Panos Panay’s eye for detail is exactly what Amazon’s lackluster hardware division needs

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Panos Panay brings a degree of element to Amazon’s {hardware} division we’ve not actually seen earlier than, and I am way more excited than I ought to be about it.


Instantly after Panay’s departure was introduced, there was loads of hypothesis about why and the place Panay would find yourself. Enterprise Insider reported that Panay left, partially, attributable to Microsoft streamlining its {hardware} lineup to the core Floor merchandise and eliminating or suspending the extra experimental merchandise reminiscent of Microsoft’s Floor Duo smartphone.

The timing of Panay’s announcement was awkward, at finest, as he is recognized for being overly passionate when saying new merchandise, and it did not fairly make sense for him to go away Microsoft simply three days earlier than the newest Floor merchandise had been set to be introduced, properly… one thing simply felt off.

After which, on Wednesday, Amazon introduced Panay would change Dave Limp. Limp led Amazon’s units and companies for the final 13 years. Initially, Limp introduced he was retiring, however it’s since been revealed he’ll grow to be CEO of the Jeff Bezos firm, Blue Origin.

Limp made Alexa a family identify and has grown Amazon’s personal {hardware} and product lineup to what it’s immediately with the likes of Echo good audio system, shows, the Hearth Pill lineup that is certainly a success with dad and mom, and serving to refine product roadmaps for Eero, Blink, and Ring; all corporations Amazon acquired.

However Wednesday’s announcement that Panay is becoming a member of Amazon’s crew has piqued my curiosity and, frankly, has me very enthusiastic about the way forward for Amazon’s {hardware} merchandise and, possibly, for the primary time ever, Alexa.

Why? Panay brings an infectious quantity of ardour to the desk, and with that comes new concepts, consideration to element, and the willingness to suppose exterior the field, fail, iterate, after which strive once more.

amazon fire tablet review image 1

You do not have to look arduous to see simply how primary most of Amazon’s {hardware} merchandise are. Amazon’s Hearth Pill lineup is a first-rate instance. Hearth tablets have plastic housings, a display screen that is simply alright, and efficiency that is simply sufficient to maintain your child entertained whereas on a protracted highway journey and or for primary duties, however that is about it. Hearth Tablets are designed to be cheap, if not disposable.

If I needed to guess, the inner ethos for design at Amazon was to design one thing that might get the job performed for as low-cost as doable. I am unable to consider the final time the {hardware} expertise of an Amazon system wowed me.

Keep in mind that Amazon’s Worldwide Digital division, which incorporates Alexa and {hardware} groups, was reportedly on tempo to lose $10 billion in 2022.

However whenever you take a look at Microsoft’s product lineup beneath Panay’s tenure, there’s been a gradual stream of Floor merchandise which have all been well-designed and obtained and constantly pushed Microsoft’s {hardware} ambitions ahead.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 in laptop mode with attached blue keyboard on a countertop.

And that is the place prospects such as you and I’ll profit from a change of the guard at Amazon. Based mostly on his monitor document at Microsoft and judging by the sheer pleasure and fervour he’ll deliver, the method to design and performance of Amazon’s {hardware} is sure to enhance. I can envision a brand new Echo Present 15 with a kickstand just like what the Floor lineup makes use of as an alternative of getting a cumbersome stand that it’s essential to manipulate to regulate the display screen’s angle.

However on the identical time, Panay’s greatest problem can be strolling the road between enhancing the general high quality and design of Amazon merchandise whereas staying true to Amazon’s low-cost method. How does he steadiness Amazon’s method to {hardware} with enhancing the design, high quality, and performance of Echo, Kindle, Hearth tablets, and possibly even one other Hearth cellphone?

(Aspect observe: Should you’re studying this Panos, please make including USB-C to the Kindle Oasis a day-one precedence. How has it not occurred already?!?)

Amazon’s complete method to {hardware} has been to promote it at or under value after which make up the loss by promoting its companies – even when that meant folks had been shopping for extra Amazon merchandise.

However Panay’s method with the Floor line has been to push the dialog ahead about what a pc may or ought to be – does anybody bear in mind the Floor E-book 3 and its removable show? Or what in regards to the Floor Laptop computer Studio that appears like a traditional laptop computer at first look, however with a little bit strain in the suitable space, the attractive show rotates and folds onto its deck, and also you’re now utilizing a pill.

Amazon Echo Pop from the front in teal

Maybe Amazon will find yourself with its core Echo and Hearth pill line with slight enhancements to design and supplies, with a minimal affect on the general value, after which one other, extra premium line of merchandise.

Whereas I have never centered on all of it that a lot, Panay was additionally answerable for Home windows, particularly Home windows 11, throughout his time at Microsoft. And if there’s one other space apart from {hardware} the place Amazon can use much more assist, it is with the software program that powers its units, such because the Hearth tablets and Echo Present good shows. The software program is, as soon as once more, adequate to get the job performed, however it does not shock and delight by any means.

No matter adjustments Panay ushers into Amazon’s {hardware} and companies division will not occur in a single day. Panay will take a while to study the inside workings of the Amazon means and slowly implement adjustments, however I am unable to wait till we begin to see his affect and affect on Amazon’s merchandise. Who is aware of, possibly it’s going to even entice me sufficient to truly maintain an Echo speaker or show setup in my residence for longer than every week.

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