Despite the tightening of belts all across the globe, computer manufacturers are obsessed with the concept of style, building ultra-thin, expensive machines fat with flair and aimed toward the budgets of the elite. The tease of Dell's latest iteration of its Adamo laptop -- which purports to be even thinner than Apple's MacBook Air -- is another pistol shot in an increasingly competitive race to build the sexiest, thinnest, heroin chic laptop out there. But the race feels hollow and nearly pointless.
Details on Dell's anorexic Adamo are scant. The Web site says only that it is 0.4 inches thick, compared to the Air's relatively bloated 0.75 inches. The Adamo's screen measures 13 inches diagonally, and the laptop weighs 3 to 4 pounds, just like the Air.
Keep in mind that Dell insisted on calling the product a "design concept" and wasn't clear if it actually plans on producing a laptop that thin. Still, what's important is that the idea is there. Dell believes there is still a market for high-priced luxury laptops, and competitors will very likely trace Dell's footsteps and build gaunt machines of their own.
Already Intel is introducing low-power processors designed for ultra-thin laptops. The Intel Pentium SU2700 is bred for use in sleek laptops that are as light as netbooks but have larger screens and greater functionality. Samsung released the $2300 X360-34P (catchy name, no?) that weighs only 2.8 pounds. MSI has its X-Slim 340, clocking in at 20mm at its thickest point, slightly bigger than the Air's 19mm thickness.
So is there actually a market for these devices? Before the MacBook Air price drop, many considered its $2000+ price tag and its lack of features constituting a failure. Dell's Adamo feels like a stunt, an attempt at winning the Guinness Book of World Records award for thinnest possible laptop. In this economy, it almost seems destined to fail outside of small, elite groups of consumers who are less interested in pinching pennies than they are flaunting sexy tech. Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming Adamo makeover, and keep an eye on how long it actually stays on the market.