As the world drools over the latest, lightest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, at least one tech journalist thinks that something's gotta give with this thin trend. Fast Company's Kit Eaton is conscientious in listing all of the frightfully thin devices building buzz at CES 2011 and wonders very honestly if people realize that making products thinner sometimes means missing out on valuable features:
That average Joe may also never realize that innovating thin portable devices comes at a cost. There's only so much room inside a thin, flat machine like a tablet PC for a screen, cameras, glass protection for the screen, the electronics, a battery and a solid, inflexible, hard-to-damage chassis. To get your tablet PC thinner you have to engineer compromises in all of these components. It's a technological tour de force of course, but with the current state of tech it's perhaps easiest to go for thin by making a thinner lithium battery unit--a battery that simply doesn't last as long for powering your device.
By the way, have you seen the new 55-inch LG organic LED television. Like Eaton says, its basically just a screen that you stick to your wall, and boy oh boy is it impressive. "The promising fact: huge OLED screens can be printed onto razor-thin surfaces using a process akin to an inkjet printer, theoretically making them even cheaper to produce than today’s LCD and plasma screens," wrote Mashable's Charlie White when LG released the first images of the gadget. "No question about it: You’re looking at the TV the future, and the question is not if we’ll see these screens available in large sizes and affordable prices, but when." LG's not named a price yet, but because of the way the technology's built, folks think it will be affordable. It's aso very very beautiful:
That TV is pretty. There's no way it's also razor thin, right? Wrong:
Nevertheless, "The Tyranny of Thin" sounds like a real thing, and while we're not too worried about the battery life on a new television -- it doesn't even have a battery -- it can't be a very durable device. And as video games get more interactive, that extra layer of protective glass could come in handy one day.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.