Microsoft Launched A New Tech Trend: Trading In Futuristic For Friendly

Posted: Oct 31 2017, 11:56am CDT | by , in Technology News


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Microsoft Launched A New Tech Trend: Trading In Futuristic For Friendly

Computers Covered in Fabric: A New Trend Launched By Microsoft?

Early in 2017, Microsoft launched a new product: the Surface Pro Laptop. Doubling as a studio and a tablet, the Surface Pro comes with a touchscreen as well as a precision pen – perfect for drafters, photographers, and artists. You can write with it and draw with it, and they’ve even created a special feature that allows you to angle the pen for shading.

The Surface Pro comes with its own stand, and you can lean a thin keyboard up against it and type as if you were using a full sized laptop. The hybrid tablet-PC is made of sturdy aluminum and glass, so it will last for years to come. Oh, it also comes wrapped in fabric. Alcantara, to be exact. Why not? Most cars are already covered in Alcantara.

“You can’t put fabric on laptops; no one puts fabric on laptops,” said some early testers. Well, Microsoft did, and they’re not alone.

Fabric is the new future of gadgets

Although critics aren’t sure Microsoft is moving in the right direction, covering a laptop in fabric is actually a pretty cool move. It’s softer, and probably has more grip than the standard sleek metal shell. It might even provide more shock protection when dropped.

Google is also introducing consumer electronics covered in fabric. Early in October, Google introduced the public to the Google Home Mini – a $49 smart speaker wrapped in gray, dark gray, or coral fabric. It’s just like the Echo Dot, except it’s smaller.

The Google Home Mini can do everything the Echo Dot can do: set timers, reminders, check the weather, and convert measurements. You can even hook it up to a Chromecast-enabled speaker to play music wirelessly. Set for launch in December, this fabric-covered gadget will be making its way into millions of people’s homes.

Why fabric?

It’s easy to see how fabric covered gadgets add style and comfort to electronics, but the bigger question is why? Why cover home electronics in fabric? What’s the big deal about making them comfortable?

In the past, companies presented their products as futuristic. They were made with hard, boxy plastic and square, shiny metal. Today, the game has changed to promote the friendly side of consumer electronics. What’s more friendly than placing knitted fabric over your laptop and speakers?

It’s hard to say exactly what these companies are up to, but they wouldn’t both be moving forward with such a bold move if it wasn’t backed by some kind of data. Perhaps they’ve tested the market secretly and discovered something they have yet to share.

We spend most of our time with electronics

The idea of making consumer electronics comfortable does make sense when you think about how much time we spend using them. A Nielson study revealed that adults in the US spend an average of 10 hours and 39 minutes on their computers every day consuming media. Another analytics company, Flurry, reported that 5 of those hours are spent on mobile devices.

It’s just a theory, but perhaps the more comfortable a device is, the easier it is to market to the consumer using it. If consumers are spending a majority of their time on mobile devices, we’ll be seeing fabric covered smartphones and tablets soon.

Comfort and health are equally important

Fabric-covered electronics provide us with a comfortable way to interface with our devices; maintaining the comfort and health of our bodies is equally important. If you’re glued to your electronic devices for ten hours a day, make sure you take care of your body, too.

Doing simple yoga routines will help maintain your spinal health. You can find them on YouTube for free. If you’re experiencing pain from sitting or standing for too long, adopting the principles of Ayurveda can be helpful.

According to a physical therapist who uses Ayurveda to treat her patients, “An Ayurvedic lifestyle not only remedies the physical presence of pain, but the mental and emotional presence of it as well.”

Ayurveda works by encouraging health through diet, lifestyle, and environment. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach; each person requires a different plan according to their body’s constitution in order to achieve balance. It’s worth checking out.

Is fabric here to stay?

There’s no guarantee that fabric covered devices are here to stay, but if they are, it opens the door for a wide range of new textures that may be coming to a smartphone near you.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/68" rel="author">Larry Alton</a>
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.




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