Hewlett-Packard has taken the wraps off the TouchSmart tx2 -- the PC maker's first convertible notebook screen to include capacitive multi-touch technology.
The machine's touch-sensitive screen and MediaSmart software work together to recognize and execute commands based on motions such as pinch, rotate, arc, flick, press and drag, as well as single and double taps. The technology combo enables users to more naturally select, organize and manipulate photos, music tracks, video clips and other Web content by touching the screen -- including content from 10 cable-TV channels and online brands owned by MTV Networks.
"With the introduction of the TouchSmart tx2, HP is providing users with an easier, more natural way to interact with their PCs," said Ted Clark, the manager of HP's notebook group.
A Convertible Twist
Empowered by Windows Vista Home Premium, the tx2 sports an AMD Turion X2 dual-core mobile processor, a built-in Webcam with integrated microphone, and a rechargeable digital ink pen. The laptop's convertible design also incorporates a twist hinge that enables the machine to be configured in three different modes: PC, display and tablet.
Users can transform the tx2 into a tablet PC in order to write, sketch, draw, take notes or graph right onto the screen, with handwriting automatically converted into typed text. The tx2 also ships with a notebook stand that elevates the unit while stationary, which enables the user to put the machine in an upright position to allow for full interactivity with the device's touchscreen.
Rival Dell blazed a trail in the multi-touch notebook field late last year with the introduction of the Latitude XT -- a convertible tablet PC priced at $1,829 that features both pen and capacitive touch capabilities. However, HP's TouchSmart tx2 is available now at a base price of $1,149.
Vast Product Offerings
With its release of the tx2, HP has acted to strengthen the appeal of its consumer-product portfolio in advance of what is shaping up to be an especially tough holiday season for PC vendors. And the company's renewed focus on the mobile-PC segment is understandable, given the rising popularity of mobile-computing products overall.
Mobile PCs accounted for "a little over 50 percent" of all computer shipments in the third quarter of 2008, "exceeding global desktop PC shipments for the first time," said Mika Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner.
However, HP's mobile-PC growth in the third quarter was below the worldwide average, Kitagawa noted. "It was partly because they were not aggressive" in bringing new mini-notebook products to market at a time when these low-cost devices were experiencing strong growth, she explained. HP should benefit from its recent addition of three new mini-notebook models.
Though individual companies such as Acer and Asus are enjoying success in the popular mini-notebook market niche, HP's emphasis on appealing to a broader market has its adherents. "HP's vast product offerings should help it to weather the current economic climate and enable it to grow as the market begins to recover," predicted IDC analysts.