Seattle Times and the Clix

June 26, 2006

Brier Dudley seems to agree about the Clix in his latest column in the Seattle Times:

“I’d argue that Microsoft has already developed an iPod challenger, and it’s been on sale for a couple of weeks at Best Buy and Amazon.com for about $200… The device is called the Clix.”

I was interviewed for this article and got a nice quote. Brier has more details about the development experience over on his blog. Just one correction- we didn’t specify the silicon for use, but we did provide direct feedback as decisions were being made .

I also want to call out the amazing work done by the iRiver America team. The packaging is largely to their credit- we provided critical feedback and encouraged a new, more refined design based on existing packaging in Korea. The iRiver team did all the heavy lifting and it shows.

At the end of the day, my job was two-fold: As UX (User Experience) PM, to play the part of the consumer end to end- to apply what I’ve learned working in this space for 7+ years and document our recommendations. From there, we (the v-team as we called ourselves) agreed on relative priorities w/ iRiver up-front. We acknowledged where we disagreed without ego or hubris, and worked together on a solution in the interest of the customer. We were invited to provide input in every meeting on the UX, system flow and regular milestones on naming, branding, messaging, out of box experience and more.

Shifting gears for a second. Looking to the development process we used as a case study, Chris Pirillo is still largely right in my opinion about the “User”. Except it’s users vs. the traditional development process that’s the issue- not the developers themselves. PMs, Devs, Testers, and Marketing are still WAY too silo’ed from their customers and residing in the echo chamber. I get irate when a PM or Dev tells me they’re too busy to go on a customer visit or staff a booth and talk to customers about their product. I look for these opportunities. But a better requires a multi-disciplined approach working together on a daily basis as well as talking to customers. That’s why we instituted a Scrum Model with “butts in seats at 9:30am accountability” on this project. Our mission statement, “Help our partner build a device we’re proud to recommend to family and friends everywhere with WMP11 Beta”. In my opinion, that’s what made it work so well this time around. And the fact that with the U10, iRiver was already on their way to building a great product. I speak for many within Microsoft when I say thank you to Reigncom/iRiver for the opportunity to work together.

P.S. I’m getting out of my echo chamber later this week at Gnomedex. See you there. And a question for the future- where else should I go to further get out of the echo chamber?

8 responses to Seattle Times and the Clix

  1. 

    Hi Sean, what about car\auto integration? The ipod still has the edge over anything else out there with built in integration into new cars and all of the 3rd party accessories that "just work" with every ipod out there (supposedly).

    I have had several other mp3 players but in thinking of picking out a new one, I just can’t get over the fact that none of the other devices have a great interface into cars (even if it’s just a charger with a stand and fm transmitter or audio out, not even mentioning ipod’s native built in capabilities into select cars). I don’t know what the percentages are but most of the people I know listen to music from their dap device in the car more than any other time. My commute is over 1.5 hrs a day and would love to have my large collection of yahoo or urge music along with me. It seems like a lot of the new devices are challenging the ipod on the coolness, usability and ease factors but integration with autos and 3rd party accessories is where Apple is going to be way ahead for a long time unless Microsoft does something.

    Does the clix have anything here?

  2. 

    I just picked up the Toshiba Gigabeat S, and to me that’s the true IPOD killer, Sean I saw you had one, why don’t you comment on that, the UI is awsome and it ones up ipod with the transfer of TV shows for free, its the same size physically and was done very very well. I think its better then the clix because it has the PMC UI

    Can’t comment on the car intergration that cannedsoda is talking about?

    I use a car stereo adapter and I can here music in my stereo thats about all the integration I need?

    I already have a car and don’t plan to buy a bmw just to hookup my ipod (:

  3. 

    We’ll be using URGE at the EMP party. 🙂 BTW, can we get a few to play with?!?

  4. 

    Right, I’m not looking for a car to purchase that integrates well with my dap. But having that integration with the auto makers is a huge advantage that Microsoft and its partners don’t have. Is Microsoft working with its partners to standardize the devices so that integration can happen? Hopefully the answer is yes and being announced soon…

  5. 

    cannedsoda —

    One clix car accessory I know of so far, and that’s an FM transmitter with integral clix/U10 car charger shown here:

    https://secure3.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=iriver&BusType=BtoC&Count2=952979683&CategoryID=4&Target=products.asp

    — DLF

  6. 

    I still have not got my hands on a Clix. 3 visits to Best Buy over the course of 10 days, and no luck. I almost had one this weekend. After getting my hopes up, the sales associate pulls out the box from behind the locked display case, only to find it empty with the words "display" written on the box. Yet they have no display model for me to play with. *sigh* Today, different Best Buy, same result.

    Before I fork over almost $200, I want to see the device and see how it works. Am I being unreasonable?

  7. 

    As far as car intergration I believe one thing that Apple has missed and everyone else that MS could and should look at.

    All the minivans and SUV’s that have DVD players built into the car can only play DVD’s and CD’s etc.

    Microsoft should partner with Car Manufacturers and build as a example

    -Media Center Mini PC builtin to the car (or how about a larger PMC form factor, fanless and small)

    -USB Drive that can be taken in out of the car to connect back to the house PC (similiar to HP personal media drive)

    -Then have the builtin LCD that are in cars today display My TV, My Music etc for the car

    This would completly replace the way people do it know (they bring cd’s and dvd’s with them) or they use media center to burn DVD’s to take with them which takes alot of time.

    Media Center Auto Edition

    now thats car intergration!

  8. 

    All good suggestions. Chris- I just talked to the marketing guys and we’re gonna give away 4 iRiver Clix devices at Gnomedex – 2 per day!