Scented, other 'fashion' PCs hit the catwalk

Type-and-sniff computers may be just what seemingly smell-obsessed teens are nosing around for
  • (Computerworld)
  • — 29 August, 2008 03:45
 The Gateway M-6867 notebook is a $900 Vista Home Premium PC with a 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage and more. But it's the garnet-red case that makes it stand out from other midrange consumer notebooks.

The Gateway M-6867 notebook is a $900 Vista Home Premium PC with a 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage and more. But it's the garnet-red case that makes it stand out from other midrange consumer notebooks.

  •  The Gateway M-6867 notebook is a $900 Vista Home Premium PC with a 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 4GB of RAM, 320GB of storage and more. But it's the garnet-red case that makes it stand out from other midrange consumer notebooks.
  •  The Ego Orphine is for the woman who has everything -- except a laptop computer disguised as a Swarovski crystal-encrusted Italian leather purse. This AMD Turion 64-bit laptop also has a bass reflex stereo system. Not that that's why you would buy the Orphine, made by Netherlands-based Ego, which hasn't disclosed a price yet. But as the saying goes, if you have to ask, then you probably can't afford it.
  •  The Sony Vaio LT's airy, minimalist look extends Sony's reputation for design. The $3,000 high-end version is also a media PC through and through: It comes with a wall-mountable 22-in. LCD widescreen, a Blu-ray Disc recorder, a cable-ready HDTV tuner, a 1.5TB hard drive, a 2.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 4GB of RAM and Windows Vista Ultimate.
  •  The Dell Studio Hybrid is a mini-desktop that comes encased in sleeves of one of six colors, or even real bamboo, as shown here. To go with its green-sounding name, the $499 (monitor extra) Hybrid also uses 70% less energy than conventional desktops, despite sporting an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
  •  The 4-lb. IdeaPad U110 is button-downed Lenovo's lightest, flashiest notebook PC. Befitting the Chinese company, the IdeaPad's textured aluminum lid comes in fire-engine red. The $1,900 laptop comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 (1.6 GHz) processor, an 11.1-in. widescreen, a 120GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM and a DVD recorder.
  •  The Flybook Notebook VM is mounted on a rotary spindle that can be positioned at any angle, while the styling is allegedly inspired by luxury sports cars. The 3 lb., Intel Core Duo ULV 7600 also has high-speed GSM data connectivity built in for international business travelers. The Taiwanese company has priced the Flybook at $2,899.
  •  The Asus Lamborghini VX3 is the third version from this Taiwanese-Italian partnership. Befitting the Italian sports car, the VX3 is a pricey machine, with a street price of at least $3,200. What do you get besides the yellow, mirror-like case, Lamborghini logo and leather-bound palm rest? A 2.5-GHz Intel T9300 chip, a 12.1-in. LCD screen, 64-bit Vista Ultimate, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard disk and a fingerprint reader for added security. All in a fairly petite, 3.7-lb. package.
  •  The Dell Studio Hybrid is a mini-desktop that comes encased in sleeves of one of six colors, or even real bamboo, as shown here. To go with its green-sounding name, the $499 (monitor extra) Hybrid also uses 70% less energy than conventional desktops, despite sporting an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
  •  The Asus F6V is a $1,300 Intel Core 2 Duo notebook that comes in a choice of four colors and an accompanying scent. This ebony version emits a "Musky Black" cologne imbued into the clear plastic film wrapped around the laptop case. Other scents are "Floral Blossom," "Aqua Ocean" and "Morning Dew." Scents last from three to six months. (Photo courtesy of Microsoft Corp.)

No two industries appear more dissimilar than those of PCs and fashion. One has long been marketed on style, the other on function. One is dominated by female consumers, the other by male buyers.

Yet the shelf life of high-end tech gear is as ephemeral as the latest fashion trends. And there are clear examples of industry crossover: the importance of style to Apple's success, or the recent interest in "geek chic."

At the PROJECT Las Vegas fashion trade show this week, Microsoft is trying to bring the two worlds together, strutting its partners' coolest PC designs before fashionistas and style divas.

"People are into style, into how they and their clothes look. Why not be into the PC they carry?" asks Rob Poznanski, senior marketing manager in the OEM division at Microsoft.

One innovative PC on display in Las Vegas this week is the new Asus F6V, which emits one of four scents matched to the color of the machine's case. The scents range from "Musky Black" to "Bloom" (pink), "Aqua Ocean" (blue) and "Morning Dew" (green).

The scents were developed in Taiwan, in secret, for a year, reports Forbes.com.

Asus, which has ridden the success of its Eee PC, a mini, ultracheap laptop, to the No. 6 spot worldwide among laptop vendors, according to IDC, developed a heat-transfer printing technology in order to imbue a clear plastic film with a scent. The film is then wrapped around the notebook. The scent lasts from three to six months, depending on the weather it is subjected to.

The US$1,300 Intel Core 2 Duo-powered laptops are aimed at people in their 20s "who like to attract attention and show off in their Facebook photos," an Asus representative told Forbes.com.

While scent-emitting laptops may sound like a lame gimmick like Smell-O-Vision, they could prove popular with the young, trend-conscious customers Asus is apparently targeting. Air fresheners such as Febreze and Glade that are designed to look like CD players and "play" scented "discs" are fast growing in popularity among teens and college students, especially girls, The New York Times has reported.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
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