[Donald Dock] [Step 4.1][DISCUSSION] Painpoints and existing products/solutions

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project_donald_dock

#1

*** This post is part of the Donald Dock project development.
*** Please check the master thread for whole project information

Duration: 29.11 - 6.12
Purpose: understand the painponits, good & bad about existing products/solutions

Hi community,

After busy factory manufacturing trip :factory: (not business trip) in China, now I am back to Donald Dock timeline. :sunglasses:

First is the voting result of Step 3.1:

Nearly half of people want middle weight. And both light weight and Superpower weight has about 20% supporters.

Clearly, middle weight kind of dock will be the product type of Donald Dock.
However, like @fanoftech4life said in post 54 of Step 3.1, in the design phase, we can try to make Donald Dock also with good portability, being attractive to those ones voted light weight.

And about eGPU, due to its higher risk and smaller market, we will not touch it in Donald Dock. If V sales really good, we can consider to launch another project for it in the future.

For feather weight, although many people mentioned it in the bundle option, but the volume is still too low and there isn’t much staff to play with for this product type. So we will not include it this time neither, unless we can find a fast and easy solution from the manufacturer, then eve may just directly purchase it from the supplier by adding some eve innovation and design.

Now we move to Phase 4: Painpoints and painkillers (for “middle weight” product type)
Duration: 29.11 - 04.01
Purpose: understand the painponits, problems of current solutions, and design the products details
Output: painpoints and problems, design guidelines, products specs & features, product manifesto

Detailed plan for this phase

Step 4.1: [DISCUSSION] Painpoints and existing products/solutions
Duration: 29.11 - 6.12
Purpose: understand the painponits, good & bad about existing products/solutions

Step 4.2: [POLL] Decide target painpoints/problems to resolve
Duration: 7.12 - 13.12
Purpose: define the key value of Donald Dock, provide design mission/guidelines

Step 4.3: [POLL] Decide products specs & features
Duration: 14.12 - 22.12
Purpose: define the specs and feature set of Donald Dock

Step 4.4: [DISCUSSION/BRAINSTORMING] I have an idea!
Duration: 23.12 - TBD
Purpose: When you are enjoying the Xmas holiday, please also share your genius ideas that can help eve/design agency/manufacturer to achieve the mission & value of the Donald Dock.

Step 4.5: [SUMMARY] Product manifesto
Duration: 04.01
Purpose: Eve team summary all the information and deliver product manifesto that will be used by design agency & manufacturer


Let’s review what’s is Donald Dock so far:

Donald Dock is a product that provides more ports to V and other notebooks to work better with peripherals.
It comes with “Middle weight” type. Most of time it stays on your desktop, with a simple plug-in to it and, you immediately connected to all peripherals.
Besides essential ports, it also reserves ports for future expansion and additional cool features.

However, some basic questions are not clear:
What’s the core value of Donald Dock as middle weight category?
What’s the biggest painpoint(s)/problem(s) it resolves?
How it is better than the existing products?

In this step, we will try to find these answers.

How?

Donald Dock is not a original product category.
So the most efficient way is just checking those similar products that are already in the market.

Suggest template is

In the market, the following product(s) is my favorite
Product link

Because
* Why it is so good
* How it is going to resolve your painpoints
* …

However, it can be better if
* Why you haven’t bought it yet
* …

And if it is improved as above, I would like to pay $___ to buy it immediately


Here is my example (just example, doesn’t represent my real thoughts)

In the market, the following product(s) is my favorite
http://www.caldigit.com/thunderbolt-3-dock/thunderbolt-station-3/index-eu.asp

Because
* Suitable size and decent design – making my desk clean
* Two TB3 ports, and high performance (looks like so) – it is prepared if I have more peripherals in the future
* Can be used vertically and horizontally – sometimes changing the angle makes cables more tidy
* Can charge my V at same time – another cable less

However, it can be better if
* Replace two eSATA ports with one HDMI and one SD slot
* Add a M.2 slot for SSD
* Move one TB3 to font side, making it easier to connect to my V
* Cheaper

And if it is improved as above, I would like to pay $249 to buy it immediately

You can also reply as the way you want. But make sure your reply helps to answer the listed questions.


