makes me think of...
Hidden away from the hordes of Eee PCs on Asus' CES stand - how many variants on the netbook theme can this company come up with? - was a set of concept laptop designs that quite caught our eye. Will their angular styling ever make it to market? Well, as one Asus staffer noted, a couple of years back, the company's bamboo-clad …
One of the things that takes up space on a laptop is the touchpad... to include the touchpad, the keys have to be made thinner on small laptops.
By layering the keyboard above the touchpad when closed, this allows for a larger keyboard + touchpad on the same "footprint".
Really clever idea.
I think it was in Morgan computers (of all places) and I idly asked why laptops are now called "notebooks".
"Well, it's mainly because people are encouraged not to use them on their laps as it blocks the airflow to the vents at the bottom and they overheat. It can even burn your lap."
Cue Asus and a design that lifts the body of the machine off your lap so you can use it as a laptop. Smart.
Re: "1980s" - Chris McKenna
Indeed. See also, Neon Neon's "Stainless Style" - a loose concept album based on the tumultuous life of De Lorean Motor Company founder John De Lorean - by Super Furry Animals front man Gruff Rhys and electronic artist Boom Bip.
Spanking good stuff and a recommended listen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_Style
Oh, ...the laptops? Yeah. Nice to see someone try something a little different. I do like that "ringbinder" look.
Another reminder that "computers" are moving ever closer to the point where the tech inside is not the primary motivator behind the purchase. Some might say we're there already with "underpowered" netbooks often being a more popular option than a machine with a more advanced inside, but less desirable outside.
>"Some might say that we reached that point when a certain purveyor of nibbled fruit products put all the bits including the screen in a small grey box with a slot on the front........"
Computer tech has been racing forward over the years. Design has obviously been limited by the physical constraints of the tech. But until recently, of the main brands, only Apple (and too a lesser extent, Sony) have made consistent credible attempts at extinguishing the horrid "standard beige box" and "fake carbon fibre + go faster stripes" schools of design. And as the tech becomes smaller and cheaper, the rest of the industry has started to give more serious thought to design issues. Even unit-shifter Dell has been doing their best (and won me over with the XPS M1330).
While I'm no Apple fanboy (never owned one of their products - admired their ill fated "cube" tho), i have to admit that they've been consistently ahead of the curve in terms of looking pretty.
But looking pretty is not enough if the underlying tech merely performs a broadly similar task in a broadly similar way.
The big thing that seems to be occuring is the shift away from the idea of a computer as either a desktop box (however sleek and white) or a portable laptop (however sleek and white). We're now seeing quite a few *viable* new designs such as netbooks, iPodTouch/iPhone, Dell Studio Hybrid (EEE Box/Mac Mini/Suttle-alike), Asus' keyboard/mini-screen combo machine, Sony's wearable OLED prototypes etc...all of 'em offer a version of "computing" that differs from the 20th century concept of sitting down at a desk, using a mouse and keyboard.
For what it's worth, I'd like a A4 sized iPodTouch-a-like with built in projector and camera. With all the attendant ways of making sure it's light enough, tough enough etc. A little way off, maybe, but not inconcievable. An ugly version could be sellotaped together today so it's just a case of time until the components are minaturised.
A calculator, alarm clock, radio, notepad, walkman, camera/camcorder, electronic fax machine and a freaky-futuristic-ceefax-machine... all in a dinky mobile phone handset. Who'da thunk it 15-20 years ago? We're already living in the future in so many ways that we take for granted every day.