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1/29/2007
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HP Readies New Vista Family Touch-Screen PC

The company reinvigorates its consumer offerings with improved multimedia capabilities.

Hewlett-Packard plans to release on Tuesday a new Vista-based, touch-screen family PC with built-in TV recorder.

The TouchSmart IQ770 PC goes on the sale starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, when Microsoft releases the consumer version of its Windows upgrade. At the same time, HP will start offering all its consumer and business computers with Vista.

The TouchSmart, which would ship with the Home Premium edition of Vista, includes a 19-inch touch screen that provides an electronic alternative to Post-it notes and magnet-held messages families often place on refrigerator doors. In addition, the device has an integrated personal video recorder to play and record TV programming.

The computer is preloaded with applications for organizing photos, music, and video. The touch-screen capabilities are meant to replace many of the mouse functions, and make it possible for children, including preschoolers, to use the computers. "It's a lot more intuitive [than a mouse]," Ann Finnie, spokeswoman for HP consumer PCs, says. "It's opening a new computer paradigm." For example, people can crop and change the size of pictures, and perform other editing functions, using their fingers.

The computer ships with a HP Webcam with built-in microphone. Messages can be recorded, written on the screen, or typed using the PC's keyboard. The machine supports Wi-Fi for use in a wireless home network.

The TouchSmart is powered by a Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-52 processor from Advanced Micro Devices. It ships with 2 Gbytes of memory, a 320-Gbyte hard drive, and a BrightView LCD screen. Besides a keyboard, mouse, and stylus, the computer has a remote control. The device is listed on HP's Web site, with a starting price of $1,799.

Meanwhile, the Vista-based tx1000 tablet, an entertainment notebook introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is scheduled to go on sale Feb. 28.

The tx1000 Pavilion is an ultra-portable machine with a 12.1-inch touch screen that can be turned 180 degrees and flattened into a slate to capture hand-written notes and drawings. The new product will ship with Vista Home Premium, an AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile processor, a TV tuner, DVD player, mini-remote, and integrated panel speakers. Pricing starts at $1,299.

HP also plans to drop the starting price of its dual-core processor Pavilion desktop to $700 from $800, Finnie says.

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