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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 17, 2009 at 12:09 PM

HP’s new touch Tablet: Windows 7 ultimate remote?

Hewlett-Packard announced today a new wireless, touchscreen tablet that’s a cross between a wireless photo frame and a super duper remote control.

A 10-inch diagonal model lists for $250 and a 13-incher is $299.

DreamScreenA.JPG

It looks like a great accessory for Windows 7 PCs, if its streaming features work with the new Windows Media Player.

I wonder if the tablet could work as an a/v device, similar to the Sonos and Logitech Squeezebox, to stream music from a home network to a stereo receiver (although it only has a headphone audio output connection) or control music on a PC linked somehow to a stereo.

In addition to handling music, the DreamScreen plays videos, displays photos and streams Facebook updates.

Persistent rumors suggest Apple may introduce a similar device early next year, although I’d bet Apple’s will have more computing power, so it can run iTunes and apps.

DreamScreens devices are pretty close to the Mira hardware concept that Microsoft briefly pushed in 2002, but it makes more sense now that wireless home networks are more common and the hardware cost has fallen below $300.

Microsoft has worked on a variety of lightweight devices to display information from a PC and information services, and smaller companies like Chumby have tried selling gadgets that display widgets similiar to those on a PC desktop.

Yet the closest thing to a hit in the category has the digital photo frame, which generally has sub-par software.

Here are the DreamScreen specs:

Display: Widescreen (10.2″) 15:9 aspect ratio

Display Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels

Built-in memory: 2GB (1.5GB approximate available space)

I/O: USB Port, Memory Card Reader, Headphone output

Memory Cards Supported: Compact Flash® I/II + Micro Drive + Secure Digital/Secure

Digital High Capacity + Memory Stick™ & Memory Stick Pro™ + xD Picture Card™

Audio: Built-in high-fidelity speakers

Networking: 10/100 LAN & Wireless 802.11 b/g

Media Files Supported:

Video File Formats: MPEG 1, 2, 4, H.264

Photo File Formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP

Audio File Formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV

Comments | Topics: dreamscreen, Gadgets & products, HP

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