Emmanuelle:This VAIO® would surely become a conversation piece, so to speak, but just what shape should a computer designed around this new concept take? We drew inspiration from its role as a family computer. If anything, most computers tend to look cold and lifeless. Because VAIO® Tap 20 would be used by the whole family, we sought something suppler, with softer textures and an air of accessibility.
Portability was another key concept. We also wanted the computer to look perfectly at home even in living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens, not to mention studies and offices. Rather than viewing it as an electronic device, we examined it through the lens of interior design, to ensure a good fit at home.
That's why early on, we chose bright white for the body. We also thought of touches that would make it look casual, such as a patterned, fabric-like finish. Although we considered offering a few color options to suit many rooms, we decided that bold colors would stand out too much. We ultimately settled on white and black as colors that would blend right in. Put a white VAIO® Tap 20 flat on a dining room table, and it looks like a platter full of all kinds of content instead of food. In this way, I think the design helps it fit perfectly into family life.
Emmanuelle:Our next task was ensuring a smooth transition between the usage scenarios we had envisioned; whether you're using VAIO® Tap 20 alone or with your children, you're switching from typing with the on-screen keyboard to viewing photos or video clips, or sharing it with others, flat on a surface. We decided that this required a stand that glides open and closed as you adjust the viewing angle. The screen had to be easy to adjust. The stand moves smoothly from an extended position when the screen is upright to a retracted position when it's flat. This solution emerged through discussions between designers in Europe and Tokyo.
Uehara:Here, as you might expect, we focused on making the VAIO® Tap 20 tilt as smoothly as possible. Ideally, the screen should move easily into position for convenient multi-touch operation, but at the same time, it shouldn't move when you type on the on-screen keyboard.
At first, we considered having the screen move in small increments, but then adjustment would take longer. On the other hand, if we made it too easy to adjust, the screen wouldn't stay still. For the right balance, we incorporated a spring coil mechanism that applies constant torque, so that VAIO® Tap 20 tilts smoothly and stops at exactly the right position, so you can adjust it and use it immediately. When the unit lies flat, the stand folds neatly into the body where the hard disk and battery are located on the back.
Emmanuelle:Although we designed the stand to look as slim as possible, its leaf-like cross-section and curved contours make it rigid enough to resist twisting. We kept the stand inconspicuous, whether it's holding VAIO® Tap 20 upright or at an angle, which makes it look different from traditional computers.
Emmanuelle:VAIO® Tap 20 is comfortable to hold when adjusting its position from vertical to horizontal, thanks to its rounded edges. But striking the right balance between form and function was the most difficult part, in both design and engineering.
Uehara:For VAIO® Tap 20 to look at home in your living environment, we could hardly shirk on the details. There's no trace of screws, which are all enclosed in capped screw holes on back. A lot of thought also went into the rubberized anti-slip pad on the stand. Although we chose a material for the nubs under the screen that protects the unit while keeping the unit securely in place, for the bottom of the stand we chose a material that makes it easy to tilt the screen. Similarly, discrete pads on back prevent the screen from swiveling when it's lying flat—another example of helpful design behind the scenes.