[Update 2010-09-22: A few more unique mentions have come in; see links and quotes below marked [Update] ]
Only a little vanity post; a collection of links to stories and other potentially interesting tidbits.
These were some of the first mentions of the HP TouchSmart 310 with HP TouchSmart 4.0 software, unveiled on September 20, 2010.
Most of these have no real reviews yet, they just “wordsmith” the press release or other people’s “wordsmithing”. But that won’t stop me from highlighting “good stuff”.
The new case is graceful enough, and the $699 starting price for its low-end AMD CPU and 20-inch display is fair, but the biggest news for this new all-in-one may lie in its software. [My emphasis]
First, HP has tweaked the main TouchSmart software interface to streamline the way you access and organize media and applications using touch. In addition to organizing applications in a carousel layout, now you can also "pin" apps and individual media files to a more dynamic background featuring various parallax-animated environments. HP says this design lets you organize your touch software in a more natural manner, akin to how you might organize a desk.
In addition to the new background, HP has also updated the specific touch applications to the TouchSmart suite, most impressively with a new Marvel Comics streaming service, from which you can buy touch versions of more than 8,000 titles from the Marvel library. That number dwarfs the 500 Marvel titles available from Apple’s iPad application. The Marvel app and the entire TouchSmart suite, dubbed TouchSmart 4.0, will also be available for download by owners of current TouchSmart all-in-ones.
The latest software transforms a user’s boring Windows desktop into a “magic canvas,” which appears to be an overlay on top of the computer screen. You swipe your hand across the display to move the transparent overlay. You can drag applications, music, photos, videos and other web content directly onto the overlay. HP refers to these objects as “magnets” since they are just like the magnets you put on your refrigerator with notes attached to them. You can pick multilayered wallpapers to bring the illusion of 3D depth perception to a screen. You can also browse through material via the carousel at the bottom of the screen — all with the touch of a finger.
You can use existing TouchSmart apps such as Twitter, Hulu, Netflix, Recipe Box and the HP Music Store powered by Rhapsody. All of those apps can be started and used via finger taps on the touchscreen. You can use the webcam to film a personalized video message and post it directly to your friend’s Facebook wall.
The HP TouchSmart Apps Center has a small collection of apps available now. You can access them via a TouchSmart Carousel. Some of the apps contain a lot of content, such as the Marvel Comics app and the Cartoon Network app. The Marvel app gives you access to more than 8,000 comics. You can tap on them and read them page by page on a a beautiful high-definition display. The Cartoon Network app offers news updates on shows and characters.
PC Magazine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369352,00.asp
The TouchSmart interface is much more advanced than the competition, including Sony, MSI, and Gateway.
HP has rebuilt its TouchSmart software for the 310 model, making it easier to organize and play back media from the touchscreen, as well as adding enhanced everyday computer applications as well. When the first TouchSmart computer debuted, its touchscreen technology was more of a novelty than anything else. Since then, gadgets like the iPad have made touch more relevant and important than ever, and have shown everyone that it can be a powerful computing tool.
Also added with the new TouchSmart announcement is a deal between HP and Disney to offer digital Marvel comics. TouchSmart users will now be able to stream special versions of classic comics, and then literally thumb through them with on-screen controls. More than 8,000 Marvel titles are available, which HP says is the most extensive digital collection ever offered from any content partner.
Existing TouchSmart users will also have access to this and the other enhancements being made for the 310, with the release of a sweeping software upgrade. TouchSmart 4.0 will be downloadable for anyone who owns a legacy TouchSmart computer from HP.
Financial Times: http://blogs.ft.com/techblog/2010/09/touchsmart/
Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/20/hp-announces-touchsmart-310-and-omni100-all-in-one-pcs/ [Love all the trolling and spewing of prejudices on this one…]
The Touchsmart’s UI is much more fluid and touch applications are no longer required to run in full screen, offering a little breathing room.The Touchsmart’s UI is much more fluid and touch applications are no longer required to run in full screen, offering a little breathing room.
The new revision of the software looks like a big improvement compared to what’s on my TouchSmart 600xt, which my wife and I use as our bedroom PC.
HP has what appears to be an ingenious solution. After a program is launched, a couple of fingers swivelling across the screen automatically shrink the application into a cube and paste it onto the TouchSmart’s background. The background itself can then be scrolled through, just by touching it anywhere on the screen.
One really cool aspect of engineering the software like this is the parallax effect that HP added to the wallpaper. As you scroll through the desktop, items in the foreground move at a different rate relative to items in the background.
While we didn’t see it demonstrated, an HP rep also mentioned that the TouchSmart will ship with software to generate these movable backgrounds with pictures that customers take. The effect won’t be as strong as the ones included by HP, but being able to customize it even that much is a nice bonus.
To couple the new hardware, HP is revving their TouchSmart software to offer a number of new capabilities. They’re saying that with it, the desktop transforms into a “Magic Canvas” where users can easily drag apps, and content – even web content – directly onto the desktop. There’s also a new multi-layer wallpaper that gives the machine a lot of depth. I haven’t had a chance to work with these new features directly, but I have seen a demo and it looks really nice.
A little promo video of the new TouchSmart 4.0 software:
Product Marketing Manager Ken Bosley presenting the TouchSmart 4.0 software on YouTube:
The HP Video channel with tutorials:
TouchSmart 4.0 SDK: http://www.touchsmartdevzone.com/download/3369/HP-TouchSmart-SDK-4.0-English/
And I may have some details to add myself if and when I find the time…