Microsoft's Next-Gen PC Winners Announced

17 May 2007 - 6:49pm
7 years ago
10 replies
1208 reads
Dan Saffer
2003

<http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/
may07/05-15NextGenPC.mspx>

“This year’s competition winners have envisioned a brave new world of
computing,” says Kevin Eagan, general manager of Microsoft’s Original
Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Marketing Group. “Through insightful
design, the winning entries take computing to bold new places and to
traditionally underserved audiences.”

The competition aims to spotlight creative new PC designs and
showcase young industrial designers who are helping move PC computing
“outside-the-box” by rethinking the Windows-based PC experience and
the role computing plays in people’s lives.

“Some of these winning designs look like nothing we’ve ever seen in
the realm of computing,” says Eagan. “The new generation of talent
that we recognize today has addressed how an evolution in PC design
could meet the needs of a wider group of computer users.”

Comments

18 May 2007 - 12:51am
Jarod Tang
2007

Maybe the most innovation for PC is no PC for most of the common people.
This competition seems to me: could we design the innovative carriage at the
time ford begin to deliver his first car.
At current time, I can live up with the current PC, but my life keep as the
same, cause so many digi handsets around me while they are not just some
touch point of ONE service that use them without taking care of each of
them.
And for most common people, they even dont want a pc, if they can do
something without it ( if people can read rss and mail on mobile phone
easily, maybe there's less laptop or pc).

Cheers
-- Jarod

On 5/18/07, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> <http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/
> may07/05-15NextGenPC.mspx>
>
> "This year's competition winners have envisioned a brave new world of
> computing," says Kevin Eagan, general manager of Microsoft's Original
> Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Marketing Group. "Through insightful
> design, the winning entries take computing to bold new places and to
> traditionally underserved audiences."
>
> The competition aims to spotlight creative new PC designs and
> showcase young industrial designers who are helping move PC computing
> "outside-the-box" by rethinking the Windows-based PC experience and
> the role computing plays in people's lives.
>
> "Some of these winning designs look like nothing we've ever seen in
> the realm of computing," says Eagan. "The new generation of talent
> that we recognize today has addressed how an evolution in PC design
> could meet the needs of a wider group of computer users."
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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>

--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

18 May 2007 - 6:04am
Dave Malouf
2005

Well having looked at the gallery some of these designs are so out of
the box that the term PC is pretty irrelevant. I'm very impressed
with the thoughtful nature of the winning designs. I mean some
created entirely new infrastructure logic systems where the
"terminal" is a shell to a subscription service architecture of not
just software but also processing, memory and storage.

Another design rethought everything about the PC, and tried to
re-invent it for the 1.3billion people in China. Using not just asian
aesthetics, but also gearing it towards the economic realities of the
region.

I suggest people dive into the site (which sucks) and at least look
at the winners and the finalists. Very nice work indeed, IMHO.

18 May 2007 - 1:34pm
Jarod Tang
2007

This link seems work.
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/may07/05-15NextGenPC.mspx
First, agree it's quite interesting, nice pictures. This let me think about
reading the cooper's book again, ;-)

"The new generation of talent that we recognize today has addressed how an
evolution in PC design could meet the needs of a wider group of computer
users."
-- if a interaction designer start from this perspective, maybe it's not so
effective, ;-), why not start from the people? maybe this is why Microsoft
cant deliver really good design for the end-user market.

For the winner, it's more like a symbol instead of everyday tools for me,
though i'm from china , i cant feel it's appealing to me, ;-). But it
interesting to me as it's looks beautiful , that's all.

maybe, I'm too criticized toward it.

Cheers
-- Jarod

On 5/18/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
> Well having looked at the gallery some of these designs are so out of
> the box that the term PC is pretty irrelevant. I'm very impressed
> with the thoughtful nature of the winning designs. I mean some
> created entirely new infrastructure logic systems where the
> "terminal" is a shell to a subscription service architecture of not
> just software but also processing, memory and storage.
>
> Another design rethought everything about the PC, and tried to
> re-invent it for the 1.3billion people in China. Using not just asian
> aesthetics, but also gearing it towards the economic realities of the
> region.
>
> I suggest people dive into the site (which sucks) and at least look
> at the winners and the finalists. Very nice work indeed, IMHO.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

18 May 2007 - 3:43pm
Juan Lanus
2005

Hi Jarod, All

Jarod, I like your comment, specially about the fause-chinese design.

