As you all probably know the new V project is on
A new approach to design
Over the past few weeks, we have been cooking up some new design directions behind the scenes for the second-gen V. Just like in the Spectrum design process, we will share them with you and collect all possible feedback to make a great new product.
For this project we will handle the industrial design in-house and develop the product directly with our manufacturing partners. This has not been an easy decision, but we believe that doing this will allow us to have a quicker feedback loop and a more agile process.
Today we are discussing initial design directions, or product stories, for the new V. We are posting different approaches and different possible solutions. Everyone has a vision for how we want the next product to be. Think of this step as determining which direction most resembles our future vision. From there we can work our way to the little details.
We’ve tried to keep design directions very different to explore all of the possiblities. I would call this a shotgun approach…
For each design direction, you will be presented with:
1) The core idea
This is about the essence of this product. “Why” does this product exists, and what is the reason this product comes to the market? Think of it as the phrase you would use when recommending this product to a friend:
“I recommend it, this is the ____________________________ out there.”
- Only 2-in-1 that got it right
- Best productivity tool
This is not just an important point of discussion for internal alignment or marketing reasons. It is key because it will support all design decisions and inform any compromises that will come our way during the development.
The goal of the mood board is to create a general framework of the visual ingredients that we will use to develop the product. Mood boards don’t have to show a 2-in-1 computer, but they can show a detail, a material, a surface texture or just suggest a feeling.
3) User ⬌ device interaction
From community discussions and surveys we hear that the fluidity between tablet and stationary work is a key area where the 2-in-1 category leaves room for improvement.
Because of this, we want to underline this aspect and discuss several solutions that can help in switching from tablet to laptop mode.
Time to choose the best design direction for our new device!
Now to the actual content! We have developed five different design directions for the new V. Now we need your feedback!
Please note that all of the concepts assume the same specs and kickstand. So please don’t choose a concept only because it seems to have more ports in the picture shown We’ll ask some questions along the way about how you use your 2-in-1 device. If you don’t have one yet, feel free to answer these questions based on how you think you would use it!
The core message for this direction is to think of the next V as an incredibly powerful machine. This direction is inspired by high-performance products. Similar form and design language to the current V.
- Ultimate power
- Great for work and media consumption
- Nice and smooth piece of tech
- Best friend for this concept: eGPU
Q1 Would you be interested in a Thunderbolt eGPU as an option?
Q2 How important are built-in speakers to you?
- Speakers are very important, even at the cost of other specs
- Speakers are important, but shouldn’t get in the way of other specs
- Speakers are no more or less important than other features
- Speakers are unimportant to me, save money where you can
Q3 Where would you like the speakers to be placed?
- Speakers facing toward the user (gives the best audio experience)
- Speakers facing up or sideways (are nice and out of the way)
- Speakers in the keyboard (make for a smaller tablet portion of the device)
- Speakers should be elsewhere (leave a comment!)
ONE + ONE
The idea behind this direction is to create the smoothest connection between the device and the keyboard. To see these two products as separate items that work smoothly independently or together.
Great way to digest content and media in any place, from a sofa to a desk.
- Most fluid interaction between tablet mode and work station
- Kickstand with a folio keyboard
- Visual contrast between the parts
- Keyboard can be easily stored away
- Best friend for this concept: sleeve with integrated features
Q4 Our 2-in-1 can be both a tablet or a laptop. How do you use your 2-in-1?
- I almost always use my 2-in-1 as a tablet
- I usually use my 2-in-1 as a tablet, but sometimes as a laptop
- I use my 2-in-1 in either mode, about 50-50
- I usually use my 2-in-1 as a laptop, but sometimes as a tablet
- I almost always use my 2-in-1 as a laptop
Q5 What do you do with your keyboard when using your 2-in-1 as a tablet?
- I always keep the keyboard attached so I always have the option of switching to laptop mode
- I usually keep the keyboard attached, but sometimes remove it
- I do one or the other depending on the situation, about 50-50
- I usually remove the keyboard, but sometimes keep it attached
- I always remove the keyboard when I’m not using it to save weight
The core of this direction: it is the best tool to get work done, anywhere. 2-in-1s are devices that target the most versatile and productive users, the idea is to take this to the next level
- A beautiful tool to get work done
- Most secure connection between device and keyboard
- Does not have to be metal…
- Functional and solid
- Physical switches and well-defined functions
- Best friend for this concept: a next-level power bank.
Q6 How do you feel about physical switches?
- I want to feel my controls. The more physical and tactile, the better!
