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 several different metallic paint jobs or order special effects like color-shifting paint, Eddie said.

Another high-tech painter, Colorware, specializes in adding color to Apple's Macs, iBooks and iPods. The company is looking into expanding its offerings to Dell's laptops, a representative said.

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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13 comments

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Laser etching...
You can have your Powerbook laser etched. Very cool looking...

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.etchamac.com/powerbook.php" target="_newWindow">http://www.etchamac.com/powerbook.php</a>
Posted by egarc--2008 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wow. hideous.
nuff said
Posted by H A R L O (9 comments )
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Remember "Screenies"?
Remember screenies, those frames that used velcro to attach to your monitor? They had all sorts of designs.

You don't remember them? huh.
Posted by cagerattler (72 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Color on Laptops
I think this is great.
Posted by laney22 (1 comment )
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Finally lap top with personality.
Now my laptop has personality like me, finally its not going to look so getto with all the stickers.
Posted by 209654225939673666349103569994 (1 comment )
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Laptopmods is a site dedicated to laptop modding
Just wanted to point out that laptopmods.com is a great site with a gallery of peoples attempted and completed mods of thier laptops. also some good articles on the site, and some good tutorials in the forums. Some of the paintings in the gallery are amazing, as good as some of falcon northwests custom artworks
Posted by SSilver2k2 (1 comment )
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News worthy?
Running out of real news to publish? Fill your quota of MS bashing today?

Really what percentage of laptops will get custom paint jobs? Less than 1%?

Most people see a laptop at a tool to get something done. Or as an appliance. My toaster is a boring steel color.....maybe I should paint it blaze orange. How about my Sony DVD player under neath my TV....is a ugly silver.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
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Loss Prevention (Re: News Worthy)
Since I use my laptop in public, I do lock it, but feel that anything I can do to personalize it, be it decals, stickers, logos, etc, will make it less attractive to a thief, since I would be able to more easily ID it walking away.
Posted by jmyluck (1 comment )
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Re:News worthy?
Yes, most laptops are used as tool for business, but not all. Laptops are also used by college students and others that don't have space for a desktop. Or they want portability over flexibility. My point is that you shouldn't necessarily give up customization. Hey if you want to paint your toaster blaze orange, that's up to you. I've seen worse.
Posted by chrismdonahue (3 comments )
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customization is a future theme
To declare my interest, I have a company that provides custom laptop skins to order (aspoke.com).

Anyway, my point is that although the quality and the price of goods these days are good, everything looks pretty much the same, because of mass-production and consolidation. It makes sense that people want to have something that looks different. We've seen it particularly with mobile phones in Europe - a lot of the phones are quite similar, but users make an effort to customize them with covers and ringtones. Customizing the laptop is a natural extension of this. (Plus, it's a useful way of identifying yourself if you're speaking at a conference.

And on a final note - if you do want to paint your toaster blaze orange, be sure to use a heatproof material

Best,

Antoin.
Posted by antoinolachtnain (1 comment )
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Custom Laptop Covers
Custom Laptop covers in Las Vegas is doing the same thing. Check them out at customlaptopcovershq.com, the site is up but still under construction.
Posted by tceleset (1 comment )
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Amen
Finally a little color in our lives. I bought a silver car before silver was popular and now it's just a bland, boring color. I'm sick of silver everything. My new cell phone is a black Razr. I'd rather it be Blue.

My recent Dell Inspiron 9300 purchase came with a quick snap personalization shield that is black leather. It looks really good although I would have preferred the copper or burnt orange color that Toshiba laptops offer. I would have bought that for the color alone if the screen had been better.

NEED MORE COLOR IN LIFE. Not everything is an appliance to everyone.
Posted by thedaddy54 (2 comments )
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Custom Color and logos
GEN-X-PC.com has custom colors available and custom logos all very inexpensive and they will have proofs back to you in less than 1 day in most cases. Here is a link to examples of the colors and several examples of great logos:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.gen-x-pc.com/note_color_chart.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.gen-x-pc.com/note_color_chart.htm</a>

They say they use automotive paint available in metallic and pearl finish. High gloss, semi gloss and flat clear coat options. Color shifting paints and even Ultraviolet paint.
Posted by cgp99 (2 comments )
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