Can Touch-Screen Make HP the Family PC?

Not really. Its built-in printer and TV tuners keep the TouchSmart PC too expensive for families.

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The TouchSmart is an all-in-one PC.
The TouchSmart is an all-in-one PC.

Hewlett-Packard announced a horde of new computers today, including updates to its TouchSmart PC. The original TouchSmart in early 2007 was the first potentially mainstream desktop that I'd seen with a touch-screen, an innovation that makes sense as a hub for household planning.

I haven't seen sales numbers, but I've not run across the TouchSmart in any kitchen I've visited. That's too bad, because I think an electronic concierge could help a busy family. It'd be a place for the calendar, recipes, notes, and to-do lists. The standard mix of paper, stickies, and computers makes for confusion in most households.

The touch-screen is attractive for making quick pecks for info on a PC in the kitchen, where I'd want the family hub. And maybe HP has improved the original TouchSmart software, which was promising but too limited. It couldn't, for example, easily share data with other programs.

But HP seems determined to sell a high-dollar computer that does too much, including sell HP inks with the built-in photo printer. The first model sold at the stratospheric price of $1,800.

The new models start at $1,300. That's still too expensive. Strip out the printer and the TV tuners, and get the price under $1,000. A price of even $700 or $800 seems a reasonable premium for the TouchSmart features. Then maybe it'd go mainstream.


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