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Hewlett-Packard Takes Swipe at Apple

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) fired a shot across the bow of rival Apple (AAPL - Get Report) Wednesday with the launch of its first touch-screen notebook, claiming to offer consumers a completely new way to access their data.

H-P's TouchSmart tx2 uses fingertip-controlled touch-screen technology more typically associated with Apple's iPhone. In a clear attempt to tap into the youth market, H-P is claiming that fingertip screen controls offer users an easier way to interact with their PCs.

"Breezing through Web sites and enjoying photos or video at the tap, whisk, or flick of a finger is an entirely new way to enjoy digital content on a notebook PC," said Ted Clark, senior vice president of H-P's personal systems group, in a statement.

H-P has also developed a "convertible" display for the tx2, which lets users rotate its screen and use the notebook like a tablet PC. For less adventurous users, the tx2 also offers a traditional keyboard and mouse.

Rival Dell (DELL - Get Report) already offers touch-screen technology on its Latitude XT tablet PC, although H-P is touting the tx2 as the first product of its type aimed specifically at consumers.

For months, the media has also been buzzing with rumors that Apple was planning a touch-screen version of its own notebook products. Apple already offers a small fingertip-controlled trackpad on some of its MacBooks, but does not yet offer a touch-screen display similar to the tx2.

At least one analyst feels that H-P is attempting to gain first-mover advantage with the launch of the tx2.

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