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HP's DreamScreen faces tough competition for holiday spending

HP's latest device - a WiFi-connected screen called DreamScreen - makes it debut today and the company is hoping it will grab some attention this holiday season. In the past, I've seen tech companies try to bring some sort of computer technology into different rooms of the house - the kitchen, the living room and even the garage.

HP's latest device - a WiFi-connected screen called DreamScreen - makes it debut today and the company is hoping it will grab some attention this holiday season. In the past, I've seen tech companies try to bring some sort of computer technology into different rooms of the house - the kitchen, the living room and even the garage. I can't stop picturing the DreamScreen on the bedroom nightstand.

Maybe it's the clock feature that displays the time in different time zones, but this device strikes me as a high-tech alarm clock, a device that helps you get your day started. There's the clock part, of course. But then there's also weather, a calendar, some music - either streaming through Pandora or HP's SmartRadio. And don't forget a quick check of Facebook. When I first saw it, I have to admit that I thought it was touch-screen. It isn't.

It does have a nice screen, though, and picture playback - either synced to the 2GB internal memory, plugged in via flash memory or wirelessly accessed from a PC - turns it into a nice digital picture frame. But it's also $249 for a 10-inch screen and $299 for a 13-inch version. And as much I liked it - in the way I like some of those fancy gadgets at high-end electronics stores - I just don't know that I would spend $250 or $300 on it. There are a lot of other electronic products in that price range, all hoping that recession-strapped consumers will find value in theirs.

With all of that said, the technology is promising and, given the excitement about application development for a number of different platforms, the DreamScreen has the potential to eventually grow into a living room, kitchen or bedroom "computer" that can be customized around the right apps.