January 30, 2006 4:00 AM PST
Yearning for color on laptops
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But if you're looking for the ultimate in customization, some companies will provide shiny paint jobs for laptops. An Oregon company called Smooth Creations is taking its expertise in painting flashy designs on cars to the PC world. The 15-year-old company started painting desktop cases for individuals and PC enthusiast companies like Alienware and Hypersonic PC about five years ago, and expanded into laptops about a year and a half ago, said Chris Eddie, client services manager at Smooth Creations.
Customers can choose from
Potential customers should be aware that customizing a laptop with one of these paint jobs might cause problems if that unit needs support later on from a larger vendor like HP or Dell. Smooth Creations strips the notebook down to just the plastic elements in order to paint the chassis, Eddie said.
An HP spokeswoman said there was no specific policy in the company's warranties about disassembling a laptop, but if an individual or a third-party company damaged a notebook in the course of painting it, HP would not cover that damage. A spokeswoman confirmed a similar policy regarding Dell laptops. Smooth Creations' Eddie said his company would fix or replace anything damaged by its workers for free.
Consumers looking for flashy laptops will probably continue looking outside the mainstream PC industry for style and flair, Bajarin said. Given the thin margins of the PC business, large companies are interested in keeping costs as low as possible, and customization raises costs, he said.
"Consumers buy on cost, and while you can potentially upgrade them to a bigger hard drive or perhaps one with a bigger screen, you're going into new territory with pink or yellow or blue," Bajarin said.
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