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New look for 'lifestyle laptops'

Discussão em 'Novidades Portáteis' iniciada por RavenMaster, 16 de Março de 2005. (Respostas: 0; Visualizações: 770)

  1. RavenMaster

    RavenMaster Power Member

    "Technology may have leapt forward in recent years but visually it remains a mostly monochrome world of uniform plastic casing.

    But the forthcoming launch of a new range of fabric-covered laptop computers could change the way we think about electrical devices, transforming them from bland boxes into style accessories.

    In truth, technology's design revolution is already well underway.

    The stylized minimalism of Apple's ubiquitous iPod, available in its mini version in a range of colors, and the streamlined contours of its iMac computer have already demonstrated the existence of a market for machines that are fashionable as well as functional.

    But the "E-Go" notebook, described by manufacturers Tulip as "the first lifestyle laptop," takes that trend to a new level.

    When the E-Go goes on sale in October, customers will be able to choose from a range of fabric and leather patterns, including snakeskin and zebra stripes.

    "Tulip has identified a growing tendency towards design needs within the computer industry," said Tulip founder Huub van den Boogaard.

    "Competition in the computer market is driven by specifications and price, with a growing demand of users willing to pay a premium for computer designs which are more personalized."

    The key to meeting that demand has been the development of an overmolding technology called EXO which enables fabric, leather, wood or metal to be used with existing mass production methods.

    A further innovation -- EXO Mix -- allows for a variety of authentic materials to be incorporated into the decoration of the same device.

    "There's a fundamental shift that's just starting, and its going to be the housing, the mechanical design, the style and the appearance of the product that starts to play a larger role," said Tom Tarnowski, global marketing manager for Inclosia Solutions, which developed EXO.

    "From the market response we've had, our customers have realized it's no longer possible to continue tuning their products based on electronic functionality and internal components because everything they launch can be very quickly copied by competitors.

    "It's about making an emotional connection between the product and the consumer."

    The E-Go is the first laptop to use EXO technology, but Inclosia has already collaborated with Microsoft on a special edition leather model of its IntelliMouse Explorer and it says mobile phones and more computers will follow before the end of the year.

    Furthermore, Inclosia says it has already seen the evidence that consumers are happy to pay a premium for design, rather than performance-related, features.

    In a survey conducted earlier this year, it found that over half of consumers would be more likely to buy a laptop or a mobile phone made from real materials, with mobile phone buyers willing to pay an average premium of $60 and laptop buyers prepared to spend an extra $140.

    "When Microsoft launched the IntelliMouse Explorer they were able to charge a 20 percent premium just by changing a painted plastic cover to a black leather one," said Tarnowski.

    While electronics manufacturers have traditionally paid more attention to the internal performance of their products rather than their visual aesthetics, they now appear to be heading for a paradigm shift comparable to one experienced by the car industry sometime during the last century.

    Whereas early automobiles focused on mechanical performance, the industry quickly moved forward into an era in which a car's looks were just as -- and perhaps more -- important.

    "The original cars were sold on reliability," said Tarnowski. "You didn't have a mechanic sitting with you when you went for a drive, and they were black pretty often.

    "We've gone from silver to black phones and back to silver again but we're going through that same shift that cars may have gone through 50 or 60 years ago.""

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