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Gateway Unveils Touchscreen Desktop PC

The new PCs, priced starting at $720, leverage technology built into Windows 7.

Gateway on Wednesday introduced a line of all-in-one desktop PCs with multi-touch screens that will be available with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

Gateway ZX Series
(click image for larger view)
Gateway ZX Series

The ZX Series comprises three models, each with a touchscreen for use with one or two fingers. The black machines resemble flat-panel TVs and come with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The touch capabilities leverage supporting technology in Windows 7, scheduled to ship Oct. 22. Gateway, owned by Acer, plans to release its latest desktops by early November.

Gateway built what it calls a TouchPortal interface on top of Windows 7. The software provides one-touch access to music, video, photos, social networks, a notepad and more. A swipe of the finger peels back the portal and takes the user to the Windows 7 user interface.

Other touch capabilities include the ability to launch applications, zoom in and out of photos and Web sites, resize windows and make handwritten notes.

Gateway is not the first computer maker to introduce touch screens on consumer desktops. Hewlett-Packard more than two years ago introduced the TouchSmart system that ran on Microsoft's Windows Vista OS. The desktop version starts at $950 today, while a TouchSmart notebook is available as low as $800.

Gateway is hoping its lower prices for the ZX Series will attract customers. Pricing starts at $720.

While desktop PCs with touch screens have been available for awhile, they haven't caught on with consumers. That, however, could change as a result of the popularity of Apple's iPhone, which has helped familiarize many consumers with multi-touch capabilities.

In addition, computers makers will likely introduce more PCs with touch screens, now that Microsoft has included the technology in Windows 7. Lenovo, for example, introduced its first laptop with a multi-touch screen in September. The new capabilities will be available after Windows 7 ships.

Gateway's highest-performing ZX Series system will be the ZX6810 for running PC games and other multimedia tasks. The system includes a 23-inch, high-definition widescreen, a 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 quad-core processor, and 8 MB of DDR3 system memory. Other components include a 1 TB hard drive for data, a 64 GB solid-state drive for faster access to applications, and a built-in Webcam, stereo speakers and TV tuner with remote control. Pricing starts at $1,400 and the system is scheduled to ship later in the fourth quarter.

The ZX6800 and ZX4800 will be available by early November without as much horsepower as the ZX6810. The ZX6800 and ZX4800 come with Intel Pentium processors. While the ZX6800 has a 23-inch screen, the ZX4800 sports a 20-inch display. Prices start at $880 and $720, respectively.

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