© Paul Atkinson All rights reserved

P. Atkinson, Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware,

London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

256pp, 150 colour illus.

ISBN 9780857853479

"Paul Atkinson’s DELETE is a veritable design museum of what might have been in computer products. The abandoned concepts and prototypes that serve as his well-chosen exhibits attest to the evolutionary nature of technological development, complete with failed experiments and extinct species from which much can still be learned. In all, Atkinson makes a compelling case that the word vaporware need not always be considered a pejorative."

--Henry Petroski, author of The Evolution of Useful Things and To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure.

"DELETE is a stunning addition to the literature of the history of technology. This book is the first to engage with the important topics of industrial design and product failure in the computer industry, although its lessons have a much wider resonance. Deeply researched and lavishly illustrated in colour, it is a pleasure to read and to browse."

--Martin Campbell-Kelly, emeritus professor of computer science, Warwick University

"For Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware, Professor Paul Atkinson brings together his extensive knowledge of design practice and design history. He has an eye for exploring new and important narratives and its one of my favourite books for 2013."

--Professor Catherine McDermott, FRSA Kingston University, London

"If you hadn’t already noticed, design criticism has a few major blind spots. Atkinson is one of the few who are working to cover these gaps. Delete introduces devices that you will never have seen first-hand, but whose indirect presence have played an important role in the way we all live with technology, both at work and at home.The book is full of vital images and marketing material for products that we would otherwise be unlikely to view; Atkinson’s accompanying text doesn’t make light reading, but it is full of hard-won research and fascinating detail. Delete may seem to be the preserve of the anoraks, but it is also an important precursor to that discussion; as an act of recuperative design history it has a great deal of value. "

--Peter Maxwell, Grafik


While most historical accounts of the development of computer design focus on specific computers or manufacturers, examining the success stories of hardware and operating systems, Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware creates a completely new narrative by investigating the machines that didn't make it.

Fascinating, full-colour images of computer designs, many of them previously unpublished, are accompanied by the hitherto untold stories of their planning and development, the pitfalls and successes in their creation, the market and competition at the time and the reasons why they never finally appeared for sale.

Appealing both to a broad audience and to a more specialist one of designers and computer historians, Delete, with its unique collection of prototypes that never made it to the market, depicts a technological world that might have been.

More inormation about this book can be seen on Bloomsbury's Website.