On the initial outlook, the Industrial Design Toolkit acts as a tripartite relationship, with the consumers, Microsoft and the device manufacturers such as Dell or HP, just to name a few, forming a strong relationship amongst each other. By accepting and reviewing various input and information from both its consumers and their major partners, Microsoft's Industrial Design Toolkit molds itself to fit the requirements and requests from the consumer level, giving manufacturers a specific set of guidelines that brings with it an appealing factor for the consumers. More importantly, the tripartite relationship amongst these three entities gives Microsoft an edge in the consumer-demand market, and a stronger working relationship between the Redmond company and its current partners.
Speaking from the Hotel LKF over at Hong Kong on 29th April, we had Mr. John Curran, Head of the Windows Client Business, Microsoft, giving us a brief overview of the steps taken by Microsoft in promoting a stronger working relationship with its partners under the assistance of the Industrial Design Toolkit and gives us a greater insight to the Vista experience, and how it'll enhance the consumer's experience, on the internal (operating system) and external (device) levels.
Speaking on primarily the aesthetic, and where applicable, the functionality boost one gets with the Industrial Design Toolkit, Mr. Curran explains on this further with the visual elements one gets with the Vista OS. More importantly, the highlight is on the intuitiveness and ease of usage one gets with Vista's sleek and smooth interface and navigation mantra, borne specifically out of a design point of view which melds functionality further in.
On the mobility front, we also checked with Mr. Curran on the possibilities of seeing the Industrial Design Toolkit initiative on Microsoft's current mobile OS such as Windows Mobile 6 or even the Microsoft Origami Experience for ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs). In response, Mr. Curran said, "At this point, we haven't made any announcements as to where we would take it going forward, and whether we'll expand out onto other Windows platforms. What we are looking at right now is making sure that folks have a great experience across the Windows Platform, whether that's Windows Vista, Windows Live for online services, or on the mobile front such as Windows Mobile or even for the UMPCs."
Broaching deeper, we dropped a few quick enquiries on what the future holds for the Industrial Design Toolkit when it comes to Microsoft's other OS platforms, including Windows Mobile 6.1, and even its recently introduced Surface and further along the line, Windows 7 (the next generation OS). "In terms of the development, Windows 7 is currently well under development, and we are still targeting the 3-year timeline after we introduced Windows Vista, and in terms of Surface, we have not announced any dates or timing of a release, or even Surface is going to be released into the market. What you can expect from Microsoft in terms of the future is the same line of where we are today, where the Windows experience continues to provide the real richness that has been built on," said Mr. Curran on the possibilities of the Industrial Design Toolkit extended towards the future.
With the Industrial Design Toolkit initiative on hand, Microsoft garnered strong support from its partners, and of many, Dell has shown itself as a strong partner on many occasions, which includes the community (RED) program. Going a step further, Dell has joined the Industrial Design Toolkit bandwagon, committing the company to a greater bond with Microsoft when it comes to product design and placement.
Speaking further on the Microsoft-Dell collaboration, Ms. Suzuki shared a few insightful initiatives between Microsoft and Dell, starting from its (RED) program to the current Industrial Design Toolkit. With a few selected devices showcased over at the Azure Bar, Ms. Suzuki gave us a peek at two of Dell's latest lineups, the XPS One RED and the XPS M1330. Taking on a smaller footprint coupled with a sleek design, Dell definitely shows its support with the XPS One RED's single-piece device, complementing the snazzy Vista interface as suggested by the Industrial Design Toolkit.
Enquiring on the level of collaboration with Microsoft based on the Industrial Design Toolkit, Ms. Suzuki said, "We (Dell) work closely together with Microsoft on the design aspect of our products. We look at the whole experience, from the product viewpoint, to the consumer standpoint, having a design team who works closely with Microsoft on not only the software, but also the hardware and connectivity aspects, thus giving consumers the feeling of a product made for me, and made by me, and that is our future call."