Forget the Apple tablet, HP's TouchSmart tm2 is already here

The product that started life as the HP tx1000 is now called the TouchSmart tm2, and it is one of the only convertible tablet laptops aimed at mainstream entertainment consumers.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman

With all the hype around Apple's still-mythical tablet, it's easy to forget that HP has been making a 12-inch consumer tablet for several years.

In fact, the product that started life as the HP tx1000, and is now called the TouchSmart tm2, is one of the only convertible tablet laptops aimed at mainstream entertainment consumers; most tablets are intended for medical, educational, or other specialized markets.

While convertible tablet laptops, which have screens that rotate 180 degrees to fold down over their keyboards, have never been a mainstream product, there's a certain appeal to using the multitouch touch-screen features, and carrying them around in your arm like an oversize Kindle.

HP's TouchSmart tm2

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In our anecdotal hands-on use, the tm2 screen was not as fast and responsive as, say, an iPhone or iPod Touch screen, and the cursor dragged just slightly behind our fingers. That said, the option to use a finger or digital pen is a nice one, and there's a custom touch interface you can launch from a button on the side of the display. That custom interface gives you access to touch-friendly photo galleries, as well as Web-based apps such as Hulu and Twitter.

With a standard Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, optional discrete ATI graphics, and Windows 7, it's also a easy to speculate that the tm2 will be more powerful and easier to adapt to traditional computing tasks than Apple's tablet.

The HP TouchSmart tm2 will be available January 7, starting at $949.