HP launches new, much cheaper TouchSmart

HP has announced the latest refresh to its successful line of all-in-one touchscreen computers this morning, with a $699 price tag that makes it the cheapest model to date, by far.

The TouchSmart brand has been around since the mid-2000s but to date has remained one of HP’s highest-end product lines. The feature-packed touch-enabled computers have generally sold for over $1,500.

HP may be reaching economies of scale with these once-niche units, though. That’s evidenced by the fact that the TouchSmart 310 will cost just $699. But it’s also showcased by a complete software redesign for the computer’s touchscreen applications.

HP has rebuilt its TouchSmart software for the 310 model, making it easier to organize and play back media from the touchscreen, as well as adding enhanced everyday computer applications as well. When the first TouchSmart computer debuted, its touchscreen technology was more of a novelty than anything else. Since then, gadgets like the iPad have made touch more relevant and important than ever, and have shown everyone that it can be a powerful computing tool.

Also added with the new TouchSmart announcement is a deal between HP and Disney to offer digital Marvel comics. TouchSmart users will now be able to stream special versions of classic comics, and then literally thumb through them with on-screen controls. More than 8,000 Marvel titles are available, which HP says is the most extensive digital collection ever offered from any content partner.

HP is also launching a new “app store” interface for touchscreen programs and games, making it easier for developers and consumers to take advantage of the PC’s touch capabilities.

Existing TouchSmart users will also have access to this and the other enhancements being made for the 310, with the release of a sweeping software upgrade. TouchSmart 4.0 will be downloadable for anyone who owns a legacy TouchSmart computer from HP.