HP unveils a cool reclining touchscreen PC straight out of Star Trek

It seems like there’s no end of uses for the touchscreen. Hewlett-Packard is showing off a cool new touchscreen computer today that can recline at a 60-degree angle so that it can be used as a kind of control console for a lot of different applications.

The new HP TouchSmart 610 consumer PC and the HP TouchSmart 9300 Elite Business PC can recline from an upright position to an almost flat position, allowing the machine to adjust for the viewing position that is most comfortable to you. Randall Martin, chief design strategist at HP (pictured with the new computer at bottom), says the new design fits in with the trend of making technology fit humans, rather than the other way around.

HP says the new reclined screen makes it easy to do everything from art projects to playing games. Businesses can also use the reclining desktops in customer-facing roles such as a hotel front desk. A clerk can operate the display and still easily keep eye contact with the hotel guest. Yes, it kind of looks like the consoles on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek (pictured).

The screens have a 23-inch diagonal high-definition display that reclines 60 degrees and tilts forward up to five degrees. It is a wide angle display with a light-emitting-diode (LED) backlit liquid-crystal display screen. It comes with touch-optimized applications including Hulu, Twitter, Rhapsody, and Twitter. And it has HP’s own RecipeBox and webcam apps. The TouchSmart 610 model includes its high-quality audio Beats Audio system and it also has a free copy of Ubisoft’s real-time strategy game, R.U.S.E.

The TouchSmart 610 also has HP LinkUp, a new application that allows users to wirelessly link the screen of a notebook computer to the TouchSmart using a home network. The notebook’s screen appears on the TouchSmart’s display; then you can tap the display with your finger to control files and commands on the notebook computer. It effectively turns a notebook display into a touchscreen.

The HP TouchSmart 9300 Elite Business PC can be used at retail counters, on the wall, or in kiosks. It uses a second-generation Intel Core microprocessor and has up to 16 gigabytes of main memory.

HP has several business partners who will buy and use the business displays. One customer is Tikatok, a division of Barnes & Noble, which allows children to create their own books in a Barnes & Noble store. Chico’s FAS, a retail chain (with the Chico’s, White House Black Market and So ma Intimates stores) will use the business TouchSmarts in 1,100 stores.

The TouchSmart 610 consumer PC will be available for $899 on Feb. 9. The TouchSmart 9300 Business PC will be available in May at a later date. The business computer evidently uses Sandy Bridge chips, which have been delayed because Intel found a flaw in the Sandy Bridge platform’s chip set. Intel is replacing the flawed chip sets.

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