DesignworksUSA has introduced a concept design for Intel’s portable media player (PMP) technology. The prototype, demonstrated at a technology showcase recently hosted by Intel Corporation in New York, received rave reviews from a large group of consumer and technical trade journalists who gathered to see, touch and hear the latest digital tools and toys destined to hit store shelves during the upcoming holiday season.
The PMP is a new kind of mobile entertainment that will allow consumers to enjoy potentially up to 80 hours of digital media content — video, music and photos — downloaded from their PC, anywhere they want. While the PMP is not currently in production, its reference design and prototype is available to consumer electronics manufacturers for further development and production.
DesignworksUSA, the international design consultancy owned by the BMW Group, collaborated with Intel, the world’s largest chip manufacturer, to develop a design concept to showcase the high-quality video playback capabilities of its XScale(TM) technology-based processor. The goal was to synthesize technology, design and customer value into a mobile entertainment product that could eventually be marketed by consumer electronics manufacturers.
The current PMP prototype, which is small enough to fit into a coat pocket, combines twisting and converging surfaces balanced with clean horizontal and vertical lines upon which to reference the controls. Buttons are arrayed in ergonomic fashion for the intuitive sweeping motion of one single thumb around the five-way cursor.
DesignworksUSA is prepared to work with manufacturers to develop a PMP design that is appropriately branded for their own identity and target market. “The hallmark of our capabilities is to create desire, intrigue and emotion around new technologies. We want our design to be sculptural works of art that attract people emotionally and function perfectly,” says DesignworksUSA President Adrian van Hooydonk whose design experience extends throughout Europe and the United States.
Intel is one of a growing number of companies working with DesignworksUSA to develop innovative design strategies for new lifestyle technologies. As an integral part of the BMW Group California Innovation Triangle, DesignworksUSA specializes in four distinct areas: Transportation Design, Product Design, Automotive Design and Communication Design
While its automotive and motorcycle design practice is solely devoted to the needs of its parent company (the BMW Group), the majority of DesignworksUSA’s consultancy work is dedicated to third-party clients such as Microsoft, Boeing, John Deere Corporation, Siemens, Nokia, Allergen, Scott USA, Adidas, Motorola, MCI, Villeroy & Boch, and many others. Projects have included a business jet interior for Boeing, earthmoving equipment for John Deere, a train interior for Siemens, a laser surgery medical cart for Allergen, a snowboard goggle for Scott USA and a bicycle saddle for Trico Corp., to name a few.
“One of the keys to helping our clients maximize the value and impact of new product market opportunities is Designworks’ creative and cultural diversity,” continues Mr. van Hooydonk.
In addition to employing its share of designers, model-makers, artists and machinists, DesignworksUSA also hires people with backgrounds in theater, illustration, fine arts, music, cultural anthropology, electro-engineering and other disciplines. More than 12 countries are represented by over 100 DesignworksUSA employees.
“This cultural diversity constantly sparks new viewpoints in the design process, and this is where the creative diversity really starts,” observed Mr. van Hooydonk. “In addition, employees are constantly rotated from other BMW Group offices worldwide to provide an ongoing flow of fresh technology and thinking. This cross fertilization of ideas, concepts and processes is an important asset to DesignworksUSA clients.”
According to Mr. van Hooydonk, DesignworksUSA’s unique relationship with its parent company, BMW Group, also provides it with symbiotic advantages not found in stand-alone design firms or those who work solely, or primarily, on projects for their corporate parent.
The demanding long-term planning cycles (ranging from five to seven years) of automotive design provide DesignworksUSA with a unique perspective for its other clients and projects. Consumer values and product needs are evaluated not in light of near-term trends, but in enduring societal changes over a longer time frame. This approach results in products whose life cycles are enhanced and continue to meet the ongoing needs of consumers.
The standards of BMW automotive design, engineering and quality flow naturally into the two other design areas at DesignworksUSA, while the BMW Group provides the company with access to people, materials, processes, environments and the infrastructure necessary for a major design consultancy to compete in a global marketplace.
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