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The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Steve Hamm

Personal computing has reshaped economies and industries, and is transforming how we express ourselves and relate to one another. The most personal of personal computers are the portables. We carry these gadgets with us wherever we go, whether they�re … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Steve Hamm
Genre: Business & Investing, Computers & Internet, Science
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
1 review about The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to...

"Perfect" is a Moving Target

  • May 7, 2009
  • by
It's probably no exaggeration that you take for granted your laptop, desktop, mobile phone, or smartphone. And you may think that Apple has always led as a designer of exceptional electronics. While Apple is certainly a leader in design, it isn't the only computer company that seriously uses design to bring consumers leading edge electronics. In The Race for Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer, author Steve Hamm provides you with an intimate account of the development of the Lenovo X300. Interspersed with the story of the X300, Hamm revisits the early days of portable computing, moves through the development of several products and brands, and ends with the rise of the smartphone. After reading this book, you should have a new appreciation for your computing devices.

Chapter 1: The Quest
Chapter 2: Dynabook and the Legacy of Xerox PARC
Chapter 3: Compaq versus Apple
Chapter 4: Thinkpad
Chapter 5: Yang's Dream
Chapter 6: Kodachi
Chapter 7: The Dream
Chapter 8: Hype, FUD, and E-Marketing
Chapter 9: Very Small Computers
Chapter 10: The Convergence Converges
Chapter 11: The Future of Portable Computing
About the Author

Steve Hamm, a senior writer with BusinessWeek, was granted unprecedented access to the Lenovo X300 (code name: Kodachi) development team from concept to manufacturing. Starting with a vision of a handful of individuals, engineering new technology to include in the "perfect" notebook, and the use of bloggers to drive interest, the X300 comes to life and becomes one of the most successful product introductions of the Thinkpad line. But it wasn't easy - innovative parts, like solid state drives, and the release of the Apple MacBook adds suspense to the story. Even after it was released to glowing reviews and more demand than they could supply, the designers of the X300 knew that there was more that they could have done with the notebook. The quest for perfection continues.

While the story of the X300 would have made this an enjoyable book, Hamm makes this outstanding by revisiting early portable computers, like the Tandy TRS-80, GRiD, Dynabook, and Compaq LTE, the people that designed them, and the inclusion of mobile phones and smartphones. The amazing aspect is the thread of people that move through each of these stories; they were giants then, and remain so now. Their vision and designs are still being used today, as technology and engineering has advanced to allow their ideas to become realities. Further, you will appreciate that solid design principles, led primarily by Apple and IBM/Lenovo, and now used by all manufacturers, create products that allow people to connect on a personal level with their devices.

A well written, fascinating look at the development of one notebook, while providing excellent history of the notebook line and the future of portable computing. Highly recommended to anyone interested in business, computers, design, collaboration, or social networks.

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