updated 07:45 am EST, Mon February 7, 2011
HP TouchSmart 610 and 9300 boast reclining touch
HP unveiled a pair of TouchSmart PCs that should be the first computers to address Apple's complaints about fatiguing desktop touch. The TouchSmart 610 and its business-focused 9300 sibling have a reclining screen that slides down as far as 60 degrees. Making the switch gives the all-in-ones a natural, tablet-like interface for using touch apps for hours without tiring one's arm and still having the option of an upright display.
Either TouchSmart uses a 23-inch, 1080p display and get an unusual emphasis on sound with the Beats audio processing from notebooks and towers. Software also gets a new spin through LinkUp, an app that lets users share apps between a desktop and a notebook.
The 610 starts off with a 3.2GHz Core i3, 4GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and Intel's integrated video. A higher-end version moves to a similarly clocked Core i5 as well as 6GB of memory and a 1TB disk. The 9300 is tailored to business and has options to help wall mount it, turn it into a kiosk or otherwise make it ready for the public. HP hasn't given it a minimum specification, but it will scale from Core i3 to i7 chips and have options for alternate operating systems, a 160GB SSD and as much as 16GB of RAM.
HP is shipping the TouchSmart 610 on February 9 with a base price of $900, but the 9300 won't be ready until sometime in May with pricing set closer to the release date. The 9300's delay is owed partly to the Sandy Bridge chipset flaw that degrades the performance of SATA; Intel already has a fix but will take the next two months to restore production.
The release could be significant as one of the first attempts to fully integrated touch into the desktop. HP had been one of the earliest adoptees of touchscreen on the desktop and has had enough success with the TouchSmart line to continue it for years, but it has never become the dominant desktop in the company's line and has sometimes been criticized for having limited utility. Apple had objected to touchscreens outside of phones and tablets as it has argued touch needs to be horizontal, not vertical. Its solution so far has been to add multi-touch to traditional controllers, such as its notebook trackpads, the Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad.
MSI technically beat HP to showing the same reclining touch design in its Butterfly concept but hasn't committed to a shipping PC.