What's Up With Retro Tech?

By Alexis C. Madrigal

The Times takes a stab at explaining why retro electronics are hip these days. Can't say any of the theories on offer do it for me, but it's a nice trend piece about a bunch of cool-looking gadgets.

So what's the appeal of the latest electronics wrapped in a retro design, like full-size jukeboxes that are really $4,000 iPod docks and manual typewriters reconfigured to work as U.S.B. keyboards? Has anyone ever said, "It's a nice Ferrari, but it would be cooler if it looked like a covered wagon?"

There are theories: the throwback designs make challenging technology seem familiar. For the technically proficient, an old phone handset that connects to a cellphone seems comically ironic. Retro designs can also give a sense of permanence to disposable devices. Some of it is art.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/whats-up-with-retro-tech/68485/