Archive for June, 2008

The cat’s finally out of the bag – The new HP TouchSmart IQ500 has been announced

June 10, 2008 4:18 pm

The big day is here and gone. The new TouchSmart PC has been announced to great fanfare on the web, and I’m sure there’s more to come. The blogs are full of praise and criticism already, of course. Since I was closely involved with the creation, I’m happy about all the praise and hope that we’ll be able to address the criticism over time (especially regarding the software). In other words: there’s never enough time to get any piece of software 100% smack-dab perfect for everyone’s taste.

I’d like to write a little about things that may not be well known yet. Yes, there is actually limited “dual-touch” in the new software. You can resize the upper row of “tiles” using two fingers. You can scroll using two fingers once you’ve gone into the “Browser”. Due to how the touch screen works you need to make sure your fingers are a certain distance apart to get it to work right. It’s “limited” dual-touch because of the natural laws of time and resource constraints on the development team: we ran out of time to do more.

Oh, and nowhere in the HP TouchSmart software do you need to “double tap”/”double click”. If a single tap doesn’t do it, the touch screen saw too much movement of your finger during the tap and turned it into a move action instead. That’s the challenge with using optical technology that sweeps just above the glass. It sees your finger a little before you actually touch the screen. (Think Vincent Cassell in “Ocean’s Twelve” or Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Entrapment”)

We’ve had feedback from users in the past, asking for tutorials around the software. I’m personally really happy that we managed to put two tutorials on the system for this new incarnation of HP TouchSmart. And they are available right from the lower row of “tiles”. Here’s a small taste of how the tutorials were created:

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As you may be able to see, there’s a lot of work that goes into even such a small thing as creating tutorial videos. I certainly had no idea how involved the process is before I had the chance to help out with the production in a (very) small way. I feel lucky to have worked with and met so many great people. You can find the tutorials here, starting with the basic one in English.

For those of you who read this blog because of the WPF topics I’ve touched on in the past: yes, central parts of the software were created using WPF. I don’t mean to be a fanboy, but I’ve said it in the past, WPF is powerful stuff. The ability to have separate people working on styling the software while other people work on “business logic” is incredibly valuable. At the end you get full visual fidelity of the design for virtually no added work.

Before I close (and this gets much longer), let me put a question out there for software developers. If it were possible to write software that could end up as “tiles” in the TouchSmart software, would that be interesting to you? If not, why not? Don’t take this question as any indication or promise of what the future may hold. I’m just curious about your opinion. Comment away, please.

And for those of you who just stumbled upon this by chance (or dug through the sea of noise out there) and are curious about certain aspects of the new HP TouchSmart PC or the software, I’ll try to answer questions within certain limits in the comments as well.

The rest of this post is mostly a collection of links I gathered on the day of the announcement, with a little added commentary for myself. What a splash!

HP TouchSmart PC gets slick upgrade (Slashgear, Promo pics)

HP TouchSmart- bringing touch to the iMac form (jkOnTheRun, Promo pics)

HP TouchSmart PC gets refreshed, unboxed (Gearlive, unboxing [])

HP’s TouchSmart 2 in the wild (Engadget, Promo pics link)

HP Touchsmart IQ506 Brings New Interface, Bigger Screen (Gizmodo, tutorial video embedded, press blurb)

Preview- HP TouchSmart IQ500 Series PC (Hardwarezone Australia, prototype pics, specs)

HP updates TouchSmart with TouchSmart IQ504 and IQ506 PC (Krunker, promo pics, iMac comparison quote)

HP Touchsmart IQ506 and 504 Touch PC (Techfresh, promo pic)

HP launches TouchSmart all-in-one PCs (TechChee, promo pic)

HP Touchsmart IQ506 and 504 Touch PC (HawtGadgets, promo pic)

HP TouchSmart IQ500 hands on PC (Five.TV, promo pic)

HP Launches new touch-screen PC (, Stage pic, embedded tutorial video, showing the precise touch action needed to avoid accidental “moves”)

HP TouchSmart update tackles iMac, Gateway (electronista, Promo pics) (Promo pic) (HP press release) (MSDN, Promo pics, link to PC Mag article) (HP video site, fingerprints video)

HP Connecting Your World Keynote – Live (Gizmonews, LiveBlog from the Berlin event, lots of stage pics) (Promo pic) (Vanessa Tan, lots of Berlin stage pics, one YouTube video) (Mostly a press release rehash) (Crave, Promo pics) (One promo pic) (Promo pic) (One promo pic) (One promo pic, link to gallery of all HP products launched) (Promo pics) (Small promo pic) (Promo pic, link to ubergizmo gallery of promo pics) (Mostly press release) (Promo pics, seems there’s no original content here) (Promo pics) (no pics, very short),2817,2319417,00.asp (One small promo pic) (One pic) (Picture) (Picture) (Richard Walker demo) (Joan Jett ad) (I could defend the problems you see in this video with operating the touch screen, but I think that would be futile, so I’ll just leave it. Trust me when I say it takes a little getting used to, but it works pretty well after that. We did lots of usability studies on this puppy.) (In Danish) (One promo pic) (Promo pics, good quality video of Richard Walker demoing) (Voodoo, event pics) (Seems to be down temporarily) (Promo pics) (No pics) (No pics, but look at the headline. Wow.) (One promo pic, discussion of software for laptops)

Only a few more days now to the Big Unveiling

June 7, 2008 1:45 pm

Next week Monday through Wednesday there’s an invitation-only event in Berlin, Germany where some of the stuff I’ve been working on (since the HP TouchSmart) will be shown to the public for the first time. I hear it’s going to have top billing on Tuesday.

I’ve noticed that a few bloggers have been invited to the event, which I think is pretty cool. There’s Sierra Modro from gottabemobile and Ian Dixon from thedigitallifestyle.

When you look at the agenda for June 10 on the event page, you’ll get a hint at what will be shown. It’s pretty darn cool, even if I have to say so myself, but I think you’ll agree. I hope the main page will be updated with live videos and such, like it claims. There’s also a blog (by Waggener Edstrom it seems), a Twitter stream and an RSS feed. Seeing all this for the first time as I dig into it, I wonder why there doesn’t seem to be more buzz around this whole thing. Still too buried I guess.

I’m a little sad that I’m not going, but personal plans got in the way. My boss and a colleague are there, though. The breakout session poll is also a little disappointing right now, with the “HP: A Touch Different” session lagging the field at around 15 – 16 %, far behind “The Evolution of the Mobile Lifestyle” with 30%. I don’t think there have been too many votes, though, since my one vote moved the session from 15 to 16 % just now. (Actually, as I’m writing this, the poll for Touch moved to 23%, and now 29%, now 46%, what’s going on there? Maybe someone is gaming it?)

And just for the record, before everyone starts speculating, Microsoft had no involvement whatsoever in what we came up with this time around, for better or worse.

Oh, and I think there’ll be at least one VERY interesting mobile product shown as well (via fredshouse and eBay), but that’s just speculation on my part:

Guess we’ll have to share the stage…