WePC.com offers a chance to crowdsource the desktop

A 20+ inch widescreen laptop with pen interactable screen and low resulotion double layered cover for the screen itself so you can have an image or a screensaver visible like a part of the rooms design or just to make it look more interesting when you play up music. The keyboard iself shall almost be detached from the laptop itself so that it can lean forward more and/or grow in lenght becauseits really really irritating to write on them during any lenght of time. A pair of supports shall be retractable in the back to give a more natural writing position and help with the airflow on flat surfaces. Remember to make things just a little more durable then you think is needed. Built in webcam, speakers and recorder is a must.

The quote above, typos and all, is a description of Twilight, one of the “Dream PCs” being proposed as part of an online brainstorming session hosted by Intel and Asus. Twilight and a number of other user-generated concepts are being featured on WePC.com, which the two companies say they will use to influence future product designs. Visitors to the site can comment and vote on the features or designs they admire, which would in theory allow the best ideas to rise to the surface.

This project is an example of crowdsourcing, and not a bad one at that. I would have been more excited if Intel and Asus had managed to get any actual desktop or notebook OEMs on board. Perhaps Dell, which already has a site called IdeaStorm to solicit customer suggestions, feels it doesn’t need another outlet, but HP and Lenovo could certainly benefit from this approach. It’s becoming accepted in media circles now that it’s no longer up to an editor alone to determine what his or her audience needs. I imagine that same trend will hit PC manufacturers before they’re completely prepared for the transition.

The tricky part of crowdsourcing, of course, is managing expectations. Already there are designs for a PC that integrates with a ghetto blaster, which may not have enough appeal to justify the costs of production. Like Nike and other companies that allow consumers to order their own custom sneakers, however, there might be some market in limited-edition WePC models.

I found it interesting that WePC.com is focused so squarely on the consumer side of departmental end user computing, as though business PC users no longer exist. Although it might not attract the same level of traffic, why not set up a site called OurBusinessPCs.com that carves out a niche for IT managers and others that procure computing devices for their enterprises (Note: our sister site InfoWorld has made forays in this area with its “Perfect Laptop” project). Perhaps WePC.com is another way of emphasizing the infiltration of consumer technologies into the workplace, and that vendors will have to offer as many features around personal use as they do business functions.

“There is no limit to creativity,” one of the partners in WePC.com told the BBC. If that’s true, business users should come up with at least a few ideas for a better machine to help them get their jobs done.

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