30
Oct 09

Dell’s quest for cool

Lap to Adamo, lap to Adamo: Ouch

Lap to Adamo, lap to Adamo: Ouch!

Dell is a company that really wants to be edgy. Witness the design of the ultra-thin Adamo XPS.

Unfortunately, Dell is also a company that easily gets lost in the pursuit of edgy. Witness the design of the ultra-thin Adamo XPS.

So far they’ve only hinted at a release date. But when it arrives, Adamo XPS will arguably be the world’s thinnest computer. It will also be the first laptop that dares you to use it on your lap. Its ingenious hinge design lifts the keyboard up to an ideal typing angle when opened — and seems to point its armor-piercing screen base directly into your knees.

Hmm. Maybe there’s a reason no one’s dared to do this before.

Dell has also revealed that the Adamo XPS comes with a revolutionary electronic latch. To unlock it, you simply slide a finger across the heat-sensingadamo5 lock, which then sexily illuminates and invites you inside. Of course, since its latch is electronic, the Adamo XPS can’t be opened at all if the battery runs out of juice, even if you just want to take a peek at the stickie you left inside. (Ultra-thin crowbar available separately.)

Thoughtful design is what people fall in love with. As Dell and others inevitably discover, that’s the kind of design that doesn’t come easy.

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  • flash forward to the future, post Adamo release…

    commuter gets seat on crowded train, needs to do some work and show off his new ultra-thin Adamo…

    carefully and slowly removing and setting it up, they look around, take in the appreciative glances, start to type that email that just couldn’t wait…

    train jerks to a stop…

    hands push down on the sleek keyboard…

    ultra-thin spine snaps…

    goes to store, spine not covered… buys Acer…

  • moral: design is a tool. use it wisely.

    too ‘edgy’ and you’re trapped and dated.

    too ‘classic’ and you’re not worth the purchase price.

    you have to be like Goldilocks and find just the right mixture of form and function…

  • Steve

    Okay, the keyboard design appears a bit funky but I love the built-in coffee maker.

  • but it only makes demitasse…

  • Marian

    What’s up with tilted keyboards? Why does everybody think they are ergonomic? Do people understand how human hands work and why RSI happens?

    Another example of great product that was ruined by forward tilting is the new ultra-slim apple keyboard. With zero tilt it would have been awesome.

    Tilted keyboards is probably one of the things common wisdom fails to get a grasp on.

  • ken segall

    @Marian:
    You know, that’s a great point. When I referred to the “ideal typing angle” of the Adamo XPS, it was a reflex reaction drilled into me by all the other keyboards that have laid claim to a more natural positioning for the hands. But here I sit, typing happily on my dead-flat MacBook Pro, as I have forever, without the slightest bit of discomfort. Are we abnormal?

  • “Of course, since its latch is electronic, the Adamo XPS can’t be opened at all if the battery runs out of juice, even if you just want to take a peek at the stickie you left inside. ”
    Almost as bad as trying to open the door of a Porsche Boxster when it’s battery is dead. You can’t charge the battery without opening the door first, and you can’t open the door with a dead battery.

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  • I concur that flat keyboards are the most ergonomic if something is sitting on your lap. You can type all day, and your wrists don’t do much more work than if your hands were just sitting in your lap.

    Basically, the angle needs to always be so that your wrists are straight, not bent. So if this laptop was sitting on a coffee table way out in front of you, that might be the perfect angle. For the lap? No.

  • Peter

    My iPod touch (and iPhone) hide nicely under the Bluetooth keyboard.

    A thin stack of sticky notes would also work.

  • Chris McDonnell

    I agree with the wise commentators who have posted previously. This “ideal angle” leaves the wrists in a pronated position, which is not “ergonomic” in any sense!

    The idea position actually is more like a “handshake position” (as proven by any biofeedback studies which measure nerve irritation in the various pronated or supinated positions). All Dell had to do was read a few articles online before ruining what was probably a great product.

    What a shame. I will stick to my “neutral position” laptop and continue with my Goldtouch add-on, one of the few truly split keyboards still available. There is a difference between true ergonomics and ergonomics used solely for marketing purposes – those which in fact can do MORE harm than good. This is just another twist to Segall’s term, “astroturfing.”

  • Chris McDonnell

    P.S. What Dell did was look at the many laptop stands available in this market – those which raise the height of the screen to an ergonomic level (good – prevents neck bending forward) yet also put the keyboard in an unergonomic position (pronation – bad) – and just mimic the model to piggyback on the original, “half-way ergonomic” benefits!