Future of Desktop Computing?

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Several NoBeige.com readers pointed us towards what maybe the next coolest trend in desktop plastics and design. Here’s the deal according to a recent Packard Bell press release (“Packard Bell PC Moves Away From The ‘Beige Box’“):

The Z1 is a slate greyish-green and light grey-colored computer made of a new plastic material that looks like metal. It has a wireless keyboard and minimal wiring for an easy-to- set-up system. The keyboard has mouse functions built into a new mouse key, but a separate mouse can also be used.

The Z1 is built around Intel Corp.’s new 450 megahertz Pentium III processor. The 15-inch flat panel screen is attached to the chassis where the easily removable 8.4 gigabyte hard disk drive is located, along with a DVD-ROM drive and built-in speakers. It will be available in early August in North American computer retail outlets.

The base of the Packard Bell NEC Z1 measures just 10 inches (25 cm), or about the size of a standard piece of paper. This, combined with the thin monitor makes the new Z1 five times smaller than the conventional desktop PC, Packard Bells said.

It weighs abut 20 pounds, or less than half the weight of a typical PC, and minimizes wires by requiring just two connections — a power cord and a telephone line.

Other features include a latch on the back of the display that enables consumers to upgrade the 15-inch monitor to 18 inches, and a wireless keyboard design that incorporates several multimedia functions.

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We can’t help but admit that flat-panel screens and wireless keyboards are just very very slick. Of course, it does sort of remind us of a modern version of the much-fabled Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh… Anyway, the NEC Z1 sells for US$2,499. If Packard Bell can ship this, we’d love to see Apple’s vision of the future of desktop computing.

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