Feature Design VAIO X Series
Feature Design VAIO X Series

A design-powered battery, too—ideal in form and function

Morisawa:We had just reached the final stage of development when we were suddenly requested to design the extended "X battery." Everyone in design and engineering was taken by surprise, and normally, we would have declined this kind of request. Nevertheless I knew that a maximum runtime of nearly 20.5 hours would appeal to people, and we decided to take on battery design.

Battery life is affected by thermal diffusion, and the structure we chose to dissipate heat was partly inspired by high heels. Ultimately, it was given a more massive appearance, like aerodynamic sports car parts. We thought people might like how the notebook gives a different impression depending on the battery used—light or heavy-duty. It's also easier to type with the notebook propped up in back, after the X battery is attached. The notebook is supported at five positions on the bottom to prevent it from being bent by forceful typing.

We originally considered having the battery attached by means of a latch, but that would require drilling large holes on the bottom. But for owners who don't use the X battery, the holes would have been meaningless. That was unacceptable to me, so I suggested screws instead. Installation of the X battery involves two small parts, already used on the notebook for other purposes. I think it was the logical decision, based on cost, ease of implementation, and design.

Pushing the envelope

Morisawa:The rose gold VAIO logo also distinguishes this as special model, and we hoped the gold body color option would tempt more women to pick one up.

It's harder than you might imagine to ensure a smooth, even finish in rose gold coloring of the metal logo. And it's not easy matching the gold of the aluminum body to that of the carbon fiber lid. Achieving exactly the right color was a painstaking experience.

Redeveloping interface ports, incorporating our rigid arc design, and signing our work with a rose gold VAIO logo. All of this is costly development. But to make up for it, we carefully studied the production line in advance and tried to reduce the quantity and types of parts to streamline production. We also investigated paints that would bring out rich hues in fewer steps. Countless close collaborations of this kind, between designers and engineers, helped keep the total cost under control. Our parts and paint suppliers also supported us and accepted our exacting needs. It took the coordinated effort of everyone in development to make the VAIO X a reality.

Tsuge:Over the course of this project, we encountered many difficulties, and frankly, I wondered several times if we had reached a dead end. What helped us overcome the challenges was a shared awareness that this project was very important for Sony. Ultraportables still don't dominate the computer market. But as an opportunity to demonstrate what sets Sony apart, this is the most critical category for us.

The VAIO X is as thin and light as a paper notebook, and anyone can easily take it with them. We haven't compromised on performance, either; it will stand up to rigorous business use. The same Atom processors, yet Sony models are different. I know you'll see what I mean when you pick one up yourself.

| 1 | 2 | 3 |