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Secrets behind the development of ultra-lightweight LaVie!

"The Ultrabook™"LaVie Z" with a 13.3 inch wide liquid crystal display from NEC has been released exclusively in Japan. This LaVie Z is amazingly light!

It weighs far below 1 kg and is just 875 grams. This makes it the lightest notebook computer with a 13.3 inch wide liquid crystal display in the world (*), and has been covered by a lot of computer magazines and other media.

With this in mind, I went to ask and delve into the secrets behind its light weight and development!"

  • *NEC Personal Computer Survey as of July 3, 2012
    LaVie Z is on sale only in Japan.

Picture: Interviewee Mr. Masayoshi Suzuki

Manager in charge of public relations at NEC Personal Computers. A passionate public relations professional who watched over "LaVie Z" from its development right through to its commercialization.

  • MitaNice to meet you, Mr. Suzuki. Thank you for your time today.
  • SuzukiNice to meet you, too. Here, this is the LaVie Z. (putting one on the desk)
  • MitaWow. It's so amazingly light!
  • SuzukiWhen I was being interviewed by PC magazines, I showed them a prototype and a lot of them asked me whether it was a mockup for a photo shoot. It seems that everyone feels it is unbelievably light.

Photo: LaVie ZThe "LaVie Z." So light that it is mistaken for a mockup for a photo shoot (photo of prototype)

  • MitaLaVie Z is certainly the lightest notebook computer with a 13.3 inch wide liquid crystal display in the world, isn't it?(*). Which leads me to ask, why did NEC think of making a notebook computer like this in the first place?
    (*)NEC Personal Computer Survey as of July 3, 2012
  • SuzukiThese past several years, NEC has, if anything, made personal computers geared towards the family market. Each of these has been popular. However, on the other hand, we had not put out any radical product with an outstanding specific function. We considered it a perfect timing for us to put onto the market an innovative slim, lightweight Ultrabook featuring fast processing.
  • MitaI understand that the choice for key elements for incorporation would comprise slim design and fast startup speed, but why were you particular about its light weight?
  • SuzukiWhen we conducted a survey into what users wanted, we found that they wanted "lightness". Many voiced the opinion that there are many slim notebook computers but they were disappointed at how heavy they are when they actually held them in their hand. So, we decided to aim at the lightest computer in the world. So saying, I must emphasize that other manufacturers are not cutting any corners when it comes to lightness. We knew that this would be the fiercest of competitions, though everyone thought that if we could make a product that is overwhelmingly the world's lightest, it would be a great catalyst for people to learn about NEC's technology.
  • MitaSo, you were intent on creating a world-first product from the outset, then. By the way, what's the average weight of a 13 inch wide notebook computer?
  • SuzukiBefore the LaVie Z, the average weight for a 13 inch notebook computer was 1.3 kg. At the end of 2011, one manufacturer put on sale a model in the 1.1 kg class.
  • MitaThe LaVie Z weighs 875 grams, so it's more than 200 grams lighter.
  • SuzukiYes. I'm often asked if we had to make it that light. Initially, we considered breaking the 1 kg barrier as a step towards attaining the leading position in the world. Yet, since we were competing with various manufacturers, there was the possibility that we would lose out by a 5-gram margin even if we succeeded in breaking this 1 kg barrier. On the other hand, one of our company executives went as far as to say that "There's no need to put out the product if we can't get first place in the world." In other words, we were given the motivation to secure the position of being the world's leader. The whole development team was feeling the same emotion of wanting to prove what they were made of. So, just breaking the 1 kg barrier would not be enough. In order to win with certainty, it was decided that we should set our sights on a goal of lower than 900 grams.
  • MitaI understand that notebook computers are made as light as possible from the outset. So, how did you manage to shave off an extra 200 grams or more?
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