updated 12:00 am EST, Wed November 19, 2008
HP TouchSmart tx2
HP today became the first PC maker to incorporate a multi-touch display in a home-focused notebook with the TouchSmart tx2. Stylistically similar to the tx2500 series convertible tablets, the new model now accepts two-finger gestures to pinch, rotate and otherwise control media both in the MediaSmart front-end (which also makes its first notebook appearance) and in general apps such as the Office suite. Users can drag objects or flick to scroll quickly, and still have the option of falling back to a stylus for handwriting or more precise actions.
The system also represents a cosmetic and minor performance upgrade to the earlier tablet, starting with a change from the conservative silver and black to a new "Reaction" imprint across the entire surface. Processor choices remain largely the same and scale from a 2GHz Athlon X2 dual-core processor up to a 2.4GHz Turion X2, but systems now have the option of up to 8GB of DDR2 memory and new options for 400GB and 500GB hard drives.
Other existing media features are unchanged and include a relatively quick Radeon HD 3200 for integrated graphics, a miniature ExpressCard/34 media remote and a built-in webcam. Wi-Fi remains locked at 802.11g in standard trim but can optionally move up to 802.11n.
HP gives a stock configuration a 2.1GHz Turion X2, 3GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $1,149 and expects orders taken today to only ship by early December.
While largely a conversion of an existing computer, the tx2 is a symbolic victory for HP, which will beat Windows 7 to adding multi-touch in a mainstream computer's screen and also outpaces Apple. The latter was one of the first to offer a mainstream multi-touch product in the iPhone but at present only allows indirect multi-touch through the trackpads of its current MacBooks.