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New computers for Windows 7

October 20, 2009 |  7:00 am

The TouchSmart tx2 is a tablet computer with a screen that swivels and folds down flat. Credit: Hewlett-Packard
When Microsoft officially unveils its Windows 7 operating system (see our review here) Thursday, the company is supposed to also announce several new computers designed to run the new OS.

But some computer manufacturers have jumped the gun, already disclosing information about their new models, a few of which are designed to use Win7's touch-screen features.

Hewlett-Packard has announced four new consumer products, all of which have touch screens. At the low end is the TouchSmart 300, an all-in-one desktop with a 20-inch screen that will sell for about $900 and up.

The TouchSmart 600, an all-in-one that will sell for about $1,100, will sport a 23-inch screen. A version that will sell for about $1,600 will be able to show video at 1080p resolution.

The TouchSmart tx2 is a tablet computer with a screen that folds down flat over the unit screen side up. It will start at about $800.

Finally, the LD4200tm is a 42-inch touch screen monitor for those who want the PC version of big screen. It will go for about $2,800.

For the budget-minded, HP's bargain line, Compaq (which used to be a high-end brand in its own right) will have the CQ61z laptop with a 15-inch screen (non-touch) at $399. That's what you'd pay for a much smaller netbook computer. But the Compaq price is temporary -- after Dec. 19 it jumps to $499.

Toshiba will have two new Satellite-branded laptops with touch screens. Its M505 with a 14-inch screen will go for about $950, while the U505 with a 13-inch screen will be about $1,050. So why will the laptop with the smaller screen be more expensive? One of the primary reasons is that the case will sport a "textured" finish.

-- David Colker