When selecting products for review, we're always trying to strike the right balance between bread-and-butter and experimental products. We know you're more likely to buy the former, but the latter can give us an intriguing glimpse of the future – who knows, a few years from now we might be wondering how we ever managed without them.
This article appears in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.
This month, we have a number of these futuristic enigmas competing for your attention, from the PlayStation 3, Sony's next-generation games console and Blu-ray player, to Buffalo's LinkTheater media kit, which seamlessly links your PC, stereo equipment and TV.
But the most exciting of all are the touchscreen products HP has unveiled. And not just because these are perfect examples of what can be done with technology, but because they show us the way in which PCs – and the way we use them – will evolve in the coming years. The very first home computers came with keyboards, and it didn't take long for the trusty mouse to become a compulsory purchase with each system.
The concept of a PC without a keyboard and mouse now seems rather hard to grasp, but future generations may come to see these peripherals as rudimentary tools – used because we didn't know any better.
With HP's new products you no longer have to drag your mouse to the correct point on the screen or press the correct combination of keys to get the PC to work. If you want to play a DVD, simply tap the appropriate 'button' on the screen. If you want to leave a message for a member of the family, pull out the stylus and scribble it on the screen. And if it's a note about an important appointment, drag the note into the calendar with your hand.
HP may be first to market, but we'll soon see other major manufacturers implementing touchscreen technology. The concept currently works at a fairly basic level, but the technology will get better and more wide-reaching as more companies experiment with it.
Wireless networks and media servers already link up all the rooms in our homes in ways we wouldn't have considered a few years ago; introduce interactive products such as HP's TouchSmart IQ770 and the