a 12.1-in. 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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