It's what's inside that counts

If you care about what goes into the technology you're buying, this will be a year that will bring more choices.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

As a tech journalist, it's always a gamble taking vacation during the week of the Consumer Electronics Show. On the other hand, being able to step back from the chaos is good for your sanity. It also allows you to see potential trends in the making for the 12 months to come.

When I waded through all my email this morning, one emerging trend leapt out right away: The commitment by manufacturers to focus this year to continue eliminating environmentally unfriendly materials from their products.

The most blatant evidence of this is the new HP Compaq 8000f Business PC from Hewlett-Packard. The company is touting the product as the first Microsoft Windows PC to be free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from "the wall to the mouse." The system is also designed to be up to 30 percent more energy-efficient than previous models and is Energy Star certified in any of its configurations. (Sometimes, only certain models in certain product lines from certain product manufacturers are actually Energy Star or EPEAT rated.)

The company's new HP Compaq LE19f and HP Compaq LA22f widescreen monitors are also BFR-/PVC-free, which I am sure will be used as a major selling point against their competition.

Considering the fact that many businesses delayed their desktop/client system upgrades throughout 2009 AND that they are now considering total lifecycle, including responsible disposal, in their purchasing criteria, I think it's a safe bet that you will hear more not just about energy efficient (which was the big mantra last year) but about the total materials footprint of new systems introduced in 2010.

This will extend to all manner of peripherals and accessories, as well. An example is new notebook carrying cases from Mobile Edge, which are made out of a polymeric material from DuPont called Sorona that is made out of corn-based materials. The material supposedly requires 30 percent less energy to produce than equivalent nylon made out of oil and petrochemicals. They don't sacrifice on style and design, either, which makes a difference when you are trying to make a difference.

If you care about what goes into the technology you're buying, this will be a year that will bring more choices.

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