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Jan 11, 2008
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Geek gear goes haute couture at consumer electronics show

By
AFP
Published
Jan 11, 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Jan 11, 2008 (AFP) - Gadgets have gone from geek fashion to haute couture with the debuts of crystal encrusted USB drives and Giorgio Armani-designed mobile telephones at the Consumer Electronics Show stage.


Myvu personal media viewers are on display at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, 07 January 2008
Photo : Robyn Beck/AFP

The star line-up of gizmos at the world's largest consumer electronics show ending Friday, January 11th, in Las Vegas was rife with innovations that mixed style, technology, and immediate gratification.

"We look to the fashion and auto industries for inspiration," Samsung marketing director Nelson Allen said at CES while unveiling flat-panel televisions accented with colors and curves.

"We are designing in colors of wine and shapes of wine glasses."

In a room lined with white fabric, Philips introduced lock and heart shaped silver lockets encrusted with Swarovski crystal and housing USB computer memory keys.

Philips also unveiled crystal-backed silver ear-bud head phones complete with silver-colored cables to plug into MP3 players, mobile telephones or other devices.

"Finally, something for the woman," Evelyn Sepulveda said as she cradled one of the Philips "Lock Out" lockets in her hand at the Philips booth.

Elsewhere on the show floor, Samsung let exhibit-goers caress Armani mobile telephones, complete with black leather cases, created with the famous designer.

Personal electronics makers are courting people that see gadgets as symbols of status and taste, and have the money to spend on luxury.

"What better to slip into the pocket of an Armani suit than an Armani mobile phone," Samsung spokesman Kim Titus said at CES.

Hitachi added blue and red accents to an array of ultra-thin flat-screen televisions designed to be mounted on walls or rest on table tops like colossal picture frames.

"I want the blue one," Los Angeles actress Tobi Tommaney said with a wave at one of the televisions displayed at the Japanese electronics maker's exhibit.

"It's like art on the wall."

Software titan Microsoft staged a computer fashion competition at CES, enlisting judges from the fashion world to judge gear paraded on a catwalk.

Winners included an Ego Lifestyle laptop computer that closes to resemble a women's rounded, leather handbag with chrome, titanium and lacquer touches.

"Style is everywhere today," said Microsoft marketing executive Nadine Kano.

"We've already seen cell phones reach the status of fashion accessory. The shift we're seeing in consumer PCs is just as inevitable."

Companies specializing in accessories for electronics passionately pitched techno-fashion, with start-ups Vestalife previewing an iPod docking station shaped like a giant lady bug and Built unveiling hip laptop cases.

"We designed the Ladybug for the tween and teen market, but found out mom and dad would like one on their desk," Vestalife's Wayne Ludlum said, referring to children ages 11 to adult.

Vestalife plans to launch the iPod docks at a MacWorld conference beginning Monday in San Francisco.

by Glenn Chapman

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