You may have noticed that routers are some of the best designed pieces of peripheral hardware out there, from Apple's Airport Extreme to Belkin's line of sleek obelisks. That placed an enormous burden on Linksys after it was bought by Cisco in 2003. Linksys knew they its routers had to both stand out and fit in, in an increasingly competitive design space. Yanko looked behind the scenes of their recent redesign, reporting:
When Chris Landry took up residence at Linksys, now a part of Cisco - there was no real design ethos in regard to their products. The designs usually came straight from OEMs. He initiated a worldwide visual audit and with his new design team based in Irvine, California - took 3 months to evaluate every hardware collateral they had...
...Routers are a balance between precise engineering and for the consumer’s sake; aesthetics. They extensively tested the new routers to make sure internal antennas would be as powerful as the external ones. The challenge and risk was to convince people nothing was sacrificed. People equate antennas with wireless transmissions and when they don’t see it, they think it’s subpar. But Landry likens the evolution of his routers to that of the TV and auto industry. Take a look at where their antennas used to be and how they’re engineered now.
The end result was a redesigned suite of wireless peripherals. What do you think about the results? I personally still see Belkin as the leader in the space, but Linksys's new routers are pretty sexy.
Read more about the process at Yanko.