I haven’t chimed in up until now, but I feel there’s definitely something we need to have as a core concept.
Yes, we’ve talked about it, but it really needs to be at the core. What makes us different? What makes Donald Dock different? Cost? Specific features? It depends on the segment we choose. I feel it comes down to two segments, really, based on the community’s response but also on other options currently on the market. I will explain both.
Tl;dr: Either a) the smallest dock we can build with core I/O, an M.2 slot, headphone amp and V power supply or b) a barebones eGPU with basic ports to connect a workstation with cost and quality as the core design points.
Light Weight/Middle Weight. We need to identify the core features we want, because that will highly affect the pricing. If we can get by with Light Weight size while having heavy-hitting features, why build a more expensive dock? Here is our chance to define the segment with a strong featureset and competitive pricing. Unique features are the standout here, and solid Eve quality.
The features that stand out to me as necessary for differentiation are:
a) an M.2 Storage slot,
b) USB-PD support high enough to charge V while dock in use,
c) a built-in amplifier.
Without these three features we might as well pack up and build a Feather Weight dock or pump out a simple dock like everyone else and slap the “Eve” name on it. This is what makes Donald Dock unique. Other features are nice, but have you seen anyone build a dock with an M.2 slot?
Clincher. If we can build this in a Light Weight size, then we get the price down. We don’t need EVERYTHING, we need what matters. VGA, yes. SD, yes. Ethernet, yes. All the basics big companies forget. Then, we go further and offer a couple powerful features that no-one else has on the table, and finish them off with a solid build and very competitive price-point.
Superpower Weight. Let me ask this question. Why does anyone want this option?
I would bet 75%+ want this option simply for eGPU support. Why do we want an Eve eGPU? Why? What would be the draw? What lacks in this segment?
Cost. Cost. Cost.
That is what we’re missing. There are plenty of eGPU options on the market. All are either very expensive, limited to certain devices, or badly made. You get compatibility, value, or quality. Pick one.
If we’re going with a Superpower Weight, that means we want an inexpensive eGPU. What do we really need? It would be a desktop box for connecting to a workstation. So, nothing that would add major cost. We would need video ports (DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA), I/O (a few USB ports, SD, and an Ethernet port), power (keep V and all accessories powered and charging), and the eGPU. That’s it.
If we could do an M.2. slot without raising costs, that would be fantastic. You’d literally have a full desktop at this point, save for a desktop CPU. Built-in speaker? That would add much cost to get something decent. Add a panel of audio jacks instead for an external 2.1 channel system that’s probably already set up. Or, a single headphone jack with amplifier. Everyone has speakers. Save cost where we can.
Find our needs, and define the segment. That’s how we make something great!