My opinion is that the designers designed for the jury, not for the people.

For example the for-kids computer. It's going to be deceiving. It's
designed condescending to Fisher-Price's view.
I have lots of children, from 32 to 10 years old. I already know that
children are smarter that those silly blocks.

Design is not better because of being different or disruptive, it's
better because of being more useful for those who will use it. And
none of those devices looks more useful to me. I am disruptive in my
designs, but not this way, this is a way I'd call "pour la gallerie."

Should I be in the position of doing one such design I wouldn't care
much about hardware form factor, I like to say that "the hardware is
innocent."
Really disruptive design has to aim not at how the computer looks
(mine is awful, I agree) but at how it behaves. This is where the most
rewards can be found.

Do you have an aunt that refuses to reach a computer? Everybody has
several else sketch a persona. Go show her those winning devices, what
will her answer be?
Let me say it will be anything but "gee, this is enlightening!"

Microsoft will get some cheap press and had a chance of getting in
touch with some really useful designer. Until the next year. Nothing
else will happen except some trendy snobs buying these artifacts to
show off.
--
Juan Lanus

18 May 2007 - 6:16pm
Dave Malouf
2005

hmm? I can understand where people are coming from with their
criticisms, but to me the power of these designs is not to create a
final usable or even useful product, but to forage ahead with new
conceptual models and modes of thinking that have not been explored.
I don't think the intention of conceptual design is ever to create a
product or system and go to market with it. Rather it is a part of a
research process (this is why I disagree with Dan Saffer that
iterative design is not a type of design research if not the only
form of design research by name).

Each of these designs can be used to build and inform the other
through evaluation and reflection which can be done against the type
of user researcher I think people are craving in this thread.

Explorations like this are what is really powerful to me about design
processes and design thinking. If we only stay in the practical or
useful, we often create boxes that prevent us from innovating. User
data can be quite confining at times especially when applied too soon
in the design lifecycle.

-- dave

19 May 2007 - 6:01am
Jarod Tang
2007

On 5/19/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
> Explorations like this are what is really powerful to me about design
> processes and design thinking. If we only stay in the practical or
> useful, we often create boxes that prevent us from innovating. User
> data can be quite confining at times especially when applied too soon
> in the design lifecycle.

Generaly, agree with the opinion. Only one comment, useful and practical is
not the enemy of breaking through innovation, instead, they should harmony
in the same things.So a good design should show it's penitential in changing
the life style or integration ability into the everyday life.
Also agree that innovation from the contest is also interesting (which I
also like the look and feel), and the concern is that there can be much more
innovative if they take the people's everyday life into account although
it's not so shinning, ;).
Let it be select, time will give the answer. ;-)

Cheers
-- Jarod

-- dave
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

19 May 2007 - 8:50am
Mark Schraad
2006

Polished mocks can be problematic. There is a great short film on the
second disk of "the incredibles" movie from Pixar. One of the topics
they cover is "what am I looking at?" Designers have to be able to
describe to their bosses, clients and other non visual business
people - just what they should focus on and what not to focus on. I
know when we do tight concepts with high polish, but low fidelity...
we have to talk through that. They look like real product but many of
the critical problems have yet to be thought through.

On May 18, 2007, at 7:16 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> I can understand where people are coming from with their
> criticisms, but to me the power of these designs is not to create a
> final usable or even useful product, but to forage ahead with new
> conceptual models and modes of thinking that have not been explored.
> I don't think the intention of conceptual design is ever to create a
> product or system and go to market with it. Rather it is a part of a
> research process

19 May 2007 - 11:30am
Juan Lanus
2005

Hi Dave, All

On 5/18/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> to me the power of these designs is not to create a
> final usable or even useful product, but to forage ahead with new
> conceptual models and modes of thinking that have not been explored.
Agree with you that it's a completely valid way to look at this event.
I haven't read the rules of the contest, there might be information I
ignore.

> I don't think the intention of conceptual design is ever to create a
> product or system and go to market with it.
Oops, sorry! If it is conceptual design then it can be useless. I
struggle with my lack of knowledge about the English language, it is
not intended to sound sarcastic. But it does indeed. Why? I'm
respectful with other people's ideas no matter how different are from
mine and yes, if it is a "conceptual design" contest then these
devices are in scope.
Really, I enjoy designs like the DVD rewinder and other similar artifacts.

