As technology advances at breakneck speeds, the scope for improvement and diversification becomes increasingly more difficult. As a result, innovation now comes in the form of superficial and cosmetic enhancements. What was once a corporate tool to work on has now become a fashion accessory to fit into today’s hi-tech sophisticated world.
It’s pretty fascinating how opinions on laptops have changed over recent years. Not too long ago, laptops were strictly for business purposes only, and were only placed on public display by people who were using them for serious work. With the advent of wireless internet and networking, coffee shops, hotels and even trains have become hotspots for laptop owners. Suddenly, people could do what they would normally do at home in a public place, on a social level in the presence of their friends. With consumer tastes becoming more and more sensitive, laptop computers could no longer look cumbersome and ordinary – aesthetics began to matter.
Before laptops became fashionable, PC modifications existed in a way similar to how some people modify their cars. Fluorescent light tubes, water cooling systems, personalised cases and exaggerated fans started to appear in desktop towers. Apple also redesigned itself with the successful launch of the iMac which came in various different vibrant colours, transforming the consumer expectations as to what a computer could, and maybe even should, look like. Apple has managed to sustain this level of innovation with the latest evolutions of the iMac and, as a corporation, is now known for its styling across various electrical markets. As a result, Apple has managed to carve out a comfortable niche for itself. Shortly after they turned the computing industry on its head with their sense of style, Sony responded with their Vaio laptop and desktop computers. As more people begin to own computers, and as they become more of a household fixture, what a computer looks like becomes just as important as what it can do.
Microprocessor giant Intel has been busy coming up with concept ideas for new fashionable laptops. This has seen the birth of the slimmest and lightest laptop computer ever. Under the code name “Intel mobile Metro notebook”, it was designed with the intent to replicate Motorola’s Razr mobile phone design. With that in mind, their engineers have managed to produce a machine that measures just 1.78cm in thickness, and weighs a mere 1kg. Not only is it slim and lightweight, but it meets all the latest technological benchmarks. One outstanding feature is the 2nd screen on the outside and the shoulder strap that comes attached to the chassis is a nice touch. Quite naturally, the machines will be available in a variety of different colours to match different tastes.
The Tulip E-Go Diamond laptop has also featured on the catwalk. Built sturdily with solid white gold plates and a specifically cut ruby tulip logo, this piece of equipment retails at a staggering US$350,000. Strip away the cosmetic element to it, and you will find a very capable and advanced computer, with the ability to access applications at the touch of a button and it can even be used as a PDA without booting Windows. The E-Go, short for ‘Easy Going’, truly is a lifestyle device, aimed directly at women with the need for good looks as well as high end functionality. Unfortunately, not all fashion laptops manage to tick all the internal and external boxes. A Taiwanese company called Dialogue managed to create their Flybook, that isn’t much larger than a DVD case and looks stunning. However, the size of the laptop really means that it’s difficult to use, and it isn’t capable of competing with normal sized laptops.
As we’ve seen in recent times with portable items, it’s a matter of time before laptop computers become fashion accessories rather than just functional equipment. Like mobile phones and MP3 players before them, laptops are slowly becoming extensions of body parts. If they become any smaller and more aesthetically orientated, they could well become just as portable and desirable to carry around. With free internet connections and social networking sites combining to pull people onto the web, it’s becoming increasingly normal to see all types of people using laptops, not just suited and booted business men on their travels.
The public has demanded that laptops should not only perform to a high level, but should also look the part too. Manufacturers have responded, delivering visually stunning alternatives to standard machines; they now come in differing sizes and shapes, with different accessories and ports, different colours and some even allow for customisable fascias. Black and grey are now joined by pink, green, blue, red and white, the fashion conscious can now match their laptops with their shoes! They’re not only becoming better looking, but they’re more capable than ever too. laptops can connect easily to a range of access points, they have built in cameras and microphones, so many different jacks and ports for various inputs and outputs and they can store more data and are still getting faster. Now that the physical factor has come to the fore, consumers can consider themselves incredibly spoilt for choice.