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Touch-enabled Rhapsody on HP TouchSmart PCs

The latest update to HP's TouchSmart PCs will come with a touch-enabled version of Rhapsody.

Microsoft is banking on multitouch support as one selling point for Windows 7, and HP--traditionally a loyal supporter of Microsoft's consumer strategy--is helping the push by releasing an update to its TouchScreen PCs.

The touch-enabled version of Rhapsody for HP's TouchSmart PCs lets you search by writing an artist's name on the screen.

HP has worked with several partners to create touch-enabled versions of various consumer entertainment apps, including Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora Internet Radio, but hard-core music fans will probably be most interested in the touch-enabled version of Rhapsody.

Among the cool features: you'll be able to write the name of an artist directly on the screen, and Rhapsody will take you to that artist's page so you can begin listening to their songs. (Check out the video demo on RealNetworks' blog.)

More generally, Rhapsody remains one of my favorite subscription-based services, with a great selection and strong editorial content. While my other favorite, Microsoft's Zune Pass, offers a slightly better deal with 10 free downloads per month in addition to unlimited streaming, Rhapsody works with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The Zune Pass does not.

Unfortunately, the TouchScreen only comes with a 14-day free trial, which seems a bit paltry: earlier this month Dell announced it would ship some new consumer laptops with a one-year free subscription to Napster, which includes the right to download 60 permanent files over the course of the year.