But in the http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/may07/05-15NextGenPC.mspx
site there a heavy statement:

"Through insightful design, the winning entries take computing to bold
new places and to traditionally underserved audiences."

Which traditionally underserved audiences? This seems to be aligned
with the idea that giving computers to the people of underdeveloped
countries will enable them to be happy. Or that setting a PC on each
seat of a school will result in better education.
I don't see the designs aligned with this ideas but more in line with
the DVD rewinder, which is pure amusement.

That's why I react aggressively, I apologize if somebody was offended.

We have seen beautifully designed PCs like some Macs, or the ONIX
http://tecnosol.com.ar/images/onix.jpg which are both useful and
beautiful. Including the "Bulb PC", the most usable of all devices,
that looks as if it were waiting for somebody to spill orange juice
inside it.

> Explorations like this are what is really powerful to me about design
> processes and design thinking. If we only stay in the practical or
> useful, we often create boxes that prevent us from innovating. User
> data can be quite confining at times especially when applied too soon
> in the design lifecycle.
All the user centered design matter abound about getting user
information early in the design process. And many failure reports
regret about not doing so.

And in fact all of the featured devices look to me not like
explorations but just like new form factors of the same old PC.
All are the outcome of putting the chart in front of the horses. The
rules seem to have been "design the PC" and to me designing has always
been the statement of a problem within a set of constraints.
Many of my designs were rejected until somebody "invented" them
several years after ...

And a newsgroup thread is not a place to agree or agree. Especially in
this group, cleverly created and driven by you, Dave, as a forum for
"Explorations like this [that] are what is really powerful to me about
design processes and design thinking"

Juan

19 May 2007 - 2:23pm
Will Parker
2007

On May 19, 2007, at 9:30 AM, Juan Lanus wrote:

> And in fact all of the featured devices look to me not like
> explorations but just like new form factors of the same old PC.
> All are the outcome of putting the chart in front of the horses.

Juan, English may not be your first language, but that last sentence
is a perfect description of (what I see as) the problem with these
'Next-Gen PCs'. Very few of the designs attempt to address usability
or real-world materials engineering as core attributes.

In fact, I notice that the core attribute of the design that won the
Chairman's Award from Bill Gates is not some new and better method of
interaction, but a new take on a very old business model -- the user
must pay a subscription fee to a service provider if the computer is
to function at all, and must pay more for greater performance.
(http://www.nextgendesigncomp.com/ViewEntry.aspx?
EntryID=381&EntrantID=856)

[Bloody typical - he _would_ be attracted to that.]

The Judge's Award winner - the Blok Kindergarten Classroom Aid -
(http://www.nextgendesigncomp.com/viewentry.aspx?
EntryID=417&EntrantID=964) - can legitimately claim innovation in
interaction design, but only by positing the availability of cheap
Unobtainium for the computer frame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Unobtainium).

"Why, yes, we're going to construct a lightweight, unbendable and
unbreakable U-shaped frame about 60 centimeters high, framing a
wraparound scratchproof computer screen approximately 150 by 50 cm,
light enough to be safely moved around by and crawled upon and jumped
upon by a pack of five-year old children wielding chairs and wooden
blocks. And it's going to cost $500."

[We're reducing costs by using chimpanzees instead of children during
the design phase.]

The fact that the whole thing is (quite unnecessarily) wrapped in
VERY bad, bloated code generated by whatever descendent of FrontPage
Microsoft is using these days is somehow both sad and highly
appropriate.

We _must_ praise the work of talented design students, but at some
point we have to decide whether we can continue to use the term
'talented' when referring to industrial or interaction designers who
present pretty but unusable designs.

- Will

Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If
that were the case, then Microsoft would have great products.” -
Steve Jobs

20 May 2007 - 11:44am
Dave Malouf
2005

I like where people are thinking in this thread and get it. Sooooo ...
if an interaction design took on doing the spirit of this project, not
the directive, what would it look like.

If IxDA were to build a content around this or something similar,
what would it look like? Would this even be something the IxDA
community would want to do? Is this something ONLY for students?

Could agencies compete? What would make it worthwhile for a
practitioner to give away their time?

I find these sorts of conceptual contests very intriguing but see
where people are coming from that the initial question set up
limitations and even then the judging wasn't even very true to the
initial question in some cases.

But, the question in my mind is, "Where is human-interaction with
computing going? How are we going to interface with systems? Which
contexts offer different answers? And how does migrating from
today's systems into that new one occur?

-- dave

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