SAN JOSE, Calif. How will social networks impact product design? That's what we asked representatives from Intel Corp. and Taiwan computer maker AsusTek Computer Inc.
In October, Intel and Asus launched WePC.com, a social network, aimed to generate insights that could be useful for designing next-generation systems. More than 6,000 users have registered for the site to date, generating 13,000 votes on favorite designs and 4,500 user comments on industry blogs at the site.
The network has generated several ideas for next-gen computers to date including an integrated artificial-intelligence assistant, a built-in projector and a removable touch screen that would communicate wirelessly with the keyboard. The community also weighed in on the concept of a dual-panel touch screen system Asus launched recently at the CeBit show.
In an email exchange Katie Wallace, a campaign manager in Intel's partner marketing group and Wan-Ting Yang, a project manager at Asus talked about their experiences so far. Their answers suggest social networks are both a marketing mechanism and a way to throw ideas over the transom for engineers to consider. We suspect it's still early days for social networks that make intimate and meaningful links between product managers, design engineers and end users.