One of my first jobs was as a consumer technology PR girl. It was the early 2000s, and my job was to convince the media that gadgets were an integral, and fashionable, part of our lives. At the time, it was a tough sell, but today I can’t I flip through a glossy magazine without seeing supermodels browsing Vuitton-clad iPads.
In 2011, there’s no doubt that our tech choices are fashion statements. And, like any good fashionista, naked gadgets don’t make the statement I want. Which is why I spent time this week debating what statement my newest acquisition, a Kindle (love!), would make. I love to read and travel a ton, so I knew my choice would be making a lot of public appearances and needed to tell the world that I am more chic than geek. Sadly, I was quickly learned one of the cruelest challenges in the techno-fashion world: form vs. function.
All of the “cute” covers were just that, nice to look at. And the most practical, functional covers? Not so nice to look at. After much Web surfing, I ordered two options: a Kate Spade designed to look like Dickens’ Great Expectations, and a colorful, but plain, pebbled leather cover designed by Amazon. When they arrived, I played Kindle dress-up. I REALLY wanted to like the Kate Spade best, it was the prettiest, inside and out (don’t forget, what you’ll be looking at most often!). Yet, the less-special Amazon version won out.
Why? Beauty and brains. It looked good and made the Kindle more functional. Unlike the Kate Spade, a simple elastic latch kept the case closed and protected the screen from the scratches just waiting to happen when I shove it in my oversized purse or carry-on. But the coup de grace, a built in light that makes reading in bed or darkened plane cabins super easy! Yes, I could purchase a light accessory for the Kate Spade, but that meant carrying and powering one more thing. I have enough trouble remembering my keys AND my wallet. The last thing I needed was to worry about accessories for my accessories. Annoying.
So, what’s the take away? Sometimes you need to judge a book cover. And, when selecting the accessories that make your gadgets work it, it’s not enough that they look good, remember they also need to work for you.