Elusive SOLIDWORKS in the Cloud Spotted in Los Angeles
Michael Alba posted on February 08, 2018 |
SOLIDWORKS tantalizes with Xdesign but won't let it out until "market is ready"
Behold: the elusive Xdesign spotted in the wild at SOLIDWORKS World 2018.
Behold: the elusive Xdesign spotted in the wild at SOLIDWORKS World 2018.

SOLIDWORKS has been dangling a cloud CAD carrot in front of users for years now: Xdesign, the SOLIDWORKS answer to cloud-based CAD platforms like Onshape and Fusion 360. At this year’s SOLIDWORKS World 2018 in Los Angeles, Xdesign once again made the main stage, got some hype, and was generally spoken of as a real product. SOLIDWORKS brought up a real-life Xdesign user, Edson Gebo, who spoke about the program, and there was even an honest-to-God working version of Xdesign on the exhibit floor. 

So, when can users finally get their hands on this CAD chimera? It’s unclear. One veteran CAD editor told us he cannot get it. Even though Xdesign seems completely functional and has a handful of users (and I do mean handful: the number is less than 30), it’s still locked in a private beta after its initial announcement two years ago

“We know it’s ready to go,” said Kishore Boyalakuntla, SOLIDWORKS VP of Product Portfolio Management, when I asked him about the holdup. The primary reason, it seems, is that SOLIDWORKS wants to make sure they get this release absolutely right. 

“SOLIDWORKS users trust SOLIDWORKS because of our reliability,” explained Boyalakuntla, and the company wants this reliability to extend to Xdesign. 

Boyalakuntla said that over the next few months, a few thousand SOLIDWORKS employees and resellers will be stress testing the program. They also hope to put Xdesign in the hands of more SOLIDWORKS vets like Edson Gebo. But it’s not just testing the reliability of the program that’s holding up its release: SOLIDWORKS still needs to test the market for cloud CAD. Who wants it, and how much will they pay for it? 

“We don’t want to do a bait-and-switch for pricing,” said Boyalakuntla. “When we launch it, we want to launch it at a price that’s there for many years.” 

Okay, fair enough. SOLIDWORKS wants to get Xdesign right, the product and the pricing, so they’re not exactly worried about the timeline of release. “When we launch it, we will scale so fast,” predicted Boyalakuntla. 

In the next couple months, SOLIDWORKS hopes to begin opening up Xdesign to different markets; by the end of the year, they hope to scale to several thousand users. It’s probably fair to take those numbers with a grain of salt, but if you’re eagerly awaiting Xdesign, I can at least assure you that SOLIDWORKS hasn’t forgotten about it. Xdesign really does exist, it really seems to work, and someday, with a little luck and a lot of