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HP Developing Hybrid Tablet PC / Coffee Table 187

StrongGlad writes "HP has been working on a different take on the home entertainment PC. "Misto" is a hybrid of a coffee table and a tablet PC, featuring a large, built-in touch-screen display. The idea is to allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map. Misto uses a standard desktop PC as its engine, but comes with some specialized HP software for managing the interface. Pricing, availability and style of coffee table are all undetermined, but Misto gives people some idea of how HP wants to develop products that expand on its existing businesses."
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HP Developing Hybrid Tablet PC / Coffee Table

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  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:26AM (#14776610) Journal
    what happens to a touch-screen coffee table when you place a cup of coffee on it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:26AM (#14776612)
    Finally ... an appropriate place to program in Java.

    (Still won't make it run fast, but but the irony is thick)

  • by gasmonso ( 929871 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:27AM (#14776615) Homepage

    Everyone knows that this is nothing more than a MAME setup to play all those old cocktail table games of yesterday! Long live Joust and Ms Pacman!!! []
  • useless (Score:5, Funny)

    by ExE122 ( 954104 ) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:27AM (#14776616) Homepage Journal
    Look for this item in next years Ikea catalog as part of the Tákkí collection. At the low price of $15,995.99 it is a perfect addition to any Mátereülisték line of furniture and Yöpee accessories. If you are a Mátereülisték person looking to spend some money, a Tákkí coffee table with a PC built into it would be a perfect addition to your Yöpee house! It is custom made to fit into your gas-guzzling Hummer for easy delivery. And just imagine how well it would look gathering dust between your baby-harp-seal-skin sofa and 97 inch high definition television!

    - ---------- -
    Hideous piece of show-off crap... this is the most useless invention since the pet rock!
    • Re:useless (Score:5, Funny)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:39PM (#14777280) Homepage Journal
      My Finnish is appalling but I think you'll find that Tääki, Metiriälistik, and Jaappi are better fits should you need to recycle the joke at a later date - though this gets into the confusion over the fact that "j" is pronounced as we pronounce "y" in Finnish, while "y" is pronounced kind of like the the "u" in Munich or bureau.

      Taking all the humour out of jokes via pointless dissection since 2006.

      • My Finnish is no doubt worse than yours. However, that doesn't matter in the slightest as IKEA is Swedish, not Finnish.
      • Useless... Tungsten! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The-Bus ( 138060 )
        Ikea is from Sweden.

        Here's the obligatory Ikea-joke from The Simpsons, courtesy of

        The Simpsons make a shopping excursion to Shøp, the place to go for modern Swedish furniture and accessories. A costumed character that looks like an Allen wrench with arms and legs walks up.

        The Simpsons make a shopping excursion to Shøp, the place to go for modern Swedish furniture and accessories. A costumed character that looks like an Allen wrench with arms and legs walks up.

        Allen: You put it togethe

    • Here are the secret pictures of the unit:

      Cocktail table computer []

      I think you have to put quarters in it...

  • by Green Salad ( 705185 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:27AM (#14776618) Homepage
    I just press the eject button and a motorized coffee cup holder slides out. Must be some kind of productivity option on my cheap PC.
  • "Misto"? (Score:3, Funny)

    by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:27AM (#14776619)


    I would like to point out that 'mist' is the German word for 'manure'. Hmmm.

    • Re:"Misto"? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Misto" is Croatian (dialect spoken in Dalmatia - coastal, Mediteranean part of Croatia) for "Place" and/or "Town". For an explanation, I guess that is more on the target, isn't it?
    • "Misto"?

      I would like to point out that 'mist' is the German word for 'manure'. Hmmm.

      I think it's almost impossible to have words which are safe internationally.

      We once had a piece of software called CUE -- we were quite dismayed when a French customer told us that it sounded remarkably like the French slang for your, er, rectal orifice. They were quite adamant we should rename it.
  • So what happens when you spill coffee on it? half joking, but half serious too... I have two small children, my guess it this wouldn't last 5 minutes in my house!
    • Or more importantly, what happens if you put your hot coffee on what presumably must be a touch screen / LCD device. Warning stickers such as "do not put hot coffee on screen" will make the device even more lame than it already sounds.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The top of the table will be a single sheet of tempered glass. Tablet PC's do not use resistive "Touch screens" like PDA's do; they use Active Wacom Digitizers, which sense the position of the pen or other pointing device over the screen.

