Friday, December 3, 2010

HP Dreamscreen 400

HP India announced on 18th November that the HP Dreamscreen 400 all-in-one computer would be released shortly in India. It should have been available from 25th November onwards, as per the original press release.

Basically, it is a custom-version of Linux, built by HP, with a touch-optimized layer on top. At this point, it’s unclear as to whether the entire custom-Linux build is built as a touch-optimized OS, or if it is a custom-Linux build with a touch layer on top. Either way, HP is very clear in pointing out that this was developed “in India, for India”. The unit would be sold exclusively via Airtel and Tata, to existing subscribers. (The Press Release is really dodgy on stating whether these are phone subscribers or DTV subscribers, but either way, this is a very interesting partnership) We know very little about the hardware specs, or its features for now, but read on for the details present in the Press Release.

The Hardware

HP Dreamscreen 400

At this point, HP has only admitted to “Intel technology” being used within. Considering the careful wording, we think it’s safe to assume that it’s not going to be something stellar inside. The display is an 18.5” touchscreen display, and it is blessed with a DVD drive. Going by this report by PCWorld.in the following specs could also be expected : 1366x768 resolution, 250 GB Hard Drive, 1.3 MP webcam, 4 USB ports, SD card slot, mic and headphone jacks, and two built-in 5w speakers. There doesn’t appear to be much processing power under the hood, as it is touted as being capable of handling 480p video.

The Software

The unit is being hailed as something that the whole family can enjoy. To that end, HP has baked in several “must haves” for the whole family right into the unit. Music, Films, Games, bill payment services, news media, horoscopes – all seem to have either built-in, or online services via a variety of content partners. Any basic computing should be possible, which is what an average family needs a computer for these days. Just don’t expect to create that next Photoshop masterpiece, or discover a breakthrough in nanoscience with this all-in-one baby; this just isn’t meant for that.

Price and Release

The price of the all-in-one unit has been pegged at Rs. 19,999/- plus taxes, which if you apply the 5% VAT that is common for electronic goods in many states in India, works out to about Rs. 21,000/- HP is promising free home delivery, setup and a demo in that cost, for a limited time. The unit must have gone on sale by the 25th November, but we are yet to lay eyes on one. We’re guessing that they’re available only in select Tata and Airtel stores. Let’s see if we can check out one soon. For now, there are no details available on the HP website, except for the press release, and a sign-up form to submit your details, in case you wish to receive more information regarding the HP Dreamscreen 400.

So would you be buying your next travel tickets using an HP Dreamscreen 400? Maybe. Would you like to call your friends over and show off this awesome new touchscreen computer that you’ve acquired? Probably. Is the Indian Geek going to ditch all computers we own in favour of the HP Dreamscreen 400? Definitely not.

17 comments:

Ragland Remo Paul said...

Heard that the data on the hard disk is fixed and cannot be removed or added... if so this is a bummer

The Indian Geek said...

Thanks for stopping by, Remo. We've got no official confirmation from HP, as yet, however, this is most likely true. If you read the full press release from HP India on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=463610297398&id=376019079281 , HP actually goes on to state the file formats that the computer supports - for photos/pictures, music, videos, etc.

The reason being, that HP has built this custom-version of Linux from the ground up, and it was built based on the input from feedback obtained from average Indian families; super-users, or advanced users is definitely not the target market for this computer, seeing as how they've tied up with several online services to provide these services out-of-the-box, within the computer itself - simple services that take only the entering of a weblink in a web browser to access.

So yes, if the HP Dreamscreen 400 does not have a capability to store files, then we're definitely not going to buy it. The point is, even if it could store files - would we buy it? :)

Ankit Malik said...

i buyed this descktop....

we can store data.... but tht wont work....

think done a mistake buying it... its for kids...nd people wnt to pay there bills...actually its not a PC... its a storage device with internet access...

The Indian Geek said...

Thank you for visiting our site, Ankit, and for adding your thoughts.

From our own time with the HP Dreamscreen 400, we find that it's a valuable all-in-one entertainment unit for a person/family who wish to use simple online browsing, emails, documents and spreadsheets, keeping in touch via chat etc.

