If you’ve ever wanted to be thin, you’re not alone.
The beauty and auto industries have historically used “skinny” to sell lifestyle dreams. While beauty and auto brands are using more discretion in their advertising now, the “skinny” concept has but changed partners—except instead of washboard abdominals and slender legs, technology brands are touting the thinnest, most portable electronics as their trophies for good health. For many consumers, technology brands sell a more immediate, attainable lifestyle and consumers are paying attention. Words like “sleek” and “slenderized” are used to describe electronics from laptops to razors. With a focus on design, presentation and innovation, the luxury technology channel becoming an extension of users’ desires and needs while fashionably revolutionizing a new “thin”. Who knew that technology would have become a status symbol?
The concept that the thinner the technology, the more luxurious, more relevant, and successful the individual is an Apple phenomenon. It was Apple that successfully marketed retail experiences beyond price points and other technology brands are vying for a similar fortune. These brands are using innovation as the point of entry into that same luxury space. Recent product announcements at CES 2012 reveal some of the latest attempts of technology brands to crack the luxury market using the “Thin Code”:
Here’s a round up of the latest in thin tech we’re excited to see develop.
Thin TV: Organic-LED TV
AT CES 2012, LG Electronics offered details about its new 55-inch O-LED TV. According to LG, the new display will be the world's largest OLED TV and will feature an extremely small bezel on the edges at 4 millimeters thick, which is thinner than most smartphones, and weighing 16.5 pounds. It also boasts minimal energy consumption.
Skinny Smartphone: Paper Phone
A result of research at Queen's University in Canada, the e-paper prototype Paper Phone has a 3.75-inch thin-film display and developers call it the world's first flexible smartphone. It can do everything a smartphone can, like make calls, display electronic media, store a list of contacts, and play music. The prototype is based on E-Ink technology and is about the thickness of a conference badge. It is used by bending the corners to turn a page, squeezing it to make a call, and writing on it with a pen.
Reduced Laptop: Rolltop
Although the concept of a bendable, roll-up laptop has been around for a while, Germany's Orkin Design has recently made tweaks to the prototype that make this concept a real-life possiblity. The Rolltop laptop proposes a flat panel display wrapped around a cylinder core using O-LED and touchscreen technologies to form a notebook, tablet, and monitor.
Statistically, more consumers are using mobile technology to buy things, share information, and research according to SHIFT: How Consumer Behavior With Mobile Technology is Changing the Game For Retail and Brand Marketing, so it makes sense that gadgets would shrink. As long as consumers continue to multi-task life and work, mobile will be relevant and “thin” will have an abundant market. Still, as technology brands push for skinny technology, they must remember to follow the leader. Apple’s success isn’t because it offers the newest and the best in every category. Its focus on user experiences—even at the retail level, its ability to translate and anticipate consumer needs, and communicate solutions to them are what make Apple luxurious. Technology brands would do well to emulate this formula and take it a step further considering their own unique core values and goals. Without these considerations, technology brands will be only as relevant as their last product and thus risk making themselves their own greatest competitor.
In your opinion, which technology brands are offering “thin-novation” but missing the mark of enhanced user experiences?