October 28, 2014

Furby, Fitbit and Flex - What Every Dude wants for Christmas

THE POWER BASE transforms into a very innovative system that will save tons of room, but can it change the way we think about lawn equipment? It may.

Not problem getting the Furby and the Fitbit, but you'll have to wait until spring to get your hands on one of the new Troy Bilt Flex. But mark my words - next spring? This toy  tool may change how everyone thinks about lawn equipment -- and here's why. One base, lots of fun attachments.  Simple. What guy (gal) wouldn't want this in his toy box garage. This may be one mower that actually makes it out to do the lawn! It's a Transformers-meets-leaf blower. Oh Mr. Witwicki - Pinch me, it's 2014.

SO when a lawn and garden product makes it to a hip tech trend site like Gizmodo - home of Furby and Fitbits, it's worth noting. A lawn machine being covered by a tech site along side Apple iPhone Watches? Really, what's this world coming too? Furby, Fitbits and Flex.

OK - so upfront? Sure --  I am a spokesperson (Saturday 6 member) for Troy Bilt, but listen - this post has nothing to do with that - this is one that I am posting on my own simply because of it's cool-factor).  While doing my daily hunt for design trends on of all sites, Gizmodo - I see this: The Troy Bilt Flex. And I thought "Holy Cow - they really did do it"(because we in the product design business know that rarely does something that another designer shows you a year before, ever makes it to the market). I saw a sneak peak oh this last February while it was top secret,but honestly, I just thought that it would never make it to market.

But hey,  you gotta admit - it is a little cool.

And the fact that it ended up being covered by Gizmodo shows just how progressive and innovative some products can be - I mean, really - a snowblower along side Apple Watches and Fit Bits? Anyway, I thought that I would steal a hew photos online and cobble them together in Photoshop to show you how they might all look lined up, as most of the publicity photos are too slick and at different angles. I was really tempted to design an info graphic - but I think that you get the idea from these. I

I do hope that it is powerful, as the cost looks higher than I expected, as $400 for just the power base might not convince people to invest as they will still need to buy another attachment to make it work - like buying an Xbox before you buy a TV - but then again, we are sort of used to that sort of thing. The hurdle may be that everyone already has a flat screen TV, no one has this power base yet, and when a customer goes into a Lowes or hardware store asking for the Troy Bilt Flex, will they want to dish out $800 or more for moderate range snow blower? Perhaps. Guys love their toys. My suggestion is that they will need to put a pretty unique ad campaign behind this - something really different and game changing to communicate that values.  Hey - for space saving alone, it's sort of like one snowblower with lots of different attachments. Brilliant. I wish them luck.

I will be honest in that I knew that this product was being release sometime soon, (which now happens to be next spring) because I did get to experience a sneak peak of this product late February ( at least a rendering on paper). Always nice to see when something becomes real. As a product designer by day, I know how sometimes things can take longer, or never make it to market due to quality control, sales or cost reduction.

We always say that product design is like death and unicorns.  Or maybe a better way to say it is that often, great concepts are like concept cars. The prototypes never seem to make it to market.

I will say that I am impressed with this 'Transformer' of Lawn Care.

1 comment :

  1. I love your headline because it is so true. I was able to purchase a power washer from Home Depot last year that was a returned floor model for about 50% off retail. A current model no less. I figured I couldn't pass up a deal like that, and I was about to start painting an old fence and could use this to clean it. Well, in true "he-man" fashion, I suddenly found lots of items around the house that could be power washed. That weekend, I drove my significant other nuts washing down everything. Hey, you never know you needed something sometimes until you try it out. Great post.


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