Wednesday, January 06, 2010

HP's TM2 Tablet: Finally Touchable [Tablets]


HP's new TM2 swivelling tablet is an evolution of its surprisingly long-running tablet series, and it's definitely a worthy younger brother to the TouchSmart 600 all-in-one. BumpTop, the new desktop alternative, is a huge step up for the line.

The TM2 is the next-gen version of the TX2, also a 12.1-inch capacitive multitouch swivelling tablet. The TX2 had some issues—it was one of those "just slap a touchscreen on Windows and now it's a tablet" tablets, which never really work that well. HP's TouchSmart software was okay, but was really better for its big brother, the all-in-one. But the TM2 is a huge step in terms of software, not least because Windows 7 is eminently more touchable than Vista or XP. The hardware is a typical bump from the TX2—same sized screen, 9-hour battery life, same chiclet-style keyboard and multitouch trackpad as the Envy line, Core 2 Duo proc and better graphics.

But what's exciting is the "BumpTop" interface. It's essentially a desktop replacement that replicates your documents as well as various "places" that you can toss them—toss a photo into the Facebook icon to upload it, or toss a document into the printer icon to print it. It's intuitive and works well, although it's tricky to use when the screen is flipped up in "laptop" mode rather than down in "tablet" mode. The TM2 also has the new TouchSmart software for things like music, video, Netflix and Hulu, which is good because they've eliminated the optical (DVD) drive. But this is still a Windows 7 tablet—it's best to think of it as a portable version of the TouchSmart all-in-ones. It's a normal computer with some fun touch extras built in.

It'll be available January 7th, starti! ng at $9 50. [HP]