HP is attempting to bring the PC closer to home with its new TouchSmart PC.
Unveiled earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the device stands out through its 19inch widescreen monitor that tilts up and down and touch screen capability that allows consumers to operate the computer with a single hand and while standing up. It also ships with a mouse and keyboard.
The computer in a way parts with the PC's business legacy as a productivity tool. But to appeal to consumers, it essentially has to compete with the paper family calendar, summarised Julie McDonald, a product manager for Industrial and Product Design with HP.
"People have PCs all through their homes, but they still have a paper calendar. One of the reasons why people have a paper calendar is because it is in a common space where they can access it instantly. [The TouchSmart PC] is just as accessible as the paper calendar is," said McDonald.
Running Windows Vista Premium, the computer features relatively short boot times. Its tiling touch screen furthermore prevents users from having to sit down and operate a keyboard and mouse, she added.
The PC features an AMD Turion 64 X2 dual core processor, 2Gb of memory, a 320Gb hard drive and TV tuner. It has a built-in camera and a microphone array that allows it to record high quality audio. It is slated for release on 30 January in the US with prices starting at US$1899.
Although the computer is running the regular Windows Vista Premium desktop operating system, the HP SmartCenter software provides a special interface to operate the unit on through the touch screen. The software offers a calendar and lets users leave written or audio notes that can be tied to upcoming events.
HP is targeting the computer at 'common spaces' such as a large kitchen, the living room or some other space in the home where people gather. In addition to scheduling, major design goals included email, entertainment and photo viewing and printing, said McDonald.
"We wanted to provide simple access to the things that you want the most."
HP touch-screen PC takes on the paper family calendar
By Tom Sanders on Jan 19, 2007 4:36PM