[Donald Dock] [Step 4.3] [POLL] Decide product specs & features
[Donald Dock] [Step 4.2] [POLL] Decide target painpoints/problems to resolve
[Donald Dock] [Step 4.2] [POLL] Decide target painpoints/problems to resolve
Community Digest 02.12
#2

#3

When using my notebook/tablet with peripherals, the most annoying things are

  • A lot of cables.

  • i don’t have more at the moment

And in the market, the following product(s) is my favorite

https://www.asus.com/Laptops-Accessory/Universal-Dock/

Because

  • Why it is so good
    Small clean design

  • How it is going to resolve your pinpoints

*all cables always connected -> one cable to the Laptop/Tablet

However, it can be better if

*it has tb3 daisy chaining

  • it has no old D-Sub monitor connector (it is dead, ok a very slow death but it is dead)
  • has DP / dvi
  • it has Dual Screen support
  • it has more than one usb type c port.

And if it is improved as above, I would like to pay $$$ to buy it immediately

150 €


#4

#5

I don’t quite know what docks are available but if I have time I’ll search and post here.

My point is, if you already have a thunderbolt 3 port on the V and won’t have an eGPU attached, why do we need a thunderbolt port on the dock let alone two?! It would be quite extreme to think someone would use two thunderbolt 3 ports at the same time (ex. A high end external hard drive with an eGPU).

One thunderbolt port should be enough right?


#6

Because the TB3 port on the dock will likely be a pass-through. The dock itself will use TB3 so all ports can have full bandwidth concurrently.

That way you can hook up the dock, leave it on your desk with your monitor, keyboard/mouse, eGPU, speakers, the whole thing hooked up to the dock and still use one cable to connect to V.


#7

An honest question, isn’t the bandwith of the USB-C without thunderbolt 3 enough (to power monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers)?


#8

OWC

In the market, the following product(s) for something around 300€ is my favorite


Because

  • It’s making my desk clean
  • it has a big variety of different ports

However, it can be better with

  • more options to plug in a monitor (HDMI, Display port, etc.)
  • Add one TB3 to front side, making it easier to connect to my V. Leave two TB3 ports (one with daisy chain option for eGPU and one for tb3 5K display connection) at the back side
  • V style design in matte black/ dark grey
    And if it is improved as above, I would like to pay $199 to buy it maybe (because I voted for superpower weight)

#9

the tb3 port of the V is used to connect the dock. one tb3 port of the dock is used to connect the V. Only one tb3 port remains. If this is used for a 5k monitor for example there is no more space (but maybe also no more bandwidth) for something else…


#10

To weigh in on the thunderbolt discussion:

As the license fee for thunderbolt will be gone soon, it might make sense to actually put every intended usb-c as thunderbolt in the dock. I don’t see the benefit of having a standalone usb-c if I can get the extra features for no additional cost.


#11

Don’t you need additional hardware for thunderbolt (i.e. the Thunderbolt controller for each port)? Also, wouldn’t the device running it run out of PCIe lanes/other-things-TB-requires if we added too many?


#12

Thanks @Xinjie for cutting the duration of this thread to a few days.


#13

my idea… everything is summarized on the image :slight_smile: of course placement and number of ports isn’t fix, just as an example.

I would prefer this way more than some kind of box you place near your V / Surface / … because then you will always have all those cables on your desk just like with a lot of adapters or existing products. This way it would be possible to attach the “stationary” cables like Display, some periphery etc. behind the V and flat to the desk.

