There’s an Apple iMac sitting in my kitchen. I actually bought it for my wife as a birthday present last year so that she could easily edit the home movies she took of our daughter, but it has become a bit of a handy workstation over the months. Having the iMac always there in sleep mode makes it a very handy tool if you just want to look something up, or if my wife wants to quickly check her email or send a message to someone. I was pretty convinced that the iMac was the ultimate general computer for the home, that was until I caught a glimpse of HP’s TouchSmart IQ770.
The TouchSmart PC sports a 19in widescreen display, with a high contrast glossy coating. Also, as the name suggests, the screen is touch sensitive. I’m a big fan of touch screens, especially for something like a family PC, where you might be just walking past and remember that you needed to do something. But the TouchSmart takes this concept to another level, with some very innovative software from HP.
The main screen on the TouchSmart is like a configurable message board. You can decide what information is displayed – you can have a calendar, the weather forecast, you’re music library etc. It’s all very similar to the widgets that Apple introduced with Tiger, but there is one very cool feature that appealed greatly to me – a virtual Post-It note. With just the use of your index finger, you can create a sticky note, write a message on it, the paste it to the main screen of the TouchSmart.
You can even write a note and then drag it to a specific day in the calendar, then when that day arrives your note will be posted on the main screen. Of course the TouchSmart will go into standby when not in use, but a light will flash to indicate that there is a new message that needs reading, just like a voicemail indicator on a phone.