Tag Archives | Touch

HPs New Slant on Touch-Screen Computing

Everyone talks about touch-screen PCs–if only to knock them–but HP, with its TouchSmarts, is one of the few companies to have devoted much thought to making touch work. Its latest TouchSmarts, announced this week, feature a small change which could have a big impact on usability: Their stands can now fold backwards, letting you use the display in traditional upright orientation or push it down to a sixty-degree angle for easier pointing that doesn’t make you stretch your arm as much. (As Cult of Mac’s John Brownlee notes, the design looks a lot like one shown in an Apple patent.) The machine is shown here with the keyboard, but I think that nudging the display down will make most sense for uses that let you move the keyboard out of the way and interact with the PC purely through touch–to browse photos, for instance, or to listen to music.

The TouchSmarts continue to run an ambitious new version of HP’s software that was introduced last fall: With an interface customized for fingers, a desktop, and a bunch of apps, it’s the touch-centric take on Windows 7 which Microsoft probably should have built itself but never has.

The TouchSmart 610 has a 23-inch display, sports Intel Core 5 and 7 processors, and starts at $899.99; HP says it’ll be available on Wednesday. A version aimed at businesses, the TouchSmart 9300 Business PC, will pack second-generation Core processors and will have an SSD option; it’ll be available in May at a price to be announced.

Am I tempted by the TouchSmarts? Nope. For one thing, I don’t think I’ll ever buy a desktop again, even an unconventional one. For another, I’m perfectly happy with a keyboard and touchpad. Still, I’m glad to see HP put effort into the idea rather than simply slapping a touchscreen on an otherwise garden-variety computer running unmodified Windows.

One comment

A Few Questions About Touch-Screen iMacs

A couple of years ago, I took advantage of the Q&A session at an Apple press event to ask Steve Jobs if Apple might release touch-screen Macs. (I did so on behalf of a Technologizer community member.) Jobs told me that the company had experimented with the idea and didn’t think it made sense just yet. At the time, I noted that this answer didn’t preclude the possibility of touch-screen Macs–it was pretty much the stock response that he always gives about potential Apple products, right up until the moment that the company releases the item in question.

Now DigiTimes is reporting apparent concrete evidence of a touch Mac that might not be all that far from release: Apple is supposedly testing touch-screen panels for new iMacs.

Continue Reading →


A Concept Phone Worth Keeping an Eye On

Synaptics, which makes a significant percentage of the world’s touchscreens and even more of its laptop touchpads, has announced Fuse, a platform and concept phone that aims to help figure out what next-generation smartphones might look and feel like.

It’s a joint venture with chipmaker Texas Instruments, interface designers TheAlloy and TAT, and haptic-feedback technology provider Immersion.  And it combines multiple interesting touches, both familiar (multi-touch) and new (my favorite: You can swipe your finger around on the back of the phone to control the interface).

PCMag.com’s Sascha Segan did a nice video explainer on the phone’s features, which I’ll borrow right here (here’s his story).

I haven’t laid eyes or hands on the Fuse yet, and every smartphone on the market today–good or bad–proves that pleasing experiences are about 90 percent integration and execution and only ten percent cool technology. But I’m looking forward to seeing it in person, and seeing the ideas it contains turn into features in shipping phones. Synaptics says it’ll demo its concept version at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show; look for phones based on it to show up starting in mid-2010.

One comment

Would You Buy a Touch PC?

Touch PCI’ve guestblogged again at WePC.com–this time about touchscreen PCs, which are apparently a trend that’s set to explode (or try to, anyhow) once Windows 7 ships. I think that Windows 7 will help–it’s the first version of Windows with built-in support for touch input–but that a lot more has to happen before touch computers have a shot at being a hit rather than a fad. Check out my thoughts and let the WePC.com community know what, if anything, would convince you to buy a touch-enabled PC.

While you’re there, you might want to investigate the WePC.com contest. The site’s giving away gaming PCs, laptops, and netbooks to folks who provide the most insightful answers to questions  (or who are just lucky enough to win in regular drawings).