      Actual tablet PC's don't have you writing on the mushy LCD, there's a sheet of tempered glass over the display to protect the LCD.
    • Ideally, what happens is the "surface sensing" technology plots the coffee spill. Then when you wipe it up, it leaves a little stain on the background. Sure, you can clean that up too, but with desktop memory, you could press one button and all the coffee/red wine rings reappear, the spill marks and everything else.

      A coffee table with a stain memory -- think of the uses.

    • "So what happens when you spill coffee on it? half joking, but half serious too... I have two small children, my guess it this wouldn't last 5 minutes in my house!"

      Oh yeah? I have 3 (all boys). I bet *my* kids could destroy it in only 2 minutes.

      Seriously though, this does look very cool. Would be a great way to play Risk.

    • Given that there are touch screen kiosks in all kinds of places where they take abuse, I think somehow the technology exists to make them resist a few spills and kids whacking on them.
  • Gives a new meaning to turn the table ? Seriously how do you turn the table around to make sure everyone around the table can see the pics. :)
    • Tablet PCs (and most LCD monitors) have nifty screen rotation features that I'm sure could be incorporated, though obviously rotation only provides a right-side-up picture from one orientation at a time.
  • Good for gaming. Probably good for total system management. It's the ultimate master control console.

    End of line
  • I can put this in my coffee table book about coffee tables that actually turns into a coffee table.
    Or my coffee table website, that is actually displayed on a coffee table....
  • And I thought the iPod nano got heavily scratched...
  • But how practical is it? The first time you spill your drink will you short circuit something? And with obsolecense the way it is, you'd have to buy a new coffee table every couple of years! p. And will it match my mission style decor?
  • And who thought that this was a *good* idea? Coffee tables are for holding *LIQUID BEVERAGES*, and PC + liquid = spectacular failure
    • Re:w-hat? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      PC + liquid = spectacular failure

      really? my old Toshiba toughbook I use for emptying CF cards and writing in my journal during hiking works just fine sitting there in the rain, with a diet coke spilled in it, etc....

      If this thing is going to cost what I think it will, it will be trivial to make it as protected as a toughbook is.
    • Like a Tablet PC, the surface is likely to be glass in any case, which is reasonably spill-resistant. It would not be difficult to pack the electonical bits away where they can't get spilled on.
  • Great! Now when you spill your coffee all over your fancy new Tablet PC, you can blame it all on the HP design team.

    I think Kramer is going to sue for copyright infringement. []
  • This is an interesting idea, but it sounds like an idea ahead of its time. I'm sure in 50 years, we'll all have these in our living rooms, complete with board games, pictures, and remote contols for our flying cars and household robots, but right now, I think this would be too expensive to appeal to enough people to justify its existance.

    Still, you have to start somewhere, and I am glad there are companies developing stuff like this to throw at the wall.
    • [] debuted at CES
    • It's behind. People don't congregate in the living room any more, around a coffee table. They live in the kitchen.

      They should market it as a game room item. Trouble is, the touch-screen is going to get damaged so easily that nobody would want it in a game room. If I can't put my feet up on it or set a bowl of popcorn on it, I don't want it in the living room, either.

      There's a company in Illinois [] that sells desks with glass tops, so you look down through the desk at the screen. Very comfortable to use.
      • There's a company in Illinois that sells desks with glass tops, so you look down through the desk at the screen. Very comfortable to use. I'd think that a coffee table with a glass top like that might work better

        That shit's old.
        The MCP [] beat you to it.
  • Somehow I pictured a variation of Kramer's coffee table book where the tablet had little legs that popped out of the bottom to turn into a coffee table. :P
  • Madge: Barb, this party is terrific. Good wine, excellent cheese...

    Barb: Thanks Madge! Jim and I try to make them memorable!

    Madge: I really like your coffee table [sets wineglass down on top of table]

    Barb: Oh yes, it's the latest thing! It's got a computer inside...

    Madge: Oh my!!!!! [loudly]

    Barb: What's wrong Barb? What... OH DEAR GOD! JIIIMMMMMM!!!!

