Plenty of companies turn to crowdfunding in order to raise the cash needed to manufacturer and ship their products. Eve Tech made a splash a few years ago by doing something a little different — the company “crowd developed” a Windows tablet by incorporating feedback from potential customers along the way… and then launching a crowdfunding campaign.
When I reviewed the Eve V tablet in late 2017, I was pretty impressed with the results. It definitely didn’t seem to be a case of too-many-cooks spoiling anything.
Unfortunately while the folks at Eve were able to build a pretty great tablet, they weren’t as good at managing inventory, fulfilling orders, and offering customer support.
So now the company is trying something a little different. Again. Eve has partnered with manufacturer PCH International to produce its next products. And while it’s sticking with the crowd-development process, the next four Eve devices will be a little less ambitious than the Eve V tablet was.
Within the next year or so, Eve plans to launch four new products, and it’s launched new sections for each at the Eve Community site, where folks can weigh in with their ideas.
We’re still pretty early in the design process for each of these devices, but Eve is asking folks to vote in a series of polls to help figure out what features to prioritize.
For instance, Eve has already decided that its mini PC will probably be bigger than an Intel NUC or Mac Mini, but smaller than a typical desktop. But the company wants to know what potential customers expect to use a mini PC for, why they’d rather use a small PC than a full-sized tower, and what’s wrong with existing options.
For the monitor, the company is asking community members to vote on screen size, aspect ratio, and what features are most or least important (such as color, brightness, contrast ratio, response rate, and viewing angles).
As for headphones, Eve hasn’t even decided if it will launch over-ear, on-ear, in-ear, or bone-conducting headphones yet.
Further along in the process is a docking station that Eve cleverly calls Donald Dock (or maybe not-so-clever if it results in any sort of legal action). This computer accessory has been in the planning stages since late 2017, so the company’s current questions are more about the potential pricing… and whether the specs as proposed still make sense.
Eventually future Eve hopes to produce new tablets and/or laptops, but for now the company says it wants to “focus on creating simpler products that underpromise and overdeliver, and avoid the supply chain risks that come with a more complex computing device.”
In other words, Eve is aware that it’s failure to deliver Eve V tablets in a timely manner pissed off a lot of people and the company is hoping to avoid that this time around by sticking with more manageable projects for a little while.
Hopefully things go a little more smoothly this time around.