There’s nothing easy about designing great hardware.
“You have to build a lot of different devices for a lot of different people for reasons of comfort and productivity,” Microsoft Corporate VP of Devices Panos Panay tells Business Insider.
This is a new area of expertise for Microsoft. Back when the original Surface tablet was being designed around 2010, the hardware team was just “12 people in a room,” says Microsoft head of Industrial Design Ralf Groene.
Then, they grew to a floor. Then, two floors.
Now, Microsoft has Building 87, a massive complex of laboratories, factory equipment, machine shops, and even the quietest room in the world. In those labs, Microsoft devices like the Surface Book laptop and the Xbox One S got designed, prototyped, and finalized.
I got to go inside the Microsoft Device Labs on a recent visit to the main Microsoft campus. Here’s a look: