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Mid-life crises come to laptops
The smell of high octane fuel is wafting through the PC industry, as notebook PC manufactures loiter around Grand Prix pit lanes hoping to make friends with the big names in motorsport. Jon Wilcox wonders what's going on.
At the German IFA expo last week Toshiba announced a laptop partnership with superbike manufacturer Ducati, resulting in a special edition Satellite U500 (pictured above) and companion HD video camera. Underneath its textured black or white case and Ducati badge, the notebook packs enough punch to make it around Monza in record time thanks to its Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53GHz processor and 4GB RAM. Toshiba is yet to announce a price for the laptop, but if some of its contemporaries are anything to go by expect it to cost upwards of £1,500.
But mid-life crisis laptops weren’t restricted to the Berlin gadget-fast. Today, Acer unveiled the latest contender likely to be found in Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond’s rucksack, the Acer Ferrari One. Sporting a Ferrari red livery and prancing horse badge, the pricey (yet hypersonically nimble) netbook is powered by an AMD Athlon X2 L310 and an ATi Radeon 3200 integrated graphics chipset. Expected to launch on 22 October, coinciding with Windows 7’s arrival, the Acer Ferrari One has a price tag of €499 (£436)!
Earlier in the summer, Acer’s Taiwanese competitor Asus lifted the curtain on its very own supercar-branded notebook, the Asus Lamborghini VX5. Priced at around the £2,000 mark, the VX5 was showcased at London’s Lamborghini garage alongside the rest of Asus’ products. Like its Acer Ferrari and Toshiba Ducati cousins, the Asus/Lamborghini love-child is crammed full of high specification technologies, including a 1TB hard drive, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 processor, a 16” high-definition display... and case details such as leather-sewn palm rests and framed audio speakers. Tasteful.
Whilst the availability of such laptop/supercar hybrids will no doubt appeal to those currently in the midst of the male menopause, we can’t help but speculate about the appeal of special edition PCs based on classic British computers and car makers. How about the Amstrad Robin Reliant, or Evesham MG Rover, decked out in walnut-effect plastic dashboard trim?