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

Oct 15, 2009 By Brier Dudley
HP DreamScreen.

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

A 10-inch diagonal DreamScreen (hp.com/go/dreamscreen) lists for $250 and a 13-incher is $299.

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

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.

DreamScreen 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 similar 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
___

(c) 2009, The Seattle Times.
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