By Simone Mandelli // Global Product Marketing Manager on February 26, 2010
Filed: PC Peripherals
Laptops have outsold desktops for several years now and this shift has altered the way we use our computers. We’ve watched this evolution closely here at Logitech, talking to laptop users to see what they like about their laptops and what could be improved. And, while the added portability of laptops is undeniable, time and time again, two main issues show up as areas of concern: discomfort caused by poor posture and issues involving heat.
As the global product marketing manager for our laptop accessories, I’ve been fortunate enough to help develop an entire line of laptop stands and lapdesks to make laptop users’ experiences more comfortable. And, I thought it might be interesting to let you know what led us to create some of these products.
Several years ago, when we started asking questions about how we could improve the comfort and ergonomics around laptops, we first looked at how to improve peoples’ posture at the desk, where most of us used to spend the bulk of our time with our laptop. That’s when we came up with an entire line up of laptop stands that would raise the screen to eye level for better posture. And, with the addition of a wireless keyboard and mouse we were able to create a desktop-like setting where each piece could be moved and repositioned to wherever you found it most comfortable.
While developing this new line-up, we continued to listen closely to our customers. We learned that hey were shifting from areas designed for productivity – the desk – to their comfort zones, like the couch, the floor, and the bed. This new trend seemed to find its root in the fact that people wanted to be able to multitask. They wanted to socialize with the rest of their family, even if they needed to be on their computer.
To improve the laptop experience for this on-the-lap scenario, we developed the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk N500. By appearance, this is a simple product: it provides a stable base and a barrier between laptop heat and your lap. To provide a comfortable foundation, the cushioned base is designed to remain stable in a variety of positions so there’s no need to sit unnaturally with your knees locked together to support the computer. Also, a 12-degree angled riser positions the notebook to a height that supports neck and leg comfort (when used in a seated position) and the curved design allows for natural airflow between your lap and the lapdesk.
In our continued research, we heard more and more people complain about heat – heat damaging the laptop batteries and heat from the notebook creating discomfort on peoples’ laps. This led to the development of the Logitech Cooling Pad N100, which improves airflow around the notebook using an extremely quiet, low power-consumption fan.
We had also identified that approximately 35% of home laptop users who prefer to use their laptop away from the desk had a frustration about not being able to use a mouse while moving about. The Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315 was created to solve this pain point, with a retractable mouse pad that provides ample space for mousing. Its thin, lightweight design makes it easy to store or pack in a bag. It provides a stable base for the laptop and helps keep laptop heat away from your lap, legs and knees, while an anti-slip top secures the laptop firmly in place and is easily washable.
Finally, with the newest addition to the lapdesk family, the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700, we took the knowledge we’d gained from creating the products described above, conducted more research to find areas of improvement with the laptop and looked into emerging trends that could give us some insight into any changes to how and what people use their laptops for. We had solutions to the comfort and heat problems and knew that we would need to address these issues in the new product, but at the same time we wanted to address another issue that affects a large number of laptop users – audio quality.
Thanks to the array of online services today like Hulu, Netflix, Slingbox and Pandora, there are many entertainment options for laptop users. But when it comes to sound quality, the tiny embedded speakers usually don’t deliver enough power to fully enjoy a TV show or music video. The Speaker Lapdesk N700 features two built-in, high-definition speakers with vented chambers that put the user in the center of an immersive theater-like sound zone. It can be used in various locations throughout the home – without the hassle of disconnecting and carrying speakers from place to place.
The all-in-one Speaker Lapdesk N700 also features a nearly silent cooling fan that takes air both from the back and from the bottom for unobstructed airflow. It connects via an included USB cable that powers both the fan and the speakers. Soft, textile pads are tightly connected to the bottom of the N700 to help keep your laptop in place and a tilted design puts the screen at an easy viewing angle, even if you’re lounging on the couch. On top of all that, because the fan and speakers are integrated into the design, the Speaker Lapdesk is easy to carry when you’re moving from room to room.
And that is a comprehensive look at our line of laptop stands and lapdesks. We’re always thinking about further improvements in this area, so if you have feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to share them.