Dell 'Concepts' include Modular Laptop

John Lister's picture

Dell has unveiled some creative ideas for new computers and gadgets to meet changing use demands. However, it's only calling them "Concepts." At the moment and there's no guarantee any of them will become available to buy.

Perhaps the most credible is Concept Luna, a laptop that's easier to repair and thus more sustainable. The goal is to make it easier to replace specific components rather than having to buy a new device altogether.

Historically that's been difficult with laptops as the components need to be packed much tighter together than in a desktop case, making it more fiddly to make changes other than replacing batteries.

Battery Life Extended

The Luna design includes several changes such as making the screen easier to remove and, if necessary, to replace. Doing so also allows easier access to several key components.

The design also has some changes with less direct environmental benefits. One goal is to reduce or even remove the need for a fan to cool the device. That in turn extends battery life and reduces the need to both buy a new battery and dispose of the old one. (Source:

The obvious question is whether such a design is in Dell's financial interests or if it's better to keep people needing to buy replacement laptops more often. That might depend on whether such devices boost its brand appeal.

Dell also revealed two devices with specific uses. Concept Pari is a small wireless webcam that can attach to surfaces magnetically. The idea is to overcome the awkwardness of using a laptop or fixed webcam, for example when moving around a room or trying to show things that aren't directly in front of the screen.

That may find an audience, though recent changes to software such as Skype to support a single account using both a webcam and a phone camera at the same time could achieve similar results.

Handwriting Turns To Text

Meanwhile Concept Stanza is a tablet-style device for drawing or taking notes and turning handwriting into text before immediately and wirelessly sending it to a PC. That's a pretty specialist use and the concept itself doesn't seem that original.

Finally, Concept Flow is the vaguest idea. In simple terms it means better use of short-range wireless connections to make it easier to switch between mobile and static working without unnecessary hassle.

Dell paints a picture of a custom-built office desk. A user could walk in, put their laptop down, and have it immediately begin charging and connect to a monitor, mouse and keyboard, with no wires required. (Source:

Dell even suggests motion sensors could detect when the user has left the room and then shut down devices including the laptop. It sounds convenient, though it seems like a situation where having an idea is much easier than making it a reality.

What's Your Opinion?

Do any of these technologies appeal? Which do you think is most likely to become a real consumer product? Should tech firms concentrate on creative ideas or improving existing products?

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Chief's picture

The problem is, if a 'modular' laptop were available, using standard size mobo's, etc, there would be physical limits.

This would make it difficult to improve on weight and size.

I am at the point where I would love to update my laptop as it is >10 years old, but where is the advantage to the sales stream?

Not saying it's impossible, but unlikely.