January 29, 2004

pc notebook design

What is it with PC notebook designers; especially their need to clutter up machines with application-specific hardware buttons?

I’m likely headed into the market for a new notebook in the next few months, and I’d love to find a 15” widescreen notebook that has just a bit of the design sense of the aluminum Powerbook. EMachines, Toshiba and Gateway all offer reasonably priced 15-inchers, but all of them manage to clutter up their ID with all these damned buttons… Who uses their laptop as an MP3 or CD player when the clamshell’s closed? Who uses hardware buttons to launch office applications? And do we need an “i” button to connect to the Internet or the hardware provider’s (lame) support website? What is it that compels notebook designers to shift functionality that most appropriately belongs in software out into the design of the machine itself?

Is there no market for a 15” Powerbook PC wannabe?