HP TouchSmart, a good pilothouse PC?
The product image may be a little fruity—HP calls it the “perfect kitchen computer”—but I think this TouchSmart IQ770 might make one heck of a boat computer. That’s a 19” “BrightView” 1,440 x 900 pixel touchscreen display that responds to finger or stylus. I’ve tried navigating on tablet computers and think that while a stylus is fine for planning it’s not so great for underway work, especially if you get your hands on (sorry!) a navigation program truly designed for finger commands.
I understand that many tablets will soon get direct finger control—the possibility is built into Vista—but still with a tablet you need to come up with some solid mounting device for a pilothouse. This puppy is some 17 pounds with much of the weight in the base, so it shouldn’t be too hard to secure it somewhere in a pilot house. It also comes with wireless keyboard and mouse, a built-in web cam and surround sound, and an incredible amount of connectivity, including a HD TV tuner and FM radio. It’s also supposed to be quiet and power efficient, and a number of reviewers liked it. A week or so ago I e-mailed HP asking to test one myself , but, um, have not received a response. Amazon’s got it for about $1,550; who’s going to try it on their boat?
PS 9/11: I tried to make a better case for finger-touch screens in today’s entry. Also, I too appreciate how gorgeous iMacs are, but they don’t have any sort of touch interface (yet).