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HP Debuts Touch-Screen Desktop PC

While we keep hearing about the battle of the touch-screen smartphones, it seems we've had to settle for kiosks and bank machines to play with larger touch screens. But now HP has introduced a touch-enabled desktop PC aimed at businesses -- particularly, small and midsize ones.
While we keep hearing about the battle of the touch-screen smartphones, it seems we've had to settle for kiosks and bank machines to play with larger touch screens. But now HP has introduced a touch-enabled desktop PC aimed at businesses -- particularly, small and midsize ones.Building on its TouchSmart series, HP has introduced the dx9000 TouchSmart Business PC, aimed at such industries as retail, education, health care, hospitality, and small and midsize business.

Product manager Dipankar Bhargava told me that when HP launched the TouchSmart IQ506 last year, it sampled a limited number in the commercial market to get feedback. "The response was overwhelming," he said, "which led to more business-optimized PCs."

Through the use of interactive technology, customers and vendors can connect with each other. And HP is setting out to establish a system of software vendor partners to develop customizable software solutions for vertical markets such as hospitality, health care, small and midsize businesses, and education.

"There is an untapped potential for touch technology," said Bhargava. "Take hospitatlity -- there are so many applications to work with different customers. Guests could walk into a hotel room and download photos, listen to music, look up services, make spa reservations. A virtual concierge could be downstairs or across the country."

Other possible touch-screen applications include:

  • In stadiums' VIP suites, visitors could watch instant replays, chat with friends, and order food. "This drives revenue by pushing content like advertising," said Bhargava.
  • Within the health care industry, touch screens could provide interactive learning for senior citizens to keep them sharp, schedule appointments, and allow people to look up medical history and get connected to pharmacies, bills, and insurance claims.
  • In a grocery store, customers could get recipes and print coupons. "It's an opportunity to gain revenue and benefits both users," said Bhargava.
  • And for small and midsize businesses, in general, with touch screens, employees can collaborate. "With globalization and mobility, businesses need collaborative tools," said Bhargava.

Some partnerships to develop these touch applications are already in place, and more are expected in the coming months, said Bhargava. DNA Digital Media Group, GuestMVP, Interactive Multimedia Artists, and Uniguest are among the early companies using HP's touch technology.

The dx9000 includes the hardware and monitor in one space-saving device and comes preloaded with Windows Vista Business 64, an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, 4 GB of memory, a 320 GB hard drive, and a Virtual LAN driver. It has a 22-inch high-definition wide-screen HP BrightView LCD screen that tips up or down. And the dx9000 has a built-in slot-load SuperMulti DVD drive. It also has an integrated five-in-one Media Card Reader.

On the green side, the dx9000 is Energy Star-qualified and EPEAT Silver-registered, and HP says it uses 55 percent less metal and 37 percent less plastic than standard PCs and monitors. Plus, with the HP Power Manager tool, users can configure their individual PC power settings to save energy without interfering with their work.

The dx9000 is backed by the HP Total Care Advisor and Business PC Service, "allowing more flexibility than a consumer warranty," said Bhargava.

The dx9000 is expected to be available in North America starting in February, retailing for $1,399.

Check out video of HP showcasing its new products at CES here.