HP Netbook Struts The Catwalk At NY Fashion Week


New York Fashion Week audiences caught a glimpse of HP’s newest netbook, the HP Vivienne digital clutch, set to debut in the spring with Tam’s spring 2010 collection

Just as power suits transitioned away from dark, dull and boxy, with the growing influence of women in the workplace, so too are laptops slimming down, lightening up and being designed with a more stylish clientele in mind.

This trend was in evidence on 12 Sept, when fashion icon Vivienne Tam sent her models walking down the runway at New York City’s Fashion Week holding her latest collaboration with Hewlett-Packard, the HP Vivienne Tam digital clutch.

The “clutch” is a netbook with the look of an evening bag, and features a Tam-designed theme called “Butterfly Lovers,” reportedly based on a classic Chinese love story. It’s a peachy-tan, with an enormous orange, Monarch-ish butterfly dominating the netbook’s cover, beside two smaller butterflies with yellow and pink accents.

“I’m excited to partner with HP again on a new design that truly embodies my inspiration for the new spring collection,” said Tam in a statement. “When women around the globe carry HP’s digital clutch and wear my clothes, I want them to feel beautiful and confident.”

Tam’s previous effort with the computer maker, titled “China Chic,” debuted at 2008’s Fashion Week and was a hot-hued, velvet-looking theme of pink and purple peonies on a blood-red background. It featured a 10.1-inch-display, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, 60GB of storage and the Windows XP Home operating system. The price tag — rather high-end for a netbook — was $699.99 (£420).

Butterfly Lovers will comes at the same price, though the specs of the device are yet unknown. It will arrive in spring 2010, along with Tam’s spring line.

“With her spring collection, Tam debuts HP’s next tech must-have,” said HP’s Satjiv S. Chahil, in a statement. “Products as beautiful as those Vivienne makes deserve to be presented in an inspiring, unique retail experience, so we’ve extended our partnership to showcase in line in Vivienne’s SoHo boutique.”

Other beautiful and recent PC efforts include Dell’s Adamo — something of a long-limbed beauty, dubbed the world’s thinnest laptop at its 17 March release. And along HP, competitors such as Dell these days also offer notebooks in a range of colors meant to add personalisation — and some prettiness — to the silver-and-black universe of PCs. Apple, which lately sticks to snow white and metallics, was an earlier innovator, with its candy-colored iMacs in the late-90s.

“Acer also offered some colors at the very beginning, but they were very muted mauves and turquoise, which — if they didn’t match your interior, what were you going to do with those?” Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK. “They weren’t very bold about it, and it didn’t work out for them.”

Kay points out IBM’s use of black with red accents, but says that Apple, with its bold use of color, gets the credit for making color an important feature and a “dramatic dimension.”

As for the HP Tam digital clutch, Kay says it creates an upmarket halo effect over HP.

“In other words, I don’t know how many Vivienne Tams HP will sell, but it creates a halo over the HP line overall, which is a good thing for HP,” said Kay. “For what you’re getting, though, you’re really paying a premium.”

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