Never one to miss an obvious literal-minded publicity ploy, Intel Corp. has put a wireless-enabled Tablet PC in a surfboard. It’s so you can ‘surf’ the Net while waiting for the next wave, you see.
This is the first time such a thing has been done (and we confidently predict, the last). It is also probably the least ‘portable’ of portable computers ever devised, putting even IBM Corp.’s early efforts in the shade (if you know different, please tell us).
The board was launched (literally, we assume) to coincide with the recent GoldCoast Oceanfest surfing and music festival in Croyde, a surfer-magnet village near the beach in North Devon, U.K. Intel sponsored the festival and provided hotspots on the beach. After this, we suppose the thing can only be used in hotspots at Starbucks or McDonalds, which should raise some eyebrows.
As you would expect, such a wild and crazy (not) idea is being promoted by a wild and crazy guy. Step forward, international pro surfer Duncan Scott.
“As a professional surfer, explorer, writer, film producer and world traveller,” said the modest chap (surely he left out brain surgeon, diplomat and Buddhist Zen master?), “being able to communicate quickly and effectively is critical to my success.” Scott is an “Intel Ambassador,” meaning he uses the image of surfers as cool dudes to promote the use of Centrino technology (presumably for a fee) — thereby unfortunately utterly destroying the image of surfers as cool dudes.
Real-live surfers recently discussed the product on the SurfMagic.co.uk forum. One participant, Scott Andrews, wrote that, knowing his own surfing habits, he wasn’t sure the computer would last very long. “(I) guess it’d depend how often you used it, where/when you used it, et cetera,” he wrote.
Another surfer, identifying himself only as “prawn from the outer reef,” called the launch a gimmick. He wrote, “Surfing is my meditation, my time to forget about all that bullshit” — presumably meaning anything related to computers, work or productivity. “What about the weight and when you land a big floater or something? … Oops, just broke an expensive computer!!!”
The PC won’t mess up the ride and feel of the board, said its builder, North Devon board shaper Jools Matthews of Gulfstream Surfboards. And since it is a Tablet, waterproofing it wasn’t a problem. Although we wonder how easy it is not to lose your stylus out in the ocean.
Intel launched a “Wi-Fi chair” last year, which used wires “liberated by the Wi-Fi revolution” to upholster a futuristic-but-ugly clear plastic chair. Not to be outdone, Microsoft Corp. last year announced an Internet toilet, then tried to convince everyone it had all been a joke.