Hewlett-Packard took the wraps off its latest line of touchscreen PCs, a category that seems to be edging its way into the consumer consciousness.
The growing popularity of smartphones means people are much more comfortable computing via touch — rather than typing — and new devices are crowding into the market. Touchscreen computers also allow companies like HP to innovate on the traditional PC paradigm, offering fresh applications and stretching the limits of what a traditional PC can do.
“This is not just a gimmick, you have to make it something that’s would be useful for people,” said John Cook, vice president of marketing in HP’s consumer PC unit.
HP’s TouchSmart line was first introduced in 2007, and the company now sells a laptop model along with two all-in-one desktops. The TouchSmart tx2 laptop features a multi-touch screen that can swivel to lie flat. The company’s latest desktops, a 20-inch and 23-inch model, will ship in the U.S. with a number of pre-installed apps–another smartphone feature that has migrated to PCs–including Hulu, Netflix and Twitter. Many people using the all-in-ones on the kitchen counter as an entertainment hub of sorts.
HP also unveiled traditional business laptops, the ProBook 6545b and 6445b, that may not be touch, but still offer users innovative features–namely a spill-resistant keyboard with a drain underneath. When liquid goes in, it comes spilling out a hole in the bottom, rather than sloshing around inside for weeks. The new ProBooks also feature HP Power Assistant, an intuitive program that helps a user to better manage power and extend battery life.