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iPhone: HP gets 'touchy'

Hewlett-Packard's new TouchSmart PC is more likely to popularise touch-based communications than Apple's iPhone, a senior HP executive claimed.

HP TouchSmart PC

Hewlett-Packard's new TouchSmart PC is more likely to popularise "touch-based" communications than Apple's iPhone, a senior HP executive claimed.

In an interview, Ameer Karim, HP's director of Worldwide Product Marketing for Consumer PC and Digital Entertainment, said there was a "cult" surrounding the as-yet unreleased Apple mobile phone.

"Who's going to spend $600 on a phone? We believe we'll be able to deliver more touch devices through TouchSmart PCs than the iPhone," Karim said at the launch of HP's new consumer desktop and notebook range in Seoul, South Korea.

He said he believed MP3 players in phones were impractical because if they were dropped while exercising and listening to music, for example, a customer would lose their only form of communication.

But Karim conceded that "there's going to be a cult following that will buy the iPhone regardless of the price."

Stacy Wolff, director of Mobile Product Design at HP, said that Apple has had a great effect on the PC industry. "We all respect Apple. There is no-one in the industry who doesn't."

Apart from the TouchSmart PC, HP also unveiled the entry-level convertible TX1000 notebook.

The TouchSmart PC uses optical sensors to detect touch input on a 19" LCD screen, and will be available in Australia in April from US$2,499. Local pricing is yet to be announced.

Both the TouchSmart and the TX1000 use the AMD Turion X2 chip instead of the more popular Intel Core Duo. Adrian Koch, senior vice president of HP Personal Systems Group for Asia-Pacific, said this was based on timing, and it was still working with Intel on other products in the new range.

"HP believes in customer choice. We have worked with both companies (Intel and AMD) for a very, very long time. Sometimes this will change for a given time", Koch said.

Other products launched include a Compaq Presario desktop, the HP iPAQ rw6828, and a series of desk-friendly HP Pavillion PCs.

Ty Pendlebury travelled to Seoul as a guest of HP.

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