Hybrids invariably test well in focus group testing, but when convertibles and detachables hit the shelves they rarely sell in any great numbers. It seems that people generally love the idea of a laptop and tablet in one, but when faced with the prospect of owning one, the story changes. The most common criticism of hybrids is that they are simply "too weird" and "too complicated" to comprehend. On the design side, the reaction has been to simplify the equation - to bias toward one direction or another and create a hybrid that feels as much like a laptop (or tablet) as possible. This approach makes sense, and we did it with some success in North Cape.
Vale, however, takes a different design approach. It strives to create a product that boldly feels unique to any other laptop or tablet out there, and yet integrates the two modes beautifully.
Most of the product's weight is in the lid. To avoid tipping over, the foot needed to be about 23mm from the back. Since we didn't have a hinge, we didn't need to grow the system to accomodate this - but we did have about 23mm of unused space behind the foot. A beautiful home for an active stylus.
A lot of discussion was put into whether the base should greatly expand the capabilities (and also size and weight) of the Ultrabook when attached: should it offer more IO ports, double the battery life, boost the performance, provide a wi-fi boost? In the end, the right decision was a "what you see is what you get" approach. When you detach the keyboard and trackpad, that is precisely what you leave behind...the rest of the experience remains perfectly intact. I think this was a smart move. Instead of offloading performance to a detachable peice of the system, more effort was placed into packing that performance into the space behind the screen.