Microsoft looks over "next-gen PCs"

  • Los Angeles (CA) - Recently, Microsoft held a contest to see who could come up with the best new age PC design.  $25,000 went to two winners who really thought outside the box.

    The contest was held from August 15 to December 18 2006, and Microsoft announced the winners this week.  The Chairman's Award winner went to John Leung for a PC design titled "Made in China", a "No CPU, No Hard drive, No Graphics Card, & No Sound Card" computer, controlled by a chopstick-like stylus.  The idea is obviously targeted at the Chinese population.

    The equally prestigious Judge's Award went to Christianne LeBlanc Livingston and Maarianne Goldberg.  They created "Blok", a computer designed for kindergarten students that, when idle, can be folded up into a plastic block.

    Both winning entries netted the top prize of $25,000.  Other notable runners up include Allen Wong's and Matt Conway's BulbPC, which took the judge's second place prize of $15,000.  The BulbPC is the size (and shape) of a desk grommet hole, which Wong and Conway say could help unclutter office desk space.

    Kenneth Wu took the third place $10,000 prize with "Zeed+ for the Future", which has the design of a pen holder.  Each "pen" carries a function of the PC, like a video or sound card, making it simple to replace or upgrade individual components.

    Finally, the last prize winner was Zhu Fei, who took home the public choice award for "Light up your Life".  Fei's design is a computer tower that looks somewhat like a lava lamp, though he gave scant details about the potential power of the PC.

    "Microsoft has an ongoing interest in innovative PC design as new designs can help create a better and more complete PC experience that extends beyond the software to include the entire computing package," said Microsoft OEM marketing manager Kevin Eagan.