We posted a review of Gateway's latest slim tower PC this morning, the
Almost every desktop vendor has a small, capable, affordable PC that can serve as a living room system. Gateway's SX line is arguably the strongest, as it has consistently offered the best value in speed and features from model to model. Considering both the apparent popularity of this category, as well as the SX line's success, Gateway was poised with the redesigned SX2851-41 to ignore the temptation of Intel and Microsoft marketing dollars and opt out of their respective badge programs. Instead, it let the opportunity pass, leaving the world with yet another aesthetically compromised Windows system.
Gateway is not the only culprit guilty of failing to adjust its design for the living room. HP's
Apple, of course, stayed true to its design roots when it made the switch to Intel CPUs in 2005, and left its Macs badge free. That decision helps keep the
In a way, the Windows PC ecosystem is caught in a vicious antidesign cycle. Despite repeated attempts to compete with Apple at the high-end, high-margin market segment, mainstream Windows vendors still rely heavily on high-volume sales for their revenues. That means competing on price, and if your competition can undercut you with the subsidy it gets from sticking a 1x1-inch Microsoft logo on its systems, you run a risk if you don't take the same handout.
Still, Windows vendors have shipped unbadged PCs before. Dell'swas admirably unadorned. HP also left the logos off of its old . Those systems both traded on a certain design and mystique, and commanded high enough prices for Dell and HP to risk forgoing the badge marketing income. Would it be impossible for a desktop vendor to design a similarly striking living room case that would remain relatively affordable, but also generate enough consumer enthusiasm to succeed sans badge? We'd love to see someone try.