Also it is portable because of the formfactor. Of course, it wouldn’t be very lightweight, but because of the formfactor you could use it as plate on your legs when you want to use the V / Surface in a Train for example. I expect it to be more comfortable and stable than just with a kickstand of your device. Also this stil fits in every Bag which was made for Books/magazines/Notebooks…

What do you think? :slight_smile:


[Donald Dock] [Step 4.2] [POLL] Decide target painpoints/problems to resolve
#14

I don’t own a dock. Most I need nowadays is wireless/cloud anyway.

If I were to buy a dock it would need to have:

  • Multiple USB 3 type A and type C connectors. Maybe with fast charging?
  • Charging my device (if possible)
  • Have multiple video outputs. If technically possible multiple HDMI/(mini)DP. Wouldn’t want to need another dock for a third screen.
  • Ethernet connector
  • SD Card reader (& micro?)
  • Audio connections

I would like to have

  • Integrated storage. Maybe integrated with some kind of existing cloud storage/sync so work files would be stored on the dock and cloud when working in a team. For example; a shared Dropbox folder might sync with the storage on the dock. When I’m outside I can still access the folder but I won’t be stored on my (often personal) device. Or company issued software could be installed on the dock.
  • Bluetooth connector for my device. latest one available.
  • Maybe also an wireless receiver with higher bandwidth?
  • Qi charging pad on top
  • A form of cable management for all the cables connected to it
  • Not slippery base
  • No scratchable surface
  • No additional noise from a fan or something
  • No hard edges that might scratch my device if being transported in my bag.

And some other ideas:

  • Wifi receiver for faster internet on older devices. Not sure if those devices have a thunderbolt 3 connection though.
  • Wifi transmitter to extend the density of the network. Not all devices with internet have thunderbolt connector. I believe this is called WiFI mesh (?)
  • Phone holder with Qi support? Could be a “pop up” solution. But I’d like my phone to be able to look at me.

I have on clue what I would pay for such a device. I would think it would be more catered towards businesses, so the price can go up.
If it’s just a port extender, then I wouldn’t pay more than 30 euro’s
If it’s also a charger I would pay some more (about 50 - 60 euro’s). But it needs to be roughly the same size and weight as my current charger. Not bigger or heavier.

As stated before, I don’t really need a dock. So the probability of me becoming a buyer is slim either way. The Qi charge pad might make me reconsider though (especially if it holds my phone).


#15

Nice I have a very similar Idea but I added an internal battery too and a 2.5 inch hard drive :wink:


#16

could definitely be an option to think about! :slight_smile:


#17

I may look to combine something like this with my modular dock design but it may be a bit too complex.


#18

I think eGPU isn’t a topic for EVE right now… There are some eGPU modules out today, and one designed by EVE would’t have any big advantage right now. That’s why I included the TB3 Port on the back of my small sketch, so an eGPU could be easily attached.
But including internal battery and/or 2.5’’ Slot would really be cool!


#19
I put my comments in here because I didn't want to unnecessarily take up a lot of space.

What would be the point of having bluetooth in a dock? If it’s a TB3 or USB-C dock, it’s only going to work with computers new enough to already have BT, and I really don’t see any advantages of having a separate card in the dock for this. (I’m not criticizing at all, genuinely curious if you had ideas)

I don’t think you’re going to get much more from another wireless card in the dock than what’s in most modern laptops. If it supports USB-C/TB3, this won’t add much more bandwidth.

Mesh networking is a little bit different than what [I think] you’re suggesting. A wireless mesh network is essentially a singular wireless network composed of a bunch of different nodes/access points. This is common in enterprise situations, where over a large campus there is a singular WiFi network, but being broadcasted from maybe even hundreds or thousands of different access points - a device can easily stay connected to the network while moving between different nodes without a problem.

It sounds like you’re thinking the dock can act as another node/access point for the WiFi; I’m no expert here, but I don’t believe you can simply get a mesh-capable repeater, connect it to the network, and have it work. This is something that would have to be added to the network by the admins to function properly.


#20

How soon? Because see this post by Xinjie about the cons of thunderbolt:

This suggests it will be expensive even if the license doesn’t cost a dime. And that’s not counting the volume of sales needed.