November 20, 2008 There once was a time when screens were purely for viewing - not anymore. The rise of multi-touch technology has delivered far more intuitive and creative ways to interact with and manipulate content, so if it works for pocket-sized devices like the iPhone, why not a notebook? HP has claimed an industry first with its new TouchSmart tx2, a convertible notebook PC featuring capacitive multi-touch technology that allows the mouse touchpad to be by-passed in favor of simultaneous input from more than one finger with gestures such as pinch, rotate, arc, flick and drag.

The convertible design has a central hinge which swivels through 180 degrees allowing it to be used in three modes - PC, display and tablet. As well as facilitating fingertip control, the tx2 includes a rechargeable digital ink pen and handwriting recognition software for direct onscreen text input.

Powered by an AMD Turion Dual-Core processor and running on Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1, the 4.5 pound unit has a mercury-free 12.1-inch diagonal BrightView LED display with a built in "swipe" fingerprint reader on the right side of the screen plus an integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, webcam, a 5-in-1 media reader and Altec Lansing stereo speakers.

Multi-touch input and simplified access to digital content is made possible by the company's MediaSmart software which includes an Internet TV module that will provide access to 10 television channels via a partnership with MTV Networks.

It's interesting to note that touch technology has been in development at HP for some time, with a history that stretches back to 1983 and the introduction of the HP-150 touch screen PC.

The HP TouchSmart tx2 is available in a number of configurations (including a choice between AMD Turion™ X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile Processor or AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor) with pricing starting at USD$1,149. (4) More information about the tx2 is available at