    Jim: What's up Honey?!? What's with all the... GOOD GOD!!!

    [Party comes to a halt as Jim's private pics of his and Barb's conjugal activites slideshow across tabletop]

  • Not that this is coming any time soon, but I'd be more likely to buy a rollable or foldable display that you could lay out on a table. Like the constantly rumored e-paper, but with a wireless connection to a computer elsewhere. Lock-in to a specific table is a lot less attractive, although when Microsoft comes out with such a thing, I'm looking forward to the yelling about how they're abusing their monopoly position in furniture.
  • Not that I didn't before. You'd be amazed what a can of mountain dew will do to a laptop keyboard. I spent hours cleaning underneath every single key anddddd myyyyyy typpping stttttiiiiill lookeddd llike thhhhhhhhhhis.

  • That thing would be ideal for running a dungeon mapper for table top RPGs.
    • combine this with the "dual view" lcd screens, and you dungeon master can have different view than the players on the other side of the table.

      Imagine playing, risk or stratego-- you can see your pieces, and the backs of the opponenets pieces... or find a way to make the dual view lcd's quad view, and a family of 4 can play scrabble on screen, and no one can see anyone elses letters!

  • as long as it can play Wizards of Wor and Ms. Pac Man, like the old sit-down arcade "cocktail table" games. Those were bitchen. I knew exactly where to hit the Ms. Pac Man table with a pool cue to get free games...
  • I had this idea *years* ago!!! Why didn't I patent it? I would be rich by now!


    (Sorry, I just felt I had to tell the world)
  • by revery ( 456516 ) *
    I'm torn between whether this is kind of cool or the stupidest thing ever. The image of a family gathered around the cofee table playing games is located in the part of my brain where I keep things like the Brady Bunch (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia), so I just don't see that taking off (maybe a commercial showing small children and their robot nannies playing games...?)

    At the same time, the idea seems kind of cool as I think some interesting applications could be developed for such a device. Think interactive TV/
    • I'm torn between whether this is kind of cool or the stupidest thing ever. The image of a family gathered around the cofee table playing games is located in the part of my brain where I keep things like the Brady Bunch (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia), so I just don't see that taking off

      I'm not sure what rock you have been living under, but family boardgames are huge in Europe, and that popularity is resurging in the US and Asia. Recent games like Settlers of Catan and Cranium have both sold over 10 million copies
  • Husband:"Seriously, we need this!"
    Wife:"You're really not joking are you?"

    Husband:"But, we can have rotating screen savers with pictures of the kids..."
    Wife:"Or you can just sit there flipping channels on the tv while checking scores on"
    Husband:"yea, or that too..."
    Wife:"It doesn't go with the the furniture we have - no."
  • ...but will it feature multiple-point touchscreen technology []?

    Seriously, if you're going to "allow a group to congregate around the table and share pictures, play board games, or peruse a map", then you can't expect them to form an orderly queue to take turns to touch the screen in a well-defined order. Well, you can, but it takes half the fun out of it. If this is to stand a chance of being successful (which it probably doesn't anyway right now), they've got to really push the social, collaborative angle.
  • Now we can all have our very own MCP in our VERY OWN HOME! I wonder if it will come with that very deep computerized british accent that I loved so much! "I want him in the games until he dies plain. End of line."
  • ... Galaga or Ms. Pacman or Centipede, it's of no use to me.
  • by figleaf ( 672550 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:49AM (#14776836) Homepage
    at Comdex.
    Looks cool. But thats about it.

    I don't think there is a any market for this.
    I would not feel comfortable placing my coffee cup on this table.
    • IMHO, it doesn't *look* cool at al, the idea might be cool, but it's plain ugly.

      Seriously, this looks amateurish, look at those two ugly fan covers, for starters, this thing just has no style at all, the way it is built, ugh. Will stick out as a sore thumb in *any* livingroom (or conference sideroom or what have you) If this were covered as a case-mod, people would mock this thing, the woodwork is pathetic. I bet it comes with a beige powercord ;)
    • This is not the same thing in the Comdex Gates demo, though the presentation is similar.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @11:49AM (#14776840)
    For the man who needs to buy just one more stupid thing to get his wife to divorce him.
  • Tabletop consoles have been used e.g. in military applications for years. I remember seeing pictures of the Combat Information Center aboard a 1980-vintage Dutch frigate having such a console. This was used to give the commander and XO an overview of what was happening, without having to look over the shoulder of one of the operators.
    It used a light pen instead of a touchscreen, but the principle is the same.

