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How mobile Software will influence hardware design at CES 2012

This year at CES, mobile apps are expected to be a central focus at a trade show that was previously dominated by hardware.  Certainly the plethora of new tablets and mobile devices will still retain their ranks, but one trend that has picked up amongst hardware manufacturers is the necessity to bring an App based interface thats compatible with other mobile devices.

Wired published an article highlighting some of the more established hardware companies that are now stepping into software as a means of enhancing user experience.  “Approximately 60 percent of Living in Digital Times exhibitors are showing off apps in the sports, fitness and digital health sector. What’s more, in the section for kids products, 80 percent of exhibitors include apps as part of their presentation.”-Wired 

Making More Rugged Hardware Products

With the influx of mobile computing potential, hardware companies need to continue to hit the drawing board to adapt their products to a life on the road.  Case companies seem to be thriving around all the mobile devices, but when are hardware designers going to look to integrate a lot of the ruggedness as a built in feature?  Is this on the docket for anyone?

Designers need to really pay attention to detail with their manufacturers.  Every single part on electronics  is considered a point of failure.  Be sure to look at the robustness in design on connectors, board components, soldering, and especially on rechargeable batteries.  The importance of having a strong QA/Testing procedure for products will be vital to ensuring long term customer satisfaction.

There are also a number of technologies that you can expect to emerge as a standard to help increase product lifetime.  Solid state devices and hardrives are allowing ultra compact designs with ultra fast performance.  The absence of moving parts in todays electronics bring longevity and a little bit of shock resilience.

As the demand for thinner products rises, lets also not forget that with the slimmed size, the importance of using materials that still offer structural support is going to become more important.  Magnesium and aluminum housings may become a more common standard as devices thin down.  Thicker plastics with double tooled rubber coatings are also a great way to ensure robust design.

Creating Consumer Brand Loyalty With Design

Another major concern consumers and manufacturers should look at is the part stock in todays electronics.  Consumers today are smarter, and the value for quality products has really been realized.  Brands looking to gain long term loyalty need to realize that making products that last a long time is more important than just offering competitive price points.  Consumers love to purchase a new product because of the advancements in technology MUCH more than they want to replace the broken junk they bought before.  People buy the NEXT iPhone not because they are unsatisfied with the current one, but because they want the next one.

As we evaluate products in 2012, our demands are going to be sky high.  Everyone is chasing Apple in the hardware space, but is there anyone that can put in that level of attention to detail?  One things for sure, you HAVE to have the whole package of both software and hardware.  We’re excited to see the evolution of hardware to accomodate the mobile movement.

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