Toshiba has introduced a new line of computers that, in keeping with Windows 8's emphasis on touch, offers an array of products with displays that can be poked and pinched.

Toshiba began taking pre-orders for the new systems Wednesday, and will be selling them to the public from its online store on Oct. 26, when Windows 8 debuts.

While all the new Toshiba laptops don't have a touch display, they do have large touchpads that support touchscreen gestures, so many of the gesture tasks performed on a touchscreen can be performed on the touchpad.

In addition, Toshiba is addressing the absence of a start menu in Windows 8 with a utility program preinstalled on all models, Toshiba Desktop Assist. The software gives users quick access to their programs, the Windows control panel and their files and folders, much as the start menu does in Windows 7.

Toshiba is also including three Windows 8 "tile" apps. Toshiba Central provides one-click access to a model's user guide, support information, how-to videos and such. Toshiba Book Place is an e-book reader and marketplace for purchasing titles. Toshiba News Place is a graphical news aggregator.

PC World