    The blurb talks about Misto as a consumer product, but I suspect it's more likely to be adopted by b
  • So they took a computer with a big Cintiq [] and mounted it in an ugly-ass coffee table. Big deal. When did HP become casemodders? It doesn't even allow multi-user input, like one of these [].

    Coffee tables are for setting coffee, books, and maybe a board game on. You're not going to want to spend any significant amount of time hunched over one, even if it's for fun multi-user stuff. A normal-height table would be a lot better.
    • Coffee tables are for setting coffee, books, and maybe a board game on.

      Seems like this is exactly what they're doing; putting a virtual board game on the coffee table. I'd agree that a full-size table would be better for most gaming (perhaps with little hand-held tablets each for secret data), but that's a minor detail. With LCD and plasma panels, you mount a nice large one under a protective sheet of glass or Lexan, and a quick game of Wiz-War takes no time to set up. You could even use head-tracking t
  • What you need is layers. You have your hideously overpriced and oversized 14400x2480 display. On top of that, you must add a high resolution photosensitive layer. Above that, a removable scratch-proof, heat-resistant panel. The third will be your actual working surface. Input is provided at the photosensitive layer, through the use of a series of digital laserpointer pens. Users could be defined either by a data tag embedded in the laser (this is already widely used - laser tag, anyone?), or as simply as a
  • I'd hate to forget to use a coaster in someone's house on this thing. You'd probably have a gun to your head in no time.
  • The tech that would make this cool would be multi-touch touchscreen technology []. That way people could interact in parallel with the screen, not sequentially.

    The ultimate magic would also include some form of RF coupling to screen and table-edge antennas to ascertain which person was touching the screen. When a person touches the screen the induced RF would flow into them and radiate. The table-edge antennas would detect it and estimate where the "toucher" is sitting. Thus, person A couldn't illegally
  • I like it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:04PM (#14776986) Homepage
    I'm seeing a large number of negative comments, so I thought I'd wade in to counter a little. I like it.

    Forget replacing desktops, that's not what this is about. Consider the following:

    • Universal remote control. Consider this table having built-in IR, bluetooth and wi-fi. Nice remote for absolutely everything, yes?
    • Games. No, not Quake 9. Think monopoly, chess, backgammon, card games. Or even things like a couple of my current PopCap timewasters - Bejeweled 2 and Bookworm.
    • Photos, video etc.. The example image shows it - you could bring up your photos nice and quickly on this. And by video I don't mean 100gigs of ripped DVD, I mean home videos of holidays etc.
    • AV instant messaging. Nice surface to just switch on and see the person you're talking to, or just relax on the sofa speaking as the built-in mic picks up your voice.

    That's just things that immediately occur - I'm sure there's more. Simultaneous web-feeds whilst TV viewing for example - perhaps a program has more info coming up on the screen. For my money, it would be improved if they made the surface tiltable, so that I could lie on the sofa and look at this with a 45 degree angle say, or for easier viewing of the movies etc.. Would also be nice if it wasn't built-in per se, but instead defined a form factor into which easily upgradable motherboards etc. could slot in. And the whole thing would need to be very hi-res too.

    As I say, I like it. Would I drop everything to rush and buy one? Doubtful. But I certainly don't think it's a waste of time.


    • I got a thinkpad off Ebay. It cost all of $300 delivered.

      I put the thinkpad on my coffee table. Strangely, it rarely moves. I am lazy.

      Voila. Coffee table computer. Doesn't even look too bad.

      Sometimes, it morphs into the "side table" computer.

      I've even seen it looking lustily at the SVideo cable. It might become a coffee table MEDIA CENTER!

      (sarcasm, for the impared)
    • I want to make restaurant tables out of it. In table menu displays with full customization. Out of water? Click the refill icon and someone scoots over to fill it for you. Freed from order taking duties and using the same kind of software places like Amazon use to manage their inventory picking.
  • This is exactly the product I've been looking for, depending on the quality of the coffee table itself.

    Imagine leaving your cube in the office park you work in, heading down the elevator to the lobby and into a CyberBar. You sit with your colleagues at a coffee table-cum-tablet. Drinks can be browsed on the device and ordered from there, where you can also see your tab (and potentially pay). Of course, the actual drinks come on a tray carried by a slim young blonde with tight-fitting black pants...

    The po
  • Who wants a coffee table they need to plug in? Or one that has an unsightly desktop computer box sitting under it? Or the cords?
  • This is not at all innovative. The Fraunhofer institute started a project called "Ambient Agoras" (yeah, funny name) literally years ago which included some sort of table around which people could gather. It would cooperate with panels on the wall and everything would be touchscreens. You could drag and drop or really "throw" items from the table to the wall displays.
  • Egad! Look at the clunkiness [] of that thing - more akin to a foosball table or pinball machine than a coffee table.
  • I remember that I got this idea 30 years ago, when writing a science fiction story. Interesting to see that it becomes reality now.
    • The idea is older than that. I think it was Andre Norton who used the idea in her "Time Traders" (1958?) novel, although it might have been in Piper's Paratime novels or something by Poul Anderson. (I read it mid-1960s.) The rec room where the time travellers hung out between missions had a table display (high def!) used for games - eg complex maps for war games (think Avalon-Hill type games), etc.

      Wall screens (large, flat, wall-hung displays) were pretty common in SF at the time (Star Trek's viewscreen,
  • I've wanted to build a table like that for 4 player Sea3D [] (Settlers of Catan), either with a projector or LCD under glass, where each player would have their own controls.

    It's a really fun game, but playing it in the same room at the same table would make it even better.

  • by MECC ( 8478 )

    Now I can spill coffee directly on my porn, instead of my keyboard.

  • by wfeick ( 591200 )

    This just seems like a really bad marketing move to me. Are there really that many people who would want a tablet PC built in to their coffee table? It seems analogous to trying to sell a desk with a built in PC. The whole point of the tablet and notebook market is that people like the portability market. Desktop machines are shrinking in size all the time, and the trend is away from desktops and towards notebooks. This is a step in the opposite direction of the industry trend.

    I think they'd be far better

  • If the whole coffee table is a touch screen, it really needs to be multi-input.

    check it out: []
  • To further go on the idea of having something like that in a restaurant, I could totally see something like that on a bar/counter. Say you're at the bar having a few drinks. You could sit there and play some games, watch some sports (have a spot to plug headphones in), etc, while you sip some overpriced drinks. The screen wouldn't be as big as the coffeetable's, but of course it would be protected from spills.

    I could also see something like that in Starbucks. In my home though, probably the tv and my lap
  • Just what everyone needs. A power cord running across the living room. Nice little trip hazzard, fire hazzard, and lets not forget the fact that all modern OS's don't like it when one doesn't power them down properly.

    No, I think this will tank when people see that lovely cable running across the room.
  • It sounds like someone has just updated Kramer's idea of a "coffee table book". Does Larry David collect any royalties off this?

  • I was thinking of making a VP table one of these as the playing area and 25" as the scoreboard. $$$$$
  • This is NOT a tablet PC, and it's nothing but confusing to consumers to label it as such. The staple of the TPC industry is mobility. Does a coffee table strike anyone as exceedingly mobile? Because I have my doubts.

    I have trouble with my new Gateway tablet -- at 14 inches widescreen, it's not mobile enough. My old 10.5 Toshiba was more of a genuine tablet, and it was still a convertible.

    Tablet PCs have a lot to offer the market, but because of brand confusion there's very little adoption. Whenever I sa
  • A High Tech Horizontal Beverage Containment Device: []
  • A table is a place to put things, that is it's purpose. What good is having a viewing surface that is obscured because it is covered with the things you usually have on a coffee table? Now having large, horizontal, touch sensitive viewing surface would be great, but covering up that surface with your lunch, magazines, bills, remote controls, socks, coffee cups, and other stuff defeats the purpose.
  • ...Will it come with a hot [] coffee [] "feature?"
  • I misread that as a "Hot Coffee" table... that would be just bizarre.
  • Seems like the obvious next geek feature to me.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor