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Design & Innovation Awards Reflects Global Status of Computex

Creative talent entered the spotlight at the 2009 Computex Taipei design & innovation awards, where 20 product ideas were recognized for design excellence. Five of the entries excelled in particular, winning the coveted gold medal.

"Fulfilling a tradition means to continually and consistently follow a path, to expand it, and to re-evaluate it," said Ralph Wiegmann, director of iF International Forum Design, organizer of the iF-series design competitions. "The second Computex Taipei design & innovation awards, organized by iF in cooperation with Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), are further proof of our successful and outstanding collaboration."

In his comment on the awards Wiegmann admitted that the number and quality of the entries did not yet fully reflect true potential, especially that of Taiwanese firms. He noted, though, that a number of excellent product ideas were submitted and recognized by awards from the jurors. "Design is still one of the most important factors in the highly competitive market of the Computex Taipei exhibitors," the director said. "The emphasis on strategic, sustainable and future-oriented product development--for example in the area of a product's carbon footprint--is the basis of success."

"And it is just as important to maintain and develop the know-how that comes from within a company or a design studio," Wiegmann continued. "This is especially true in these times, when new contracts are more difficult to come by. But believing in innovation and design is the key to great products that will be acknowledged both in competitions and by consumers."

Qualified Praise
"The surprising winners of this year's Computex Taipei design & innovation awards were not designers of standard categories and products from 'the usual suspects', but rather a variety of fresh and new creations," stated Gerhard Selzer, a juror and celebrated German designer. "Among the entries a clear trend could be observed: designers have moved from pure styling to conceptual appearance. This is good news that we can look forward with excitement to the years to come for design created in Taiwan."

Gideon Loewy, another member in the jury and an international expert on creative design, architect, lecturer and journalist, said that generally, the entries this year took neither the route of innovation, nor that of design to distance themselves from the broad market. "On the whole, the entries were competent and neat, but none was outstanding for new thinking in terms of concept, technology, usability, or style. Considering the huge issues facing the world in terms of economic, environment, and social responsibility, it is a pity that no one took the opportunity either to set new standards for the industry through technical innovation or to invest in strengthening their brand image through user-centered creativity and become a new benchmark in a market facing an economic downturn."

"In terms of appearance, some of the entries were quite good, but the details were not considered very carefully and so they were immediately rejected," said Hiroaki Tanaka, another juror this year and a famous and much awarded designer. "This year, we felt there was a lack of fresh technology-oriented items, but we found several good design items that, while not representing advanced technical solutions, nevertheless favorably impressed us by their appearance."

Lawrence Weng, a well-known industrial designer in Taiwan who has worked for many at international information and communication technology (ICT) brands, said: "The award applications this year represent a broad range of industries. They embody cutting-edge technology in their respective fields of expertise and in the IT industry overall. Some of the award candidates presented clever and detailed solutions. I have noticed there were more small and medium enterprises submitting the applications this year and I hope this award competition starts to play a more important role in the IT industry by encouraging more good ideas in various IT fields."

One of the shortest comments came from Marc Nagel, a prominent German designer, who said: "We have seen many different levels of innovation: from purely technical to true design innovations. The great variety of products reflects well through the global status of the Computex show."

The jury chose the 20 prizewinners from the 147 submissions for this year's competition, including five gold-award winners for innovation excellence.

The design competition was open to all the exhibitors at Computex Taipei 2009, as well as all registered IT firms in Taiwan. Product categories included seven major fields: communication products, components and parts, computer systems, peripherals, data storage device/media, optoelectronic display and digital audio/video, and gaming and entertainment. The jury selected the winners according to several criteria: degree of innovation, design quality, workmanship, choice of materials, environmental friendliness, functionality, utility value, safety, ergonomics, universal design, and brand value/branding.

The award-winning products from Taiwan will automatically have the right to carry the 'Taiwan Good Design' label. After a registration process with the Taiwan Design Centre (TDC), a national design center, the winners will receive their GD-mark certification.

This year, the jury did not give a Green Award to any of the competition entries. They would, however, like to encourage companies to go further and think innovatively in this special field.

The following is an introduction to the 20 award winners at the Computex Taipei design & innovation awards 2009, including the first five gold-award wining items.

Prize: Gold Award
Product: Acer Aspire 3935 | Notebook
Category: 03. Computer Systems
Company: Acer Inc., Taipei / Taiwan
Design: Acer Inc., Taipei /Taiwan

Jury statement: At last, we are seeing a notebook that is not trying to imitate a 'look'. Its bodywork is made from pure brushed aluminum. The advantage of this material-in addition to the fact that it is a high-quality material-is that it is resistant to smudging by fingerprints. The notebook not only looks like a quality product, it is also based on quality manufacturing and detailing. The various parts in its construction harmonize perfectly with one another, providing design of the highest quality.

Prize: Gold Award
Product: DHKS-10 | Dual Tray LCD Console Drawer
Category: 03. Computer Systems
Company: Hoeya Technology, Inc., Taipei/Taiwan
Design: Hoeya Technology, Inc., Taipei/Taiwan

Jury statement: This high-quality product is refined and is a joy to use. In a product area where good design is hard to find, the fantastic design and excellent detailing makes this product really stand out. Even though the parts of the dual tray LCD console drawer are not visible within the housing of the device, they are positioned with great precision. It was this attention to detail that really impressed us as jury members. The product manages to successfully bridge the gap between form and function.

Prize: Gold Award
Product: SI-24S | Digital Signage System
Category: 03. Computer Systems
Company: IBASE Technology Inc., Taipei/Taiwan
Design: IBASE Technology Inc., Taipei/Taiwan

Jury statement: The design of this system is particularly pure, simple and functional. Thanks to its simplicity, the Digital Signage System can be manufactured at low cost, since it is made of as few elements as possible. The curved metal sheeting gives it an individual character, which is additionally reinforced by its black and white color scheme. The Digital Signage System proves that, today, less is not only more, but that products of this type can stand out and have the potential to become future design icons.

Prize: Gold Award
Product: SpinQ | CPU Cooler
Category: 04. Peripherals
Company: Thermaltake Technology Co. Ltd., Taipei /Taiwan
Design: Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd., Thermaltake Technology, /Taiwan

Jury statement: This product is about absolutely convincing aesthetic design. The engaging spiral shape elegantly conveys to the user how the device functions. With its sculptural appearance, it is an outstanding design contribution, especially to the accessories market.

Prize: Gold Award
Product: ZEBEX Z-3130BT | Handy Bluetooth CCD | Barcode Scanner
Category: 04. Peripherals
Company: Zebex Industries Inc., Taipei /Taiwan
Design: Aimex Corporation, Tokyo/Japan

Jury statement: Above all, the design of this barcode scanner is based on its ergonomics. The elegantly designed device fits perfectly in the hand and is extremely comfortable in use. In addition to the simple design, the soft control button is responsible for the high user-friendliness of the scanner. It's a device that looks friendly rather than technological, making it more suitable for today's retail sector.

Product Name: Just Mobile(r) Xtand Pro
Manufacturer/design: Just Mobile Ltd.

Just Mobile(r) Xtand Pro is a stylish, sturdy choice for raising your notebook's display to an ergonomic eye level. It helps relieve wrist and neck pain and will also enhance the appearance in your home, office, or studio. Made of solid aluminum, it matches the metal finish on the MacBook, and giving you the comfort of a desktop computer. The additional low profile bar enhances ergonomic comfort without an external keyboard and mouse. Air circulates freely underneath, allowing your computer to run much cooler and quieter. Non-slip rubber pads on the Just Mobile(r) Xtand Pro keep your computer securely in place.

Product Name: PocketCinema V10 PLUS
Manufacturer: AIPTEK International Inc.
Design: Duck Image Corporation

PocketCinema V10 PLUS series are the world's first Multi-Media projectors. Without connecting to a computer, V10 PLUS can directly project and play videos, photos, and music around 50 inches. With the V10 PLUS, businesspeople can give presentations to customers without carrying a heavy notebook. You can play content from video consoles, camcorders, and cell phones. It is convenient and fun. The most amazing thing is you can record TV programs onto the V10 PLUS and later play and project the videos from the device. The V10 PLUS is also a good tool for converting old family videos in digital format.

Product Name: Team Diamond 16G USB Drive
Manufacturer/design: Team Group Inc.

The Diamond (D603) USB disk developed by Team Group Inc. features an aluminum alloy casing with an anodized finish, boldly accentuated with Swarovski crystals to create an eye-catching look of luxury and fashion. The compact D603 is designed with a matchbox styled mechanism that can be easily operated with a slight push and offers no-cap convenience.

Product Name: T806 USB Drive
Manufacturer/design: A-DATA Technology Co., Ltd.

This octopus-shaped USB drive suggests passion and romance with its heart-shaped eyes and pouting mouth design. The T806 comes in light pink and sky blue as a "hers and his" pair, making it a great Valentine's Day gift. Each color of the octopus is equipped with a different magnetic pole. The drives are designed to stick together, as if kissing. They can also be used as refrigerator magnets. The T806 has a cap-less design with retractable connector for greater user convenience.

Product Name: Raven RV01 Computer Chassis
Manufacturer/design: SilverStone Technology Ltd.

The Raven RV01's stealth fighter inspired outer shell is styled aggressively but with a small hint of SilverStone's famed reservation by the use of a matte finish, giving RV01 an unmistakable "wow" factor and lasting appeal. For the interior, a revolutionary layout was utilized to take advantage of a very simple natural phenomenon - heat rise. By rotating the motherboard 90 degrees, air rises up more smoothly over the graphic card area. Equipped with dual 180mm fans and a 120mm fan, the RV01 has excellent cooling power.

Product Name: Touch-Screen Digital Photo Frame
Manufacturer/design: Ablecom Technology Inc.

The Aria HR401T Multimedia Digital Photo Viewer is a friendly storage device that allows users to save digital photos and movies onto a 1G or larger Nan-flash for viewing on the 8-inch, 800x600 high-resolution display. The design embodies a classical simplicity and sense of movement. It has built-in card slots for Compact Flash and SD memory cards and supports most other memory card formats.

Product Name: JetNet 4506-M12
Manufacturer/design: Korenix Technology

1. Exclusive double O-ring mechanical design for EN60529 waterproof standard
2. Complete system closure that prevents cabinet pressure difference exceeding EN60529 dust-tight test standards
3. One-piece aluminum, ideal for heat dispersion in operating environments of -25~70°C
4. Industrial anti-aging O-ring material prevents chemical gas from entering the cabinet, for UL1604 hazardous anti-explosion
5. Robust M12 connectors and 3-axis fixing pillars reaching 50G anti-vibration standards
6. Multi-layer electrical circuit design for low EMC requirement of DNV EN60945
7. Aluminum enclosure for EN60068-2-52 anti-saline erosion
8. Patented redundant ring design for hazardous condition.

Product Name: ZEBEX Z-6180 Advanced Dual-laser Omni-directional In-Counter Barcode Scanner
Manufacturer/design: Zebex Industries Inc.

The Z-6180 offers an ultra powerful solution for extremely high-volume applications such as hypermarkets and warehouses. With dual-laser technology, it scans in 10 directions with 40 scan lines at a rate of 3,600 scans per second. The ZEBEX proprietary Z-SCAN+ hardware decoding technology further ensures superb scanning performance. It has a rugged design with dye-casting housing and IP54 protection against splashed water and dust. Its scratch-resistance window can be easily replaced in the field. The Z-6180 also has a built-in EAS antenna and expandability for an RFID reader.

Product Name: SNA 95
Manufacturer/design: Cooler Master Co., Ltd.

The SNA 95 is designed based on the simple notion to provide Total Power Solution not only for laptop users, but for all USB charged electronic devices. As the slimmest 95W adapter in the world, the SNA 95 is light and easy to carry. The SNA 95 is user-friendly, providing convenient storage and cable management with its unique H-shaped reel base and velvet carrying bag. The SNA 95 also features smart LED identification: white LED for power-on, flickering white LED for protection, and blue LED for USB-charge. The texture and design of SNA 95 is classic and elegant.

Product Name: LM200 Touch
Manufacturer/design: Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd.

The LM200 is one of the most powerful and stylish HTPCs on the market. Designed for living rooms and entertaining environments, the LM200 is an ideal furnishing for your home. With finely finished hair-brushed aluminum front panel and organic spherical appearance, LM200 is not only designed brilliantly but also a joy to the eye.

Product Name: Touch 820 USB Flash Drive
Manufacturer/design: Silicon Power Computer & Communication Inc.

The Touch 820 USB drive has a cap-less design, with the connector rotating out, and a top key ring for convenient carrying. Silicon Power used an advanced chip-on-board technology to give the Touch 820 its small and slim profile. The device is also waterproof, shock resistant and dust-proof.

Product Name: Topeka
Manufacturer/design: Vlaar International Taiwan Ltd.

The Topeka is an aluminum PC (including thin clients) holder with smart "Single Motion Attachment" solution, to protect your PC and valuable data from dust, dirt and damage. Topeka also helps eliminates uncomfortable heat from your working space and frees up desk space. With the Single Motion Attachment solution you simply slide the holder with PC into its bracket and secure it. You can also suspend your PC from the underside of a desk. Topeka's one-size-fits-all design is a convenient solution for storing and improving the accessibility of your PC.

Product Name: Acer Aspire One 7 Series
Manufacturer/design: Acer Inc.

The Acer Aspire One 7 (AO 7) Series is a true anytime, anywhere internet mobile device for heavy internet users. With an 11.6-inch LED LCD and full-size keyboard, it offers the best typing and viewing comfort at minimum load when on the go. The ultra-light and slim AO 7 weighs 1.25kg and measures one inch high. It is a task-oriented internet device offering a deluxe audio and visual experience, integrated Bluetooth (optional), wireless/3G connectivity, and up to eight hours battery life for extended use and reliable connectivity. The I/O port area with unique port angle extends beyond the width cover to allow quick location of ports even when the cover is closed.

Product Name: H9080FD
Manufacturer: Delta Electronics, Inc.
Design: Vivitek Corporation

The H9080FD is the first LED high-resolution home theater projector in the world. The ID design is elegant, with a silver-like center belt and curved front and rear cover. The aluminum focus ring adds a professional, high-end look. The projector also uses environmentally friendly LED lamps as the lighting source, providing rich colors and long lamp life. Images are projected in full HD quality without the large carbon footprint of most lamp projectors.

Product Name: Bone Zoo
Manufacturer/design: FruitShop International Corp. Ltd.

FruitShop adds fun to portable storage with its Bone Zoo line of soft figurine USB drives. In addition to their cute appearance, Bone Zoo drives have a clever cap-free design that adds to the functionality of the devices.

(by Quincy Liang)
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