Apple has enjoyed a good run as the innovator with multi-touch displays on its iPhones. But multi-touch is a fundamental technology that any computer maker can use. And we can expect that there will be a lot more of it to come.

Hewlett-Packard is announcing today a convertible notebook PC with multi-touch technology for consumers. The new laptop builds on the touch-screens that HP included in its TouchSmart desktop PCs. Now the HP TouchSmart tx2 goes a step further in delivering computing at your fingertips.

The laptop includes an enhanced HP MediaSmart digital entertainment software suite. This user interface shell on top of Windows allows tx2 users to more naturally select, organize and manipulate digital files. You can use two fingers to make on-screen windows bigger or smaller. You can also use gestures such as pinch, rotate, arc, flick, press, drag, and tap once or tap twice. All of these acts are already familiar to iPhone users. You can open photos, music, videos or web pages without ever touching the keyboard or mouse.

While HP only had to check out Apple’s designs for pointers, the company says the tx2 is the result of 25 years of experience in dealing with touch technology, including the 1983 introduction of the HP-150. The laptop gives you the option to use a mouse or keyboard if you want.

The new laptop can operate in PC, display or tablet modes. With the tablet, a user can write with a rechargeable digital ink pen. It weighs less than 4.5 pounds, has a 12.1-inch diagonal display and some fancy HP “imprint reaction” doodles on its case. To show off the machine, HP has expanded a deal with MTV Networks to include video content from 10 TV channels and online brands within MediaSmart’s TV module.

The machine uses an AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile Processor or an AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor. It comes with the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system. The machine is available at www.hpdirect.com today starting at $1,149.


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