A lot of activity lately around gadget and laptop personalization. Zune will be launching a service tomorrow allowing customers to buy their Zune with a laser etched design on the back and a few lines of text. There are only a limited number of designs available from well known artists.
Not a laser, but related: You can buy iPhone skins of colorful designs from DecalGir.
Recently, Etchstar launched. This service has some similarity to the model I am working on with my little side project Etch Connection — which has stalled horribly since starting b-school. I had spoken to a guy over at Etchstar (previously iStyleCustom) about my providing consumer generated designs for use by his laser etching service, but they have gone off and created their own supply of designs. Their approach looks pretty slick: they are an authorized Apple seller and therefore, you can order your new Macbook or ipod from them and choose one of their designs to be etched. Or you can mail it in, which I would imagine is not a terribly popular choice. Or you can go to their LA location and get it done. Designers will soon be able to submit their own designs as well.
With Etch Connection, I am hoping to provide a centralized, service-provider-agnostic source of designs which have been submitted by anyone. At this point, if you live in New York or Boston, you don’t have much to work with in terms of designs unless you know some artist types or are one yourself. That’s where Etch Connection should come it.
If I ever launch it, that is.