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CES: Samsung pushes media-sharing touchscreen PCs

Hands-on with Samsung's 'Allshare' and 'Playtouch'

Samsung is keen to push its home-entertainment credentials, offering a range of laptops and all-in-one PCs designed to enhance your living room.

The Samsung stand is among the biggest and best attended at this year's Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. And the South Korean giant - primarily famous for display technology - now boasts an impressive range of laptops and all-in-one PCs.

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The Samsung systems on show here range from Linux netbooks through ultraportables, Blu-ray desktop-replacements and all-in-ones, and the electronics giant is keen to push two technologies found on its high-end machines: 'Allshare' and 'Playtouch'.

Allshare is a proprietary technology aimed at getting media content off your main PC, and on to the other screens in the house, chief among them your living room TV. It uses wi-fi to share files and is, in essence, a slick consumer interface on standard existing technology.

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Playtouch is a touchscreen user-interface for Windows PCs, with cool-looking windows for multimedia functions that you move forward or backward as you desire. Want to watch a video? You flick open a virtual video player. To surf the web you touch the globe, and flicking through photos is a simple case of, well, flicking through a virtual photo album.

We tried out Playtouch and Allshare on an all-in-one PC, with an Intel Core2 Duo T6600 processor, 3GB DDR3 RAM, a DVD Super-Multi Drive, and a massive half a gigabyte of storage. The device - the DM-U250 - looked beautiful, its large screen housed in a suprisingly slim shell. And the Playtouch interface is a lot of fun to use. It is very sensitive - you'll need to use dextrous fingers rather than big fat thumbs - but very intuitive. After a minute of two we were naturally 'picking up'and dropping the various windows and gadgets as if we'd been using Playtouch for years. It's a fun way to browser and interact with content, and it doesn't replace traditional Windows input with keyboard and mouse, as tht is also present.

It's virtually impossible to test a media-sharing system in the unreal circumstances of a stand at a tradeshow, but Allshare is similarly consumer friendly. It takes a task-led approach, and seems sufficiently easy to use to attract even tech-phobic PC users.

Samsung representatives were unable to give us any launch dates or pricing information.

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