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HP Unveils TouchSmart IQ800 PC

HP Unveils TouchSmart IQ800 PC

Hewlett-Packard has been working on trying to re-imagine the PC so it fits better into everyday life: sure, there will always be people who need notebook PCs, there will always be video nuts or programmers who need serious desktop power, and even netbooks (maybe) have their place. But none of those systems really excel in, say, kitchens, dens, or living rooms, where they need to look good, they need to be able to quickly tap into news, calendars, photos, media, and other family stuff…and be usable when you’re just walking past.

To that end, HP has introduced a new system in its TouchSmart line of large, touchscreen-enabled PCs, the TouchSmart IQ800—and it aims to ramp up the line’s media capabilities as well as everyday functionality. The IQ800 features a 25.5-inch touchscreen display running at a native 1,900 by 1,200 pixel resolution, and also packs in a Blu-ray drive, TV tuner, and an optional wall mount. Also under the hood: an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia GeForce 9600 GS HD graphics. The IQ800 also sports a sleek piano black case with silver highlights designed to work in almost any decor.

“Not only does the IQ800 enable a revolution in accessing photos, music, and videos, it opens up a whole new world of interactivity,” said HP Personal Systems’ VP for consumer products Achim Kuttler, in a statement. “For any entertainment enthusiast looking for a new and unique immersive computing experience, the IQ800 is like magic at their fingertips.”

The IQ800 also features an integrated Pocket Media Drive bay for adding additional storage, an integrated Web cam and microphone, along with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and four integrated speakers. And, of course, there’s the unit’s signature touchscreen, which offers HP’s TouchSmart software to let users perform everyday tasks with just a flick of the finger, rather than having to park in front of a keyboard and mouse (which are also included). Users can organize photos, playlists, and videos.

The downside? HP hasn’t said when (or if) it’s bringing the IQ800 to the United States. However, the company does plan to roll out the IQ800 in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and the Middle East for an estimated price of €1,899 (about $2,700) beginning in November.

[Update: Oops, no. HP plans top introduce its TouchSmart IQ804 and IQ816 PCs in the United States. The IQ804 should be available September 21 for a suggested retail price of $1,899, while the IQ816 should land October 12 for a suggested price of $2,099.]