I got the opportunity to play with the new HP Touchsmart IQ504 when I was in Berlin and took some videos of people interacting with the system. It was definitely the hit of the show. Everyone wanted to touch it, and once they touched, they stayed and played.
With the Touchsmart, HP has taken simplicity to a new level. When I think about why I love my iPhone, one major reason is that it does exactly what I expect it to do and does it well. The Touchsmart subscribes to that same philosophy. HP wrote a custom interface that lives on top of Windows Vista, and that interface just works flawlessly. And it’s totally intuitive. It’s nearly impossible to convey an “aha” moment through words, but when I was using the Touchsmart, I felt like it was a very useful system that I could see being a household staple in 10-15 years, like the microwave or the TV.
In my opinion, the Touchsmart is unlikely to be the only computer in any household. It’s designed to be a central repository for family communications – from electronic “sticky notes” left for other family members to playing music and viewing photos, this is designed to be in the main hub of the home not in the den. It has much more of an “appliance” kind of mentality. This is not a system where I expect people would sit down and write the Great American Novel, although the specs are definitely beefy enough to do that and much more. It’s more likely where you look up a recipe online or show photos to a visitor.
Would I buy one? Seriously considering it. At $1250 on special from HP, it’s a great deal. It could replace many of the systems I have scattered around my living room and kitchen. (Yes, I do have many systems scattered around.) It has a simplified browser that is ideal for touch as well as all of the other applications that I typically use when I’m not on my “main” Tablet PC. I was far more impressed with it than I anticipated based on seeing pictures and reading specs. It’s another case where you just have to touch it and find out for yourself. It uses many gestures familiar to iPhone users and it does support at least 2 finger multi-touch as you’ll see with the photo editing.
A real, honest-to-goodness TV commercial for a touch based product. (50 sec)
Warning: the video was shot in the showcase and the audio is pretty noisy. The video is about 2 minutes long.