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June 15, 2010

Netbooks Hit the Runway -- Computer Clutches as a Fashion Fad?!

By Erin Monda, TMCnet Contributor

The fashion industry is worth well over $20 billion in annual revenues, so it makes sense that some tech companies would consider a makeover. Hewlett Packard leads the pack with its release of a designer notebook, the HP Mini 210.
 
I presume our reader base is comprised mostly of men, with some women sprinkled in there, so let me explain something that you may or may not know.
 
Many women, fashionable women, will not balk at paying $1,200 for a pair of Jimmy Choo or Christian Loboutin pumps. Choo. Loboutin. To many among our demographic these words probably sound like horrible diseases - but they are brands instantly recognizable to fashionistas everywhere.



 
Now, if they are willing to pay that much for a flimsy stiletto heel, what's to stop them from blowing a cool k on the newest, trendiest, fashionable it gadget?
 

Hewlett Packard is testing the waters of this theory and has chosen a well-known designer, Vivienne Tam, to bedazzle its newest netbook. The bronze-glazed keyboard and butterfly embellished cover are stylish indeed - and so is the matching mouse.
 
Retailers like Staples and Microsoft (News - Alert) have begun offering the HP 210 Butterfly Lovers netbook on their websites, but so has Anthropologie - a trendy, high-end clothing retailer with an eye towards classic and vintage styling (Anthropologie doesn't advertise, so don't worry if you've never heard of it.)
 
Anthropologie describes the netbook as the following: "Vivienne Tam's metallic gold, butterfly-adorned mini laptop is where function and fashion meet, going beyond mere computer to become a must-have accessory. Featuring Windows 7, Beats Audio, and even a web cam that turns the screen into a digital compact mirror, its slim, sleek profile is utterly portable allowing you to work, play and connect all while you're on the go."
 
A "must-have" accessory? A digital compact mirror?! Sounds like its worth its $598 price tag (News - Alert). A price tag that is merely double the cost of the clothing sold on the rest of the website. A paltry sum, by that comparison... since it is also a fully functioning computer.
 
One reviewer left a glowing recommendation: "Ever since I saw it on SATC2, I had to have one!' SATC2, for you techies, means Sex and the City Two, the questionably-good movie that grossed over $200 million worldwide. The netbook was featured in the film, which made viewers aware of its existence - some of whom went out afterwards to buy the product.
 
The concept of fashionable gadgets might sound ridiculous, but if you still doubt the value of investing in this trend, I have one thing to say to you: $20 billion.







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