The DreamScreen some with wall mounts on the back or can be set on a table. It lacks a battery, so it must stay plugged in at all times.

What's Not to Like?

My biggest beef with the DreamScreen is that you want it to be a touchscreen device -- and it's not. Last night, nearly everyone who looked at the DreamScreen tried to touch the screen to navigate it. The DreamScreens run an embedded version of Linux that lacks the ability to do much more than run pre-canned HP applications specially designed for the devices. Right now, there are only eight applications, though HP representatives say that number could be expanded soon.

I like the idea of having a limited functioning device, but some basic functions are missing. You can't check email or browse news headlines, for example. I get that HP is not just creating a touchscreen computer with this device; if I wanted one of those, I could put down my cash for HP's TouchSmart IQ800t. However, I still craved an RSS display and simple messaging notification (be it email, SMS text, or IM). Okay, so responding to messages would be an issue on the DreamScreen, but at least you'd know new messages were there.

Also lacking from the DreamScreen is the ability to view Web-based video content from services such as YouTube and Hulu. Email, video, and RSS feeds would all be possible without having to embed a full-fledge OS into the device if HP decided to give the DreamScreen a simple browser. It didn't.

Another missing feature is the ability to stream video and auido files from your PC, which would eliminate the need to run them locally on the DreamScreen. Ideally you'd be able to navigate libraries of content on your desktop PC or NAS device and playback through the DreamScreen. Right now you can't.

Another temptation with this device is to pick it up as if it were a sleek portable tablet. Want to take that video you're watching into the kitchen? You can't do it without unplugging the device. Even if you don't mind plugging it in everywhere you go, the DreamScreen sports some bulky hardware on its backside, making it less than ideal for porting from room to room. Once you find a home for this unit, it will most likely stay there.

Now, I'm not going to be popular with HP's Ameer Karim, director of product marketing. On Wednesday night he told me people just don't want this type of functionality I want from the DreamScreen.

I readily admit I may be suffering from Apple tablet envy, where I think that everything that kind of looks like a tablet should be a table. But the DreamScreen, for me, is stuck in tablet purgatory. It's not quite the tablet I want it to be and too expensive to justify as a replacement for the digital picture frame I never use.