September 2, 2007 Philips and Swarovski announced their intention to work together to fuse fashion and technology in April this year and the first fruit of the collaboration was shown today at IFA 2007 in Berlin. As digital technology becomes all pervasive, it is inevitable that there will be a market for luxury technology and the Active Crystals collection directly addresses this need, beginning with the release of four USB Memory Keys and four headphones. The only problem is, the Active Crystal range of memory keys is not future-proofed.
The in-house design teams at Philips and Swarovski joined forces to create the new line of ear-phones and USB memory keys made of silver and transparent crystal. Whilst the new object are undoubtedly beautiful, we have the same fundamental problem with spending large amounts of money beautifying a memory stick we have mentioned many times previously – the 1GB capacity sticks being worn in the catwalk show at the Philips press conference are arguably insufficient in size already and thumb drives of that size are routinely given away as hand-outs at press conferences. A few years ago, such drives were 16 MB, then 64, then 128, then 256 and a few years from now, the PR people will be handing out 16 GB and 32 GB etc thumb drives with their press releases on them. If the perceived usefulness of a 1GB thumb drive is already in the “beads and trinkets” category, we suspect Philips and Swarovski may indeed be “gilding the lilly.”
Finally, while we’re raining on their parade, we might as well get all our thoughts out there – putting crucial files into a small, attractive and vulnerably positioned target for thieves is kinda dumb in our book.
That’s not necessarily true with the headphones and earbuds – with digital media players seemingly headed for ubiquity, it’s only human that we should wish to personalise our kit the sparkling personalities we all have, and high quality, attractive personal sound preferences are the way of the future.
Swarovski is world-renowned for its crystal expertise and the beauty and quality of its jewels and decorative objects. The new “Active Crystals” embody Swarovski’s beautiful design and Philips’ in product design expertise – but 1GB just isn’t enough, and in a few years, when file sizes have grown, the limitations of a single gig of data will make the thumb drives all but useless.
Our take - luxurious and fashionable electronic accessories for women need to be future-proofed with the ability to upgrade them to keep up with the exponential bang-per-buck growth of solid state storage.
The Active Crystal ear-phones come in four varieties, named Space, Icon, Mirage and Amazone respectively.
Space is a discreet form of luxury featuring a facetted crystal moulded in the silver metal of headphones fitted to the ear. In contrast, Icon is accented by a dome of facetted crystal. Lightweight (20 grams) and set with elegant transparent silver coloured fabric cables, the ear-phones are fitted with comfortable rubber pads. The Mirage cushioned ear hook headphones fit around the ears, with the polished stainless steel body of the ear-phones adorned with an oval-facetted crystal navette covering a rubber cushion, completed by a silver coloured fabric cable..
The Amazone in-ear headphone necklace is fashioned with grains of silver metallic beads and closed by one magnetic cylinder. On one side, the clasp can hold a featherweight MP3 player; the other side features two headphones in silver metal and facetted crystal. Providing outstanding concert like sound and isolation against external noise, acoustically tuned Neodymium micro drivers deliver powerful balanced sound to the centre of the ear.
The USB memory keys Heart Ware and Heart Beat are worn as fashionable pendants. Connected by a silver cord, the keys take the form of hearts in polished silver metal in an asymmetric facetted crystal, or in metal decorated with crystals created with Swarovski’s exclusive Ceralun technique. Each heart opens to reveal the 1GB USB key.
The Lock In and Lock Out memory keys attach to a key-chain or a loop on a wallet. Blending silver metal and crystal, these USB memory keys blend silver metal and crystal into a sophisticated design. The cylindrical body of Lock In is covered with facetted crystal baguettes while Lock Out is studded with Ceralun crystals. Simply press on the side of the cylinder to release the key from its case.
All four models are protected by a user password to protect sensitive information. The Active Crystals collection are available in department stores, consumer electronics retailers and Swarovski stores as of August 2007.