- Simple push buttons work best and keep the design clean
- The fewer buttons the better, I’ll do as much as I can through software
Q7 How do you feel about alternative volume adjustment controls?
- A wheel is the best way to adjust volume
- A slider is the best way to adjust volume
- Separate up and down push buttons are the best way to adjust volume
- Software controls are the best way to adjust volume
- I don’t care how, as long as I can adjust volume
Q8 How do you feel about protecting your 2-in-1 device?
- The device should be rugged and sturdy enough out-of-the-box to protect itself, even if that adds size or weight
- The device should be fairly well-protected, but it shouldn’t add too much bulk
- The device should be as sleek and portable as possible, I’ll add protection myself when I need it
Q9 How often do you use your 2-in-1 device outdoors?
- I (almost) always use my device outside
- I usually use my device outside
- I sometimes use my device outside, sometimes use it inside, it’s about 50-50
- I usually use my device inside
- I (almost) always use my device inside
Q10 How do you feel about the use of high-performance plastic as a material?
- As long as the plastic is of high quality, and looks and feels the part, it’s a good choice for a primary material
- High-performance plastic can be used for some parts, but for a true premium look and feel metal needs to be the primary material
- Metal is always better than even high-quality plastic, only metal should be used for the housing
The core idea behind this direction is to slim down the device and migrate weight and features into the keyboard to facilitate the use of the device in “pure” tablet mode.
- More weight on the keyboard and less on the device compared to current V
- Hard keyboard, with limited or no usage of textile-like material
- Clear distinction between tablet mode and “working-on-a-desk-mode”
- The device is as light as it gets
- Best friend for this concept: the pen of your dreams
Q11 How do you feel about keyboard with a sturdy mechanical hinge?
- It should be the default or only option, the Surface Pro-style soft hinge is useless to me
- I would be interested in seeing this option as an alternative to the standard keyboard
- I don’t think it’s worth the added size and weight of the keyboard.
Q12 How do you feel about moving features from the tablet portion of the device to the keyboard?
- All features should be in the tablet portion, so that they are available with or without the keyboard
- It’s okay to move ports or a portion of the battery capacity to the keyboard if it results in a lighter tablet portion
- As long as the device has all its features with the keyboard attached I don’t mind losing features in tablet mode
Q13 How important is having a kickstand to you?
- It’s a must-have, I don’t want a device without a kickstand
- I like the kickstand, but am open to different solutions
- I don’t like the kickstand, and would like to see a different solution
- Kickstands are horrible and no device should have them, ever
The core of this direction is to make the device more accessible while being very durable. Simple lines and volumes present a utilitarian design in which each function is clear. Heat dissipation? You know where it is!
- Accessible construction
- Easy to get repaired
- Heat dissipation is a real thing
- Sturdy and rigid
- Plastic or metal
- Best friend for this concept: a modular system of accessories
Q14 What do you think is the best way to dissipate heat from the device?
- An external heatsink will best transfer heat to the surrounding air, even if it may look or feel unusual
- A patterned heatsink on the outside of the device can make for a cool functional and visual feature
- A mostly unrestricted vent lets heat escape the device easily
- A hidden vent lets heat escape from the device but keeps the design sleek
- No vents or heatsinks are needed, cooling shouldn’t affect the way the device looks or feels
- I have a different creative idea on how to handle heat, I’ll leave a comment
Q15 How important is for you to be able to access the device’s internals?
- I don’t care about opening up my device, I just want to use it
- I want to be able to access anything I could fix or upgrade with off-the-shelf parts and a screwdriver
- I want to be able to access as many components as possible
- If I can’t open it up and tinker with it, I don’t care for the product
Five directions to choose from
Those are our five directions, and the questions that came to the design team along the way. Now it’s time to choose!
Q16 What are your favorite design directions (max 3)?
- I like Powerhouse
- I like One + One
- I like Workhorse
- I like Boosted keyboard
- I like Better up
Q17 What are your least favorite design directions (max 3)?
- I don’t like Powerhouse
- I don’t like One + One
- I don’t like Workhorse
- I don’t like Boosted keyboard
- I don’t like Better up
Q18 Let us know your thoughts!
The polls in this survey will help give us an indication of how people feel about some of the things we were wondering about. But as always, the most important thing is that you share your thoughts. What came to mind as you were browsing the design directions? Did any design idea particularly speak you you? Did we miss something obvious? Do you have the ultimate tweak that will make one of the designs perfect? Let us know by leaving a reply!