Gadgets

HP shows off three new touch desktops with flexible hinges that give you greater control and comfort

HP Envy Recline Beats

Above: HP Envy Recline Beats

Image Credit: HP

Hewlett-Packard has studied users a lot, and it has found that none of them are alike, and their tastes differ from one day to the next. So it’s only fitting that the company has created its new all-in-one PCs and desktop touchscreen monitors with a flexible display that users can positioned practically anywhere they want.

HP touch research

Above: HP touch research

Image Credit: HP

HP officials said these machines represent the best that it can design in all-in-one desktops now that it has more experience making machines with touchscreens that take advantage of the features of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. The company’s unveiling the machines at the IFA Berlin trade show in Germany, which began today. In a sneak peek with the press, HP showed how it used research with consumers to create something that worked for everyone. The idea is to make touch computing more accessible and comfortable.

HP Envy Recline 27

Above: HP Envy Recline 27

Image Credit: HP

The all-in-one desktops have big 10-point touchscreens with an adjustable hinge. That means you can put it at the edge of a table and pull it in close if you plan to touch the screen a lot. You can also push it farther away from you if you want to sit back and watch something. You can even position the display below the edge of a table, closer to your lap.

“We wanted to focus on what the best touch experience is for Windows 8 with both a classic PC, with keyboard and mouse, and touch only,” said Glenn Wong, the consumer design manager at HP, in a press briefing. “It has to be flexible.” Wong moved the display around on the hinge, pushing it sideways, forward, or back.

“The mechanism is really easy, and I can move it around quite easily,” Wong said.

He said that HP did deep research on 62 different consumers, with wide variations in height, weight, and body types. It also spread its research out among different types of usage patterns. HP asked them what the best “touch-optimized position” for them. HP used an average table height of 28.5 inches and set a 23-inch monitor in front of them. When they used the monitors for touch purposes, they brought it closer. When they focused on a keyboard and mouse, they pushed the display farther back.

The desktops include the HP Envy Recline 23-k030, a TouchSmart all-in-one PC. It has a full high-definition 1080p IPS display with fourth-generation Intel Core processors, 8GB of main memory, and a 1TB hard drive. It has Nvidia GeForce GT 730A discrete graphics and 1GB of graphics memory. It has Beats Audio and Intel’s WiDi wireless display capability. The displays are very thin and have nonstick surfaces in case you have greasy fingers when you’re using the displays. The computer will start at $999 at retail with a Core i3 processor. For $30 more, you can get faster wireless and a hybrid flash-hard-disk drive.

You can also get a Beats special edition design with red and black colors. That model is called the HP Recline 23-m120 TouchSmart Beats Special Edition, and it costs $1,249.

HP 23tm touch monitor

Above: HP 23tm touch monitor

Image Credit: HP

Another model is the HP Envy Recline 27 TouchSmart all-in-one PC. It has a 27-inch screen and 10-finger touch. It also has near-field communication (NFC) technology that makes it easy to share photos, contacts, and web links with just a tap. The PC starts at $1,399.

“The all-in-one market is the one growing category within desktops and it’s really important for us to get it right,” Wong said.

HP Phoenix 810

Above: HP Phoenix 810

Image Credit: HP

HP also has an Envy Phoenix 810, a gaming PC that will sell for $1,299 at retail. It is edgy, with shiny black and red designs with liquid cooling, a window on the side with a honeycomb grill, and a number of expansion shots. Besides gaming, the computer can be used for photo editing and productivity apps. It has an Intel Core i7 Extreme Processor, Beats Audio, and options for Nvidia or AMD Radeon graphics.

HP is also introducing a couple of new Windows 8-certified touchscreen displays. They include the HP Pavilion 23tm touch monitor with a full-HD 23-inch screen. The monitor can recognize five fingers touching it at a time. It has HDMI and DVI connectivity, and wide viewing angles. The HP Pavilion 23tm touch monitor will be available Oct. 6 for $349. The HP Envy 23 IPS Monitor will be available in November for $249.

Pete Ellis, a marketer from HP’s display group, said that the cost of these touchscreens has fallen since the arrival of Windows 8, so HP is now able to launch affordable touchscreens on larger displays. On top of that, the touchscreen technology is more reliable and predictable now.

The HP study revealed that the majority of people prefer their touchscreen for a desktop in a low and close position for all touch-related tasks. But the screen should be easy to move wherever the user wants it.

The HP Envy Recline 23 TouchSmart all-in-one PC goes on sale Friday for $1,349.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.