Exclusive Interview with Stacy Wolff, HP Director of Design, on HP Envy

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wolff When HP previewed its new lineup of notebooks, Dana Wollman and I had a chance to sit down with Stacy Wolff, director of design for HP mobile products, and asked him about the creation of the new Envy 13 and the Envy 15. He talks about how HP took the original VooDoo Envy, and updated the design to the models that were announced today.

Wolff takes us through the entire process, from some early sketches, to wood prototypes of the exterior, to the finished product--which includes the packaging.

We've broken up the interview into several segments. Take a look after the break.

How the Envy evolved from the VooDoo Envy 133 to the HP Envy 13 and 15--why the carbon fiber chassis is no more, and how thinness isn't the end-all, be-all when it comes to notebook design.

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How designers arrive at their decisions regarding the ultimate shape of a notebook. In the case of the Envy, "less is more":

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A look at an early prototype, and why some of its features were changed. Also, a look at some concept sketches.

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How the chassis evolved from milled aluminum to a molded magnesium alloy:

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Finally, Wolff does an unboxing of the Envy 13, explaining how even the packaging was given serious thought.

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3 comments
  • Capt'n Corrupt Says:

    I think the slice battery is a wonderful piece of innovation that HP has added to soup. I think that other manufacturers should take note (including apple) and offer similar designs.

    The mag safe, or something similar, would have been nice, but with the slice battery, you won't have to worry about looking for an outlet or even thinking about one, as you have more than enough power to last you a VERY full day. Laptop mag has gotten over 10 hours with the slice, and PC magazine reports over 14 hours. Consider 10-14 hours of continuous usage. That's enough power for two reasonably full working days.

    Compare this with the fact that you can't 'swap' the Macbook battery. This makes the mag-safe a much more necessary feature for the macbook, but less so with the envy, as it can comfortably do without it with the amazing battery life. The fact that you don't have to think about battery life, or going to places you know you can find an outlet is amazing and puts the envy into a new league of notebooks.

    I'm going to buy an envy 13. It has the best balance of features I have ever seen.

    If I had to improve the envy, I would provide a 3g connectivity option, a higher graphics card option (mobility radeon 4650), and lastly a backlit keyboard. The 3g connectivity would nicely complement the units high-mobility characteristics. The other features are frills, and while nice, would not be necessary.

    }:^)~

  • Mark Says:

    Yeah it does look nice, but he could of added a "mag-safe" like feature for the power adapter. I really hate how loose it becomes gradually after 6 months to a year of owning an HP notebook.

    If you're gonna take the unibody conept, why not take it a step further and grab Apple's great innovative idea of "mag-safe"? And this is coming from a PC-guy whose owned 3 HP notebooks over the last 5 years.

  • Fanfoot Says:

    Okay look. I think this looks BEAUTIFUL. But it is nearly an exact copy of the Apple MBP design. If this guy is so full of himself that he can't admit that, why would I listen to anything he has to say?

    Sure I think it improves on the MBP design in various ways. The dual hard drive bays. The magnetic clip on battery. The HDMI out, eSata/USB port. The removal of the optical drive. The massive amount of RAM supported. The i7 processor. Etc. All great improvements.

    And I think I am going to buy one. Seriously.

    But c'mon, its a COPY OF APPLE's DESIGN.

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