This weekend I received a Sony VAIO PCV-LX910 Slim Top computer in for review. It came with what has to be the coolest 15-inch LCD display I have seen. While the display sports a maximum 1024 x 768 resolution at 32-bit True Color, integrated Harmon Kardon multimedia speakers as well as dual USB ports on each side of the display’s small footprint base station, what is truly cool about the display is its built in capabilities exactly like that of a Wacom graphics tablet. The 15-inch display also serves as a graphics tablet. I’ll say it again; the display is the graphics tablet. It works with Adobe Photoshop, Elements and all the other popular graphics applications, can be positioned to fit your drawing style, and is small enough to sit in your lap as you create your art.

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While this technology is not new (I looked at a tablet PC called the Qube a year or so ago), it is good to note that a company such as Sony is making the effort to coddle the creative artist with its brand of PC. While Sony has been in and out of the PC business, its crop of VAIO computers (I first saw the VAIO concept at COMDEX in 1996. Back then it was just like any other PC), have been targeted at the creative side of consumer computing.
There is a lot of technology out there to assist users in their creative endeavors. While there have always been software apps and hardware apps to help create art, never has there been so much of it. Computer companies are responding to consumer’s appetites to create original art, be it touched up digital photographs, creating original music with an application like Sound Forge, or building digital video projects. Hardware is moving forward at an incredible pace, and software companies are responding with applications to meet the demands of users.

Some companies are going to such lengths that they offer an entry level, intermediate, and advanced version of a category of software. PC companies are responding in kind, often times bundling the lite or limited edition versions of software to let users get their feet wet with the application. Even Apple Computer, which in the past was known to ship just a bare bones computer with no creative applications, offers its own brand of video editing software with its line of Macintosh computers. This is all good. Not only do these practices give the user a chance to explore the software as well as their creativity without investing huge sums of money on the full blown app, it gives the software developers the needed forums to showcase their product to potential future upgraders.

Bundling the creative tools, even in lite form, benefits everybody.

The PC manufacturers get the added value, the software developers get more customers and potential upgrade candidates, and the end user gets not only a PC but a creative «workstation» to explore the world of digital video, 3d animation, web page creation, digital imaging, and music creation. This was virtually unheard of during the heyday of Windows 95. The drive to enhance creative tools marches on and digital artists continue to benefit from it all.

The digital seeds are being planted right now. The next generation of filmmakers and musicians are cutting their teeth on off the shelf computer systems and software that empowers them to create their own digital masterpieces.