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Meet the first multitouch consumer laptop: HP's TouchSmart tx2

HP releases the first multitouch consumer laptop with the TouchSmart tx2.

Update: I updated the title of this post to include the word "consumer" because the Dell Latitude XT was released last year with N-trig's multitouch functionality. The Latitude XT is an enterprise tablet, which basically means it costs more and provides inferior specs. The baseline Latitude XT costs $1,829 (and that's after a large discount) for a Core Solo processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 40GB hard drive. So, one might say the HP TouchSmart tx2 is the first multitouch tablet you would actually buy with your own money.

HP on Wednesday released the TouchSmart tx2, the first consumer laptop to feature multitouch functionality.

This 12.1-inch convertible tablet provides the iPhone-like ability to scroll, zoom, flick, and drag and drop by using your fingers on the screen. For example, you can scroll up and down by using two fingers on the screen or zoom in and out by using a pinching motion.

How did HP accomplish this feat, when Microsoft won't add multitouch functionality until it releases Windows 7? By partnering with an Israeli company called N-trig. See N-trig's multitouch technology (on a tablet that is not the TouchSmart tx2) in this video:

Aside from its multitouchness, the tx2 looks like a standard convertible tablet with a center hinge that lets you twist the display to switch between notebook mode and slate tablet mode. Pricing starts at a reasonable $1,149. For that price, the TouchSmart tx2 features a 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 CPU, 3GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, integrated ATI HD3200 graphics, and 32-bit Vista Home Premium. Unfortunately, Core 2 Duo processors and discrete graphics are not offered.

Perhaps multitouch functionality will give tablets a bit more consumer appeal. Personally, I've never understood the draw of a tablet outside, perhaps, a few specific occupations that require the use of specific software and where one lacks of a desk--say, insurance agents in the field or a medical professionals moving from one patient to the next. For me, nothing is a more efficient input device than a QWERTY keyboard, along with a mouse or touch pad.

What do you think? Would multitouch capability make you consider purchasing a tablet upon your next notebook purchase? And do you think Steve Jobs wishes Apple and not HP was making this announcement today?