I could see the excitement in your comments, so here we are with a e really long post (1718 words)! (I was also going through them and realised that lots of us wanted to know more about the electronics, the processes involved and suggested we continue on the same lines along with adding UI parts, and in this post I will try to do the same)
This part will cover 3 things:
- Understanding the Project (Product) (internal milestones and targets)(I have referred a paper from Dedrick Kraemer) (First part might be boring for a lot of people as it’s really long, though I’ve tried to shorten it);
- The multi-tasking concept Adam is going to introduce; AND
- The images from our Manufacturing House (Please note, I am still in India and will leave tomorrow night, so the current ones do not have that professional look, but enough to shut the mouth of lots of people calling us Vaporware. Once I am there I will share more!).
Projects on the scale at which we are working require huge knowledge networks, there are a lot of dependencies (% of production outsourced by Apple – 100%, Dell – 92%, HP – 100%, Acer – 100% 2005 data), involves tight Design and Development Processes, Production Phase and Co-ordination among the OEMs and ODMs across continents (Notion Ink is OEM and our Manufacturers are ODM). The scope of knowledge required in this industry is by far greater than any individual can master and hence you need a Knowledge Network to support and create competitive advantage and firms must tap into networks that cross national boundaries.
The key stage here is the Design and Development Process which follows this chain:
These phases take roughly a year for an entirely new product, and less for upgrades of existing platforms. Products stay in production for a year, and under warranty for 1-3 year. Entire knowledge work required is up-to 5 years!
In the Concept Design Phase: OEMs engage in design; Effort to define new products based on customer needs and Vision; Need Market Intelligence, Industrial Design and Physical Design Disciplines; Output: target market, desired features (size, weight, battery life, screen, components), ID. In the Product Planning: Business Case development with estimates for costs, units, price, revenues and margins; ID turned into mock-ups of product thru sketches and cardboard; Project nailed down from words to numbers; Detailed product and marketing plan: product timing, resource requirements, vendor relations.
In the Design Review: Design Manufacturability is determined; Working Mockup with its components and software drivers from the specified BOM; Attention to ME stability with functionality issues; Result is Hand-tooled chassis and working mock-up of the system that will boot, operate, but might not be stable (Our CES 2010 Sample). Prototype Build Stage: Chassis, MB, components, and software: together to build Integrated Physical System and Tested; Issues to Resolve: Heat, Power, Battery Life, Stress Tests like: running time, vibration, shock and pressure; Result: small production lot (50-100) commercial samples that represent a stable, reliable product for hands on review; Prototype Must pass reliability, quality criterion, fit for finish.
Pilot Production Stage(we are about to end this phase, waiting for FCC to hit the next stage): Preparation for mass production; Process designed and a pilot production line is set-up to produce around 500-1000 units to test the process itself; Test of the quality of units produced; Gate of this phase is PVT; Standards of quality, production time and out-of-box reliability must be met before Ramp-Up to mass production; Go decision taken by Manufacturing, Development and Project Management.
In the Mass Production Stage : Manufacturing Engineers to plan and manage Production Process Quality; Requires test facilities and quality engineers to improve the product and process; Over time. These engineers come to know the product extremely well and are best positioned to provide sustaining engineering. And finally the Sustaining Support – Stage: Deals with changes that occur because of introduction of a faster processor, failing or end-of-life components or improved components; Sustaining Engineers also provide the highest level of technical support when problems occur during use over the product’s 2-3 year warranty period.
This image will give you an idea of how Product development changes Countries over different stages:
We spoke last time how we are introducing a new kind of multi-tasking, a new architecture and to make use of these concepts a new User Interface.
When we started we want to crack few issues:
- Multi-tasking in a way it should be;
- Optimization on Memory while multi-tasking (there is no point with 100 screens open and no RAM to run any!)
- Understand the psyche of the User of what exactly he wants from an application when he is multi-tasking
- Create a unique method of window management and
- Design for Touch
In a multi-tasking environment, a user is generally not completely focused on one application, but rather would be engaged in different notions in his mind. Hence there is a reduction of attention one has towards an application and hence the complexity of the work being performed. It is an extremely good approximation to suggest, that in a multi-tasking mode, user is not expecting very complex features to be made available, and would be rather happy with the “light mode” of the applications. In current scenario, all the application must be fully loaded to view even a part of it (say for example reading an email on outlook). If this is the case we can think of an architecture where the fully loaded application is made available when you are focused (like playing quake or creating complex excel sheets) and light mode (with the most important components made available specially communication) which is made available when you want to work on many things.
What we have done here is to create a new architecture in which the application will have 2 very important modes. First mode (Full Mode) is the normal mode in which we have used applications since the birth of the computers, but with a small change which assists the second mode (The Light Mode).
In the main architecture we divide the components in such a way that they can be used independently (this independence governs the extent of complexity which can be offered in the second mode). This is nothing different when compared with OOPS. So now application will have a MAIN class (just an example) which will control the complete application and the smaller components (which might be the features, data-base, networking components, UI elements, etc.). But the real magic happens in the second mode which we call “Light Mode”. In this mode the control is passed on to the Adam (with the strict architecture mentioned in the application). Adam decides which component to call, what to load, when to connect, what to read from memory and when to refresh. (The main reason for opting Android was, that it allows us to do this.)
Let me introduce The Eden.
Eden consists of panels or Light Application instances(side image is just an example). At any moment of time you can work on infinite applications. You will have 3 panels at your disposal and you can switch at any time, and the best part, irrespective of how many and which ever application you run in the panels, the main application is in deep sleep mode. Hence the over-all system is low on memory, extremely fast and optimized.
So now you control what to run, the whole application or panel (one thing to remember here is that in the full mode you get the full screen, so more components, features and more real estate). When you minimize, application calls a panel with the most important features and goes back to sleep (not deep sleep since you might need to call it back asap). (Example would be an email panel which allows you to read, send and refresh mail box, but to send “formatted email content” you need to call the main application).
Panels also allow you to now work on the application which currently exist on Android Market. Since they were made for mobiles, just enlarging (2x) them doesn’t make any sense. So now you can run them in a panel without any pixelation.
Using these concepts now you can compare two documents, transfer files from one folder to another, take notes from one panel and write in another, you can chat in one and read RSS in another, while third one is playing your song, read this blog and update your twitter message. Most important element in multi-tasking is to SEE two things to work on them, and now we have 3! (The composition is really very dynamic, and one application is not restricted to only 1 panel, one can open another and so on).
And you know the best thing! I havent shown you the UI yet, (as in how it looks). (In the video below you will get a very small glimpse of the Genesis’ Comic Store.
And now the third part: “The Images”
As I mentioned earlier I am leaving tomorrow night, so expect better images in couple of days. Here is what I have for today:
You can see that the plastic wraps are still there as at the base they are waiting for us to open them (I was expecting better images, but then they are not photographers) (I am as excited as you are to hold them!) Day after tomorrow (or tomorrow if possible), I will upload better images and more details. We have made 10 samples (for these post) with different color schemes so we can actually see which one looks best. I will try to upload all so we get a good idea of the texture, the Pantones that worked and the final finish. (People noticed the ADAM in caps, there was no time to change in this set of samples, were made after the popular demand of using adam in small letters. Will be updated in the next set of samples.)
I will get images from them and post it here .
Another announcement which LongBox digital did yesterday was about our collaboration with them. We are getting you the Comics with a very refreshing look and feel (and more content as they have to expand their reach to other publishers as well). And a lot many announcements are yet to come.
Please let me know if you have questions!
With Warm Regards