VanMoof S4 & X4 (or VanMoof S5 & X5). Will VanMoof reinvent the matrix display?
More and more bicycle producers are bringing e-bike versions out and making their products compatible with the Internet of Things.
Matrix Display and VanMoof App.
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VanMoof is one of the frontiers, starting with the smart bikes, now and then they are implementing newer features in their lineup of bicycles, like their recently refreshed S3 and X3 models, with Apple Find My integration .
Integrating the latest technologies points the focus on the user interfaces the bicycles are offering to the users. Most people still prefer, jump and ride rather than dealing with complications.
Simplest example; buttons.
The bell button should ring the bell. One button, one feature, nothing more, nothing less. On the other hand, tech-oriented riders may wish to have additional intuitive approaches, like the long press, double press.
How about the feedback you receive? Do you wish to receive sound, voice, haptic or visual feedback? When we increase the features, we increase the complexity, therefore the complexity in usability.
The best practice is to address the essential senses of the user while interacting with the device. In this decade the best user experience is through displays, displays with a proper user interface.
Let’s take a quick look at the current options out there concerning the displays and apps the bicycle manufacturers are offering.
Angell app, together with the integrated display is quite nice.
The app connects to the bicycle and works with the integrated display in harmony. Users can start music on the phone then control it via the integrated display. Similar fashion, add a destination in the navigation and follow the instructions over the display.
If you like, the integrated display also serves as a “gym bike” display, so you can select to burn 300 calories or ride for 30 minutes and watch the progress over the display.
Cowboy 3 is equipped with a battery indicator on the top tube but no display. The company encourages its riders to download their official app.
Cowboy app supports the bike with features like on/off, lights, assist levels, cockpit view (speed, battery %, distance, duration), and navigation.
The illustration above is from Cowboy 4 (available in September). It seems like they redesigned the stem and moved the battery indicator. They also introduced a built-in quad lock with a wireless charging unit.
Like in the illustration, the user will mount their phone on the stem and use it as a control center. Controls, navigation, activities, connections, leaderboards. It sounds very much like seamless integration, and people love such things.
VanMoof, how about VanMoof? The top tube indicator — battery indicator combined with speedometer — was there since the time of VanMoof smart bicycles.
The matrix display — a unit of unique design and seamless integration — was introduced with S2/X2 models and improved with S3/X3 models.
The matrix display indicates different states of the bicycle, such as on/off, lock/unlock/alarm, connected/disconnected, assist levels, localization selections, gear, battery indicator, and last but not least current speed. The latest VanMoofs models also have speakers to support the visual interaction with sound effects.
There are also official VanMoof iOS and Android apps. These apps display the current location of the bike (this is misleading since the app only shows the location of the phone when it’s connected to the bicycle), rides (this feature is also pretty inaccurate), settings (assist, local, alarm, unlock, light), help (FAQs, error codes, video tutorials), and bikes (switch between other VMs). However no navigation, activity integration, social options like leaderboards.
Matrix display is unique and got better (readable under direct sunlight) in recently refreshed S3/X3 models. However, while staring at the matrix display, so to the top tube, the rider may lose focus. Matrix display should stay but may be relocated. Especially if VanMoof decides to extend the app into a dashboard.
If the mobile phone will serve as the bicycle’s central display with VM or 3rd party apps, maybe having the matrix display next to the handles/buttons, integrated into the handlebar would be a good idea.
In the example below, matrix displays show relevant button functions when the dashboard (user’s phone with VM app mouthed to the stem) is present.
*there are two, left and right; ignore the grey frames around the matrix displays, the orange dots represent potential left/right signals.
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🚲 Last but not least, if you consider buying an S3/X3, use the following discount code during checkout and get €100/$100/£95 off on VanMoof accessories & PoM services: ADV-Y78Q-4S9G-HEM7
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