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HP’s Kitchen PC, Light Laptop At CES

Hewlett-Packard will attempt to replace the refrigerator as a home’s primary message center with the introduction of the TouchSmart PC.

The company is also unveiling its first thin and light notebook computer and a home server at the show.

Shipping later this month in conjunction with the availability of the computer’s Microsoft’s Vista operating system, the TouchSmart is an all-in-one PC design centered on a 19W-inch touchscreen that is intended to act as a family’s bulletin board through the use of a new, HP designed application called SmartCenter. The display is height adjustable and the unit has docking cradle in the rear to hold an optional HP photo printer. The display has a special protective glass coating that can be cleaned with standard glass cleaner, Kelly said, which is useful because touchscreens usually get covered with fingerprints.

The proprietary SmartCenter software will be available only on the TouchSmart PC, said Maureen Kelly, HP TouchSmart PC marketing manager. SmartCenter is the heart and soul of the TouchSmart containing the notes, calendar and photo applications all of which are designed to keep a family’s life organized. The notes and calendar can be updated using the wireless keyboard, stylus or their fingers, said Kelly. The notes look like real stick notes since the software directly captures the users’ handwriting as an image and are then stuck onto the desktop. The calendar resides on the right side of the screen and gives a visual warning when an event is approaching. A note with a date or time written on it is not automatically ported to the calendar, but it can be dragged and attached to a specific date, Kelly said. There is also a voice message option.

The TouchSmart will cost between $1,799 and $1,899 when it ships on Jan. 30. It runs on an AMD dual core processor, has a 360GB hard drive and an NVIDIA graphics solution. In order to reduce wire management issues it has internal 802.11b/a/g Wi-Fi and it features NTSC and ATSC tuners so it can be connected to a cable or satellite system replace a kitchen’s TV. The PC comes with a full remote control and since it is a Vista device, there is full PVR functionality, said Kelly. There is a slot on the PC’s side for a removable hard drive and HP left room in the design for a cable card to be installed in a future generation of the device.

The Pavilion tx1000 is HP’s first attempt at a thin and light notebook computer, said Kevin Wentzel, HP’s technical marketing manager, mobility. The unit will ship on Jan. 30 in conjunction with its Windows Vista operating system and will be priced between $1,099 and $1,499 depending upon configuration.

The unit weighs around 4 pounds depending upon its configuration. It features a 12.1-inch display mounted on a swivel 180 degrees allowing the device to be used as a traditional notebook or as a Tablet PC. The touch screen helps differentiate the unit from other Tablet PCs because it can be accessed via stylus or with a finger. The screen can capture handwriting and convert it to text with an application available with the Vista operating system.

Consumers can configure the tx1000 with a variety of AMD dual core processors, hard drives up to 160GB in capacity, S-Video, three USB 2.0 ports and a webcam option. It has an optional TV tuner and PVR functionality, a fingerprint reader and HP has partnered with Verizon to give the unit wide area network capability.