Dear Apple
February 10, 2010, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Consumer Electronics, Redesigns

Last week saw the release of the iPad unto an expectant world. The media has seen gone full steam ahead dissecting every single aspect of this device and speculating on its impact and eventual success. It’s as would be expected from an Apple launch:  the eagerness, the desire, the barely controlled hysteria. And yet, not everything was the same.

This is not the first time that Apple has launched a new category of device, we’ve seen it before with the iPod and iPhone. Product refreshes are easy, you already have an established base of loyal customers. But a new product category requires a bit more faith on our part. And this time, Apple has had a harder time than ever before in gaining it.

There are a lot of things not to like about the iPad, all of which have been covered extensively by the media. But there’s a lot to like too. I do not doubt that this device will be a success and a game changer on several levels. Amazon has been the first to feel the momentum growing.  So why all the hesitation?

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Intuitive, Emotional, Functional, Impressive
October 16, 2009, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A job offer at Palm’s website asking for an interaction designer lists the following among this person’s responsibilities:

“Create intuitively simple, emotionally appealing, and functionally impressive interaction design”

I wish every company understood design as they do and followed this same mantra. I wish I could say that every consumer electronics item I own was conceived in a similar way. But unfortunately, it isn’t so. Admittedly, this is unlikely to be the most cost-effective way to go about things since it requires to actually stop and think and not just keep pushing products out of the production line. Then again, it should be the best received and most rewarding, we have had enough examples to know that consumers will acknowledge and appreciate with sales numbers and brand loyalty.

Playing Catch Up
January 13, 2009, 5:42 pm
Filed under: Consumer Electronics, Products


In late 2005 Nokia released the N770 Internet Tablet, the first device in a new line of portable internet devices. From then on the line would be carried on by the N800 (2007), N810 (2007) and N810 WiMax (2008) successors. All of these are internet-centric devices, to which Nokia would give no cellular radios, meaning they they are not capable of regular cellphone functions and must rely on actual cellphones to establish their connections when a WiFi signal isn’t readily available.

Today, access to the “real” internet has become the main objective for the latest crop of mobile devices. After the iPhone showed everyone that a faithful and reliable internet experience was possible on a cellphone everyone else has been trying to step up. The HTC Touch HD and Max 4G, the Nokia N97, and now the Palm Pre all hold certain similarities in their approach to this situation, an expected evolution from the previous generation and mostly from the iPhone. All of these devices offer screens larger than 3 inches, and resolutions over QVGA, which has proven to be a minimum for an acceptable experience. Eventually, enjoyable-internet cellphones will converge with all of the ultraportable netbooks, internet tablets and WiFi-enabled portable media players out there. The resulting form factor is very likely to be an optimization of the current pick of devices, namely as large as possible a screen while remaining pocketable, with some form of sliding keyboard underneath (at least until someone gets haptic feedback right on on-screen keyboards).

Both the Nokia N97 and Palm Pre follow this configuration, and the as-of-yet-unannounced-but-inevitable HTC Touch HD Pro should follow the same formula. It comes out as sort of amusing then that it was Nokia who were the first to come up with an enjoyable internet experience on such a form factor with their Maemo-based Internet Tablets. Which begs to make the following question: How far ahead in the cellphone game would Nokia currently be if they had included a cellphone radio within their Internet Tablets?

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Product Design Fundamentals with Steven Bellofatto
December 1, 2008, 12:37 am
Filed under: Concepts, Industrial, Products


This week I finished a course from NYU SCPS’ Professional Certificate in Product Design given by Steven Bellofatto, Principal Design Director at ION, a product design and developement firm based in New Jersey.

Having taken all available courses in this certificate, I can safely say that this was the most valuable and essential course in the program as it presented a complete view of product design as it is carried out today  … and an excellent condensation of product development and the design process.

The image you see above is part of the final assigment in this course, a project on the development of new products for the oral hygiene market. Read on for an explanation on what each of these concepts was about.

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Web 2.0 Expo New York
October 1, 2008, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Events

I had the opportunity to attend three adjacent technology conventions in New York City: Web 2.0 Expo, Interop and Mobile Business Expo.

This was a huge event, lasting almost a whole week between workshops, keynotes, parties and the actual Expo. I finally got to play with some hard to find devices, such as the Microsoft Surface, the Celio Redfly and the as-of-yet unreleased Blackberry Bold; and got a taste of the direction web 2.0 is taking from both startups and industry leaders.  

Overall it was a great 4 days full of energy and promise. It was reassuring to see that despite the current situation of the economy this is one sector with a lot of life to it.

What if: Archos 604
September 8, 2008, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Consumer Electronics, Products, Redesigns

What if the Archos 604 personal media player had been symmetrical? I know that’s the first thing I wished it had been when it was launched. Technical considerations aside –  Would it had been more appealing?

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A Case for Symmetry
September 8, 2008, 3:25 am
Filed under: Consumer Electronics, Products

When looking every year at each new wave of consumer electronics products I can’t help but wonder about the design process and the decisions behind each device, about the road it must have undertaken, from concept to final product.  Is the final product I am looking at stylish? Does it follow the latest design trends, is it jumping to set a trend of its own, or is it dated? Is it desirable? Will it move people to buy it?

I chose the two examples pictured above to illustrate a particular trend I believe was born with the iPod and has since been a leading trend in some portable consumer electronics categories. This trend has since become a good starting point for well-received aesthetics in portable devices, and a good indicator as to the possible success as an appealing consumer electronics device. I am talking about symmetry.

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