Print 24 comment(s) - last by B3an.. on Nov 20 at 11:05 PM

The multi-touch computer is HP's first foray into multi-touch notebooks

Hewlett-Packard has introduced a new laptop computer with multi-touch technology, a first time attempt at a multi-touch system for the computer giant.

The TouchSmart tx2 laptop lets owners use hand motions instead of using a keyboard or mouse while manipulating photos, images, music and other applications.  

HP's tx2 weighs 5 lbs. and ships with Microsoft Windows Vista, 12.1-in. LED screen, rechargeable digital ink pen, and is powered using the AMD Turion X2 Ultra dual-core processor.

Multi-touch technology has been made popular by the Apple iPhone and other similar handhelds.  In fact, some analysts and Apple backers expected Steve Jobs and Apple to be the first company to release a Mac laptop with multi-touch features.

Asus initially beat HP to the punch with a multi-touch notebook PC, but the tx2's screen is able to pivot, while the Asus offering cannot.

"Breezing through web sites and enjoying photos or video at the tap, whisk or flick of a finger is an entirely new way to enjoy digital content on a notebook PC," said Ted Clark, HP's Notebook Global Business Unit VP and general manager.  "With the introduction of the TouchSmart tx2, HP is providing users an easier, more natural way to interact with their PCs, and furthering touch innovation."

The tx2 supports the following different modes:  PC, display and tablet, and users can use a stylus to write on to the screen in tablet mode.  The screen can pivot 180 degrees so someone sitting across the table can easily look at the screen.

Microsoft doesn't plan on including touch technology into Windows until Window 7, which is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2010.

The HP TouchSmart tx2 is available immediately with a starting price of $1,149.

HP's latest laptop release comes shortly after the company announced it saw a large rise in profits over the same period last year.  Despite falling to No. 2 in the U.S. computer market to Dell, its fourth-quarter revenue increased 19 percent up to $33.6B at a time when other companies are struggling.

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Yeah but Apple will still be first
By 306maxi on 11/20/2008 8:51:07 AM , Rating: 4
Multi-touch technology has been made popular by the Apple iPhone and other similar handhelds. In fact, some analysts and Apple backers expected Steve Jobs and Apple to be the first company to release a Mac laptop with multi-touch features.

Regardless of the above Apple will still amazingly be able to pass their iMultiTouch Macbook or whatever as being a world first and people will still go on about how it "just works" and so on. I do hope HP market this agressively so that people are made aware that Apple isn't "first" this time. Regardless I do feel that touch and multi-touch are largely useless in the laptop/notebook sector aside from some uses which were catered for just fine with traditional tablets....

Don't get me wrong I feel that touch devices definitely have their place, especially after using my wifes interactive whiteboard at school but I think someone's going to have to do something pretty special to get me away from using my more than one buttoned mouse and keyboard which has been the best way of using a computer for ages and will continue to be the best way until mind control is perfected and is cheap enough for use by the average joe.

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By wordsworm on 11/20/2008 10:11:05 AM , Rating: 1
more than one buttoned mouse

I've not used a 2 button mouse in ages. I just recently bought a logitech laser wireless mouse, and it's really great. It works on just about anything, unlike the old optical.

At work I've got an optical, maybe I should replace it with this four-button-laser mouse, what do you think?

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By Diesel Donkey on 11/20/2008 11:05:45 AM , Rating: 2
I've struggled with those "mighty" mice, and I just cannot get a reliable right click out of them. Maybe I'm just not well enough practiced, but when I tried one I could only get about 1 of 5 right clicks to register.

By mmntech on 11/20/2008 11:54:32 AM , Rating: 3
They are horrible. Apple has not released a good mouse in years. However, any USB mouse will work on a Mac. You don't need to use their Apple branded stuff. OS X fully does support two button mice in the same way Windows does. You'd be surprised how many people don't know that. I'm not sure why they've insisted on keeping the one button design. It is easier for laptops since there's no tendency to hit the wrong button, but not for desktop systems.

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By B3an on 11/20/2008 11:05:39 PM , Rating: 3
A FOUR button laser mouse for Mac? Wow that must be really confusing for you Mac users. $69 too, so cheap.

As a PC user i'm really jealous! It's not like we can get a Logitech G5 with 7 buttons, superior performance, fits hand better, and less $.

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By robinthakur on 11/20/2008 10:35:18 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with you that touch control on a laptop is pretty worthless on today's OS's, however credit where credit is due, and Apple has popularised multi-touch through integrating it with their iPhone version of OSX.

Integrating it with the main version as successfully through the glass track pad is not quite there yet but I am fairly confident that when they do, it will be generally done a bit better than this effort. What is the point of multi touch on a windows laptop until the OS supports it natively with 7? Apple at least has more control over the total package than MS do, and can therefore ensure that the experience is seamless.

In point of fact, the reason that Asus (who were the first) didn't trumpet it from the rooftops is that its not all that useful currently. Your bashing of Apple for the one button mouse and their successful approach to marketing marks you out as decidedly anti-Apple - or shouldn't they market their products to the best of their abilities? HP will probably market this as multi-touch "Just like the iPhone" because that's their best hope of sales.

I also agree that we mustn't invent any other methods of input until we invent mind control as they would eventually be outdated </sarcasm>

For me personally, the thought of fingerprints on my iPhone, let alone my monitor, makes me shudder...;)

By 306maxi on 11/20/2008 10:50:58 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not anti-Apple. I happily use my old U2 G4 iPod hooked up to the head unit in my car and it works well and I have no complaints really.

My complaints about Apple are mainly that their marketing is sometimes misleading and at times can be unjustifiably negative towards the competition. The I'm a Mac ads are a great example of this. I've played around with an iPhone and it's just not as good as a phone as my N95. I don't even need to look at my phone to send a text but you can't do this with an iPhone due to the lack of tactile feedback. Sure it's got a nice screen but the first one didn't even have 3g which is pretty much standard on all smartphones from the last few years.

You make a good point about Apple having control over the whole platform. This is true and it's one of the issues Microsoft will always face as manufacturers will happily put substandard parts in their devices which compromise the user experience which will be especially important with regards to multi touch devices.

Mind control has already been done. There have been a few articles on dailytech showing devices which interface with your PC and allow you to have a degree of control. It's something that's going to happen and has already been invented.

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By DASQ on 11/20/2008 11:48:18 AM , Rating: 2
Are you some kind of caveman? You don't like two button mice?

Good Lord do you also shun 'high speed' internet?

RE: Yeah but Apple will still be first
By foolsgambit11 on 11/20/2008 2:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Someone's going to have to do something pretty special to get me away from using my more than one buttoned

That sentence, while a little awkward, obviously means that he likes using mice with more than one button. As in, two or more buttons. He (or maybe she and lesbian, I don't know, but s/he has a wife - maybe from California?) was being inclusive, and didn't want to exclude 3-, 4-, 5-, or n-button mice (n>=2).

Nothing in that sentence suggests he doesn't like two-button mice. Only that he doesn't like one-buttoned mice.

By 306maxi on 11/20/2008 5:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I was clumsy with my English on purpose.

I was going to say two buttoned mouse but then I realised my G9 has a lot more than 2 buttons and so do most other people's mice.

Half a solution
By psonice on 11/20/2008 9:21:15 AM , Rating: 2
Having a "multi-touch" laptop is all well and good, but a computer is made of 2, equal parts: hardware and software.

I'm guessing that the hardware will be good, but without support for multitouch in windows, it's going to be a gimmick. There will be a few bundled apps that let you play with photos or whatever, and windows and all it's other apps where you'll be reaching for the mouse or pen like normal.

Looking at it that way, I think the field is still wide open for the first real multi-touch laptop. Windows 7 will be out in 2010, or maybe by the end of next year, apple's snow leopard will be out sometime next year, so apple could still get it done first. Of course there's all the netbooks running linux - the PC makers are free to do what they want with that, so a multi-touch linux netbook or something is entirely possible.

RE: Half a solution
By Master Kenobi on 11/20/2008 10:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 will be out in June/July 2009.

RE: Half a solution
By 306maxi on 11/20/2008 10:36:44 AM , Rating: 2
I thought it was meant to be out later in the year or is June/July just the RTM date?

Either way I'm just happy as long as it's a solid release and most importantly marketed well so as not to attract the same amount of criticism as Vista did a lot of which it didn't deserve.

RE: Half a solution
By psonice on 11/20/2008 10:47:55 AM , Rating: 3
Vista deserved every last drop of criticism when it was released, what with the huge system requirements, big ugly bugs, serious lack of decent driver support, and the rest. I had to evaluate it for our company network, it got a big fat rejection.

You can certainly say it doesn't deserve all of the criticism now though, as the worst of the bugs are fixed and the drivers are pretty stable. The hardware has mostly caught up with the OS too. The damage has been done though, and vista has a really bad reputation. People would start respecting it more over time, but it's better for microsoft to get win7 out fast (but not so fast that it's full of bugs please!)

RE: Half a solution
By 306maxi on 11/20/2008 10:54:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but I don't agree.

Huge system requirements - An E6600 (or equivalent) and 2gb of RAM have been cheap enough for most people since launch.
Bugs - OK I'll give you that one. The file transfer performance bug still isn't totally sorted either.....
Driver support - Wasn't as bad as people say and was mainly creative and Nvidia's fault.

You're right though, the damage has been done and Windows 7 needs to be solidly marketed to make a proper impact.

RE: Half a solution
By psonice on 11/20/2008 11:27:23 AM , Rating: 2
For the average reader of a site like this, the requirements weren't bad. But for the average man on the street with a year old budget PC, you're looking at 1gb of ram, perhaps a pentium4, and an intel onboard GPU. "Vista capable", but you wouldn't want to actually use it for long. For business, the situation is the same or worse.

For the drivers: it was hit and miss, which was the whole problem. For me, some PCs ran fine, others were crashy, and in one case we had a couple of brand new systems that wouldn't even install vista. They were vista certified boards from a decent brand, with nothing extra plugged in, and the installer failed because of the graphics drivers (it was intel 950 to blame, hardly a rare GPU!) We had to buy separate video cards just to install it, then remove the cards when later drivers were installed.. crazy.

RE: Half a solution
By 3DoubleD on 11/20/2008 5:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Vista runs perfectly fine on a P4 system. The HTPC system my dad put together years ago is based on a 3.x GHz Dual Core P4 that he uses for HD free to air captures and blu-ray playback. With 2 GB of memory, Vista runs perfectly fine. My dad through in 2 GB more because it was cheaper than dirt and wanted to see if Vista superfetch would make it go even faster, but the difference was very small for the common tasks (ripping, recording, viewing, ect). Anyway, if a 3 year old P4 based system can easily run Vista there was no excuse for poor Vista performance unless you were a) stupid, b)a bum on the street (in which case you had no computer so your Vista performance could not be improved).

On a side note, I never understand when people make a big fuss about using uber low power CPUs for HTPCs, it is totally unnecessary. The Silverstone case contains 6 hard drives, blu-ray player, 8600GT, and the aforementioned P4 with stock heatsink. Whisper silent and no heat issues, even though the shelf it is on is half recessed into the wall with some other AV equipment. I can't think of a more extreme example of a power hog CPU in a cramped environment. You would have to make a huge effort to make a system loud enough to bother you during HTPC usage.

Sorry for the random rant... it was somewhat related.

Did someone spill?
By mikefarinha on 11/20/2008 10:37:34 AM , Rating: 2
That pic of the laptop looks like someone spilled something on it...

RE: Did someone spill?
By Diesel Donkey on 11/20/2008 11:03:49 AM , Rating: 4
I think it looks like the plastic coating or paint is coming off. Hideous.

By afkrotch on 11/20/2008 12:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand this need for touch on some devices. For a tablet, it makes sense. For those large smartboards, it makes sense. For just a regular notebook, it makes absolutely no sense.

The multi-touch for this HP tablet, I'll give it the thumbs up for adding multi-touch, but I don't see it bringing much to the table. At least for me. Maybe I'm not inventive enough or not thinking outside the box.

I know if I had a need for a tablet, I'd probably be walking around holding it in one hand, while the other hand is holding a stylus writing on it. My hand would probably fck up everything with the multi-touch, as my hand would be sitting on the screen. That's why I like these HP tablets we have at work. Only the stylus can trigger movements on the screen and the screen is a glass like surface, so having my hand on it won't degrade the screen in anyway.

RE: Why?
By masher2 on 11/20/2008 1:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "For just a regular notebook, it makes absolutely no sense"

I disagree. Most notebooks already use touch technology, via a secondary touchpad. Integrating that on screen is, for most people, a substantial boost in ergonomics. . . especially if you're using the notebook in an environment where you can't connect an external mouse.

When I'm mobile, most of my laptop usage is keyboard oriented anyway. Having a touch screen to allow me to click the occasional button or link is faster and more intuitive than a touchpad.

RE: Why?
By afkrotch on 11/20/2008 1:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
The touchpad requires a hell of a lot less movement than a touchscreen. I also meant to say touchscreen in my first post.

I find the touchscreen on a regular notebook to be far more cumbersome than a touchpad. I usually use my hands to type and when I need to make a movement on the screen, I drop my thumb down and move it that way. Most touchpads on notebooks are right there.

This keeps me from having to move my whole arm to click on something. I also don't need to reposition my hands to get back to typing. Also get better controlled clicks with a touchpad verses something that tries to read the feeling from a finger. Good luck trying to resize a window.

Of Course...
By acer905 on 11/20/2008 11:25:27 AM , Rating: 2
In fact, some analysts and Apple backers expected Steve Jobs and Apple to be the first company to release a Mac laptop with multi-touch features.

Of course Apple will... IF anyone else tried to release a "Mac Laptop" Apple would burn them to the ground with lawsuits

Flat screens flat world
By bugnguts on 11/20/2008 1:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think for touch and gesture interfaces to take hold we need to change the aging flat monitor. I would love to have a kind of bowl like monitor, flat where my hands are normally placed but rounding up a little and around ether side. The curvature would be such that the screen is maintains a 75-90 degree angle or so with your line of site. The problem right now with a tablet or desktop PC's is the keyboard and the screen are typically at near right angles, making transition form type to touch cumbersome. If you tilt your tablet/laptop screen back too much to ease the transition then you deal with problems associated with abnormal viewing angles.
I guess the laptop screens require great flexibility, but for a desktop type station it would be like having an unbroken three monitor setup. I could have WOW up on the center and be checking quest coordinates on wowhead on the left. and have vent and etc on the right... I mean be able to work on my Chem. Engr. assignments with more efficiency.

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