At Sony, we pride ourselves in designing premium products that bring together style, practicality and technology. It’s why we’ve won so many design awards over the years. Xperia Z2 Tablet is just one of the latest products that follows this Sony unique heritage in tradition and design.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Karin Härenstam, lead designer on Xperia Z2 Tablet, to tell us what went in to designing the world’s slimmest and lightest waterproof tablet.
1. What were the priorities you had in mind when designing Xperia Z2 Tablet?
Our main goal when designing Xperia Z2 Tablet was to improve upon the successful design features of its forbear, Xperia Tablet Z. To do this we wanted to simplify the overall hardware of the Z2 Tablet to make the device even thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The OmniBalance design system allowed us to create a perfectly symmetrical device that feels comfortable and lightweight no matter how you hold it. Our other focus was on creating a product that was truly premium in quality. I think from the aluminium power button to the durable tempered glass on the front, you can see the care that a great deal has gone in to designing Xperia Z2 Tablet.
2. Z2 Tablet is a truly beautiful product, what challenges did you face when designing Xperia Z2 Tablet?
The most difficult challenge was to make the hardware feel solid, sturdy and premium, but at the same time ensuring Xperia Z2 was as slim as possible. To achieve this, we drastically reduced the number of components that went in to forming the skeleton and external parts the joined the sides and bank of the device together. The backside of the device is made of a very thin sheet of high-grade fiberglass; by moulding that straight in to into the frame of the tablet we created a seamless exoskeleton without any divide between the side and rear panes of the tablet. This solution not only made the device more rigid, it also added a more premium and holistic look to the design.
3. You’ve put a lot of effort in to getting this latest tablet as thin and lightweight as possible, but why?
Consumers love lightweight and minimalistic technology. It makes a device easier to carry around and handle, it’s also a bit of a badge of honour; especially in the tech space. More than this though, we wanted to create a tablet that not only felt great in the consumer’s hand, but looked great too. I think by combining the 6.4mm thick hardware and the 10.1” screen, with the OmniBalance design and the minimalistic features we definitely achieved that.
4. Do you think this trend for thin and lightweight tech will continue? When will it stop, and what challenges will this trend pose future designers if devices continue to get smaller?
Premium tech products that are lightweight and thin, but at the same time sturdy and durable are becoming more and more important for the end consumer. This puts a big demand on both the design and engineering teams to be at the forefront with new technology and manufacturing techniques. How to combine a product that not only features great technology and a stylish design, but also is also practical to use, is an exciting and unique challenge for us.
5. The Guardian described Xperia Z2 Tablet as a “serious competitor” to the Apple iPad Air. From a design perspective, what do you make of these direct comparisons?
Both products focus on thin design. But other than that, I think the two products have a completely different design language and use very distinctive manufacturing techniques.
1Based on results from research conducted by Strategy Analytics as 29 January 2014. Get more information on our test results page.