The movie and music players do lack in codec support, as does the photos viewer application. Also, third-party applications cannot be installed - as it's HP's custom OS. But for a family which uses Gmail, Youtube, Facebook, documents and spreadsheets, with some online activities such as ticket booking, netbanking, etc. this is a very good value for money system.

As mentioned in our article - none of us at The Indian Geek would ever buy it as our primary PC. It just won't work. Starting with the fact that we can't use Google Chrome, Google Talk, Adobe Photoshop, VLC Media Player, etc. there are so many things that we can't do with the unit - such as play the latest Call of Duty game. (Or play any popular game out there, really)

The Dreamscreen 400 is targeted at a very specific market; and for that market, it does very well.

Ankit Malik said...

^+1

Thank you very much the the reply... that was quick indeed... yes i was not aware of these points mentioned above and i saw/buyed it for the first time from chroma.. people over there lacks knowledge about it...

any ways now my wife is using it for e-mails and fashion purpose... good for girls and home people must say...

The chroma person told me tht i can download song and movies...lol i should hav read the reviews before...

Thanks again. :)

The Indian Geek said...

You are welcome, Ankit.

We're glad that you have managed to find some use for the HP Dreamscreen 400; it would be a shame if such an innovative product were to go to waste.

With regards to the lack of expected functionality - what can we say? It is always wise to do some research and not trust sales folk. We're yet to see sales people who really know their technology. (There've been a few exceptions, though)

dildileep said...

I lost 25000 by buying HP dreamscreen 400. Its impossible to install windows in it. I have no family and no need to buy a computer for the family entertainment.

The Indian Geek said...

Hello Dildileep,

Thanks for stopping by. We're sorry to hear that the HP Dreamscreen 400 is of not much use to you.

We only urge and encourage every consumer to find out full details regarding the product before going ahead with the purchase. The HP Dreamscreen 400 is definitely not for anyone attempting to install/use Windows or any other popular software in the market. This product has a very specific target demographic, where it is being received quite well.

Have you checked with the store from which you purchased it, if you could return it - either for cash, or for store credit on any other product?

Thanks again for stopping by, and letting us know your experience.

GauravApple said...

Hey, The Indian Geek....
I need to Know what is the processor "Intel XXXX" on this HP DS400. I think I would be able to load Ubuntu + Touch Interface (now built in with latest Kernel)..... I need it for a very specific use....
& also what Bios.?

GauravApple said...

no reply yet...?

The Indian Geek said...

Hello Gaurav,

We apologise for the very late response. We've been tied up with certain things, of late.

We currently have no details regarding the processor and the BIOS. The BIOS and motherboard should be a custom-built one by HP; HP use custom BIOSes on their standard consumer and commercial PCs - we don't see any reason why they shouldn't use it on a one-of-its-kind custom PC.

The thing is hacking another OS onto this may not be a possibility - how are you going to get the unit to boot to the optical drive? We doubt if HP has enabled this functionality. Unfortunately, we don't have a test unit to try it out.

We are going to try reaching out to HP PR to verify the processor - but don't hold out any hopes.

Thanks for stopping by, and we're sorry about the late response.

yahoo-HZCOB5RPZERFOMU4TVFAMTQG54 said...

I have one. Only if it could show pictures, I'd buy one more for my parents! Works great for my techno-phobe father who doesn't even use a cellphone.

yahoo-HZCOB5RPZERFOMU4TVFAMTQG54 said...

Well, what was wrong with me? The way to view is sillier! One has to copy the pictures through file manager to Photos directory! Ahh! Truly a grandpa PC - you have to have photos in album to view the album, right?

yahoo-HZCOB5RPZERFOMU4TVFAMTQG54 said...

I sure wish it had Baraha equivalent installed. None speaks Hindi at home. Grandparents want to communicate in mother tongue with children.

Vikas Tripathi said...

can we use windows operating system in 
HP DreamScreen 400 

Akil K said...

Its possible to install windows7, though I haven't tried it. This video shows how tohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz5qzFazopo

Bhupen Pal said...

Can we change it's processor

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