It would seem, why think about design when it comes to computers, especially business PCs? But time dictates its own rules: the new generation of “millennials” attaches great importance to the design of devices. Moreover, young people are increasingly moving away from understanding the workplace in the concept of “desk, computer, monitor and phone.” Mobility, work anytime and anywhere, laptops and smartphones, instant messengers and video communication – that’s what they bring to the work environment.
Manufacturers of corporate computer equipment are already actively adjusting their product lines to reflect the new reality. For example, HP, which has always strictly separated consumer and business devices, has introduced many developments from the consumer part into its commercial line, radically improving their industrial design.
Five years ago, commercial HP equipment was quite bulky. These were fairly heavy, solid designs with metal chassis and a multi-layered lid construction. However, in the last two years the situation has changed: advances in the production and processing of various materials have opened up new opportunities and led to a significant drop in prices. This made it possible to start using in the mass segment those materials that were previously used only in expensive equipment. In particular, this applies to aluminum and aluminum-magnesium alloys, which are used in the HP EliteBook 800 and 1000 series.
“Industrial design” is an important part of the creation of any modern device. it includes three main components: aesthetics, ergonomics and engineering solutions. Let’s talk about each in more detail.
Good design solutions can always be identified by the recognizable style in which all devices in the line are made. The style consists of such details as the selection and processing of materials from which the elements of computer technology are created, the palette of colors used. First of all, this applies to laptops, but it also affects other types of equipment, from monitors and system units to keyboards and printers.
In the production of corporate equipment, high-quality safe and durable plastic is used, and in older models – metals: aluminum and magnesium. The special surface treatment of the case and the screen makes them less easily soiled, moisture resistant and simply pleasant to the touch.
In general, questions of pleasantness and ease of use of computer technology are the second component of industrial design – ergonomics. When designing business laptops, for example, several dozen small but important details are taken into account. This is a thoughtful arrangement of connectors, a high-quality comfortable keyboard, inconspicuous, but very effective seals to protect against liquid and dust.
Even such a moment as the ability to open a laptop with one hand can be a task for industrial designers that requires long searches and original solutions. Separately, it is worth mentioning the docking stations, which can significantly increase the communication and computing capabilities of laptops. They should also be a match for laptops – stylish, compact, comfortable.
As work with client focus groups has shown, in industrial design, any little things are important, or rather, they do not exist at all. For example, sometimes it is important for the user where the connectors are located so that the wires do not interfere with work. For this purpose, on HP business notebooks, the main connectors are located on the sides of the computer closer to the screen.
Still, corporate computers should differ from home ones, and first of all – in terms of resistance to external influences. Business PCs tend to be overburdened. Laptops can work for days, travel with employees in all climatic zones, freeze, fall, get wet in the rain.
In the concept of industrial design, HP invests various engineering solutions aimed at increasing the efficiency of the laptop.
- This is a strong and durable hinge design that connects the laptop case to the display.
- These are special cooling systems for ultra-thin cases, when the metal case itself is used as a large heatsink.
- These are solutions that protect the device from cold, water, shock, vibration, drops. The simplest example is a rubberized frame for the screen matrix so that dust and sand do not get inside the laptop.
- These are solutions that facilitate the upgrade and maintenance of equipment: the optimal arrangement of components and convenient access to the internal connectors of the device without laborious disassembly and special tools.
The same grade of aluminum used in the aerospace and architectural industries is used in enterprise laptops, and magnesium, pioneered by HP in laptops, adds to the lightweight design by being 34% lighter than aluminium.
Today, the body of a business laptop in most cases is made of two parts, plus a matrix cover. These parts, like the lid itself, are made of aluminum. Moreover, they are not stamped, but machined from a single piece, which enhances their strength.
Such a case can be processed in any way, and it is strong enough to abandon complex multi-layer structures. Aluminum makes it possible to polish the surface of the laptop, apply images to it and thus produce really elegant things. Due to the use of this material, it was possible to achieve significant improvements in the design of devices, to reduce the weight and thickness of the laptop while maintaining all consumer and strength parameters.
Thus, industrial design plays an important role in shaping the office infrastructure of the future – computers that correspond to the PC 2.0 concept.
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