HP Intros Multi-touch Notebooks

HP brings its TouchSmart touch-screen technology to the consumer notebook space with today’s announcement of the TouchSmart tx2 notebook PC, the first consumer notebook with a multi-touch display.

The 4.5-pound TouchSmart tx2 features a 12.1-inch touch-screen (1280x800 resolution) that can be pivoted 180 degrees or folded flat for writing. Users can interact with the computer using their fingertip, the included stylus, or with the conventional trackpad and keyboard.

The multi-touch technology recognizes “pinch” movements to resize objects and windows, “rotate” movements to rotate an object clockwise or counterclockwise, and “flick” movements to move objects left or right at speeds relevant to the speed of your finger movement. Single and double taps are also recognized, as are press-and-drag movements.

Users can also draw and write on the screen, which should feel much more natural than it does on HP’s line of TouchSmart desktops. The included handwriting-recognition software can automatically convert handwriting into typed text. The machine also includes HP’s MediaSmart software for viewing photos, listening to music, and watching video.

HP has developed an optional easel-like stand ($49.99) that can hold the notebook, with its screen folded flat, at an angle convenient for watching movies and slideshows. The included infrared remote control can be tucked inside the notebook when not in use.

The base model TouchSmart tx2 is priced at $1,149.99 and features an AMD Athlon Turion X2 dual-core CPU (model QL-64) running at 2.1GHz, 3GB of DDR2 memory, a 250GB, 5,400RPM hard drive, and a SuperMulti 8x DVD burner. Graphics are provided by an ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU with 64MB of memory. The machine comes with a gigabit wired-network interface and an 802.11g wireless card. An integrated webcam is also included.

Customers can choose from a host of optional components, including more powerful AMD CPUs, more memory, larger hard drives, a fingerprint reader, and different operating-system choices (the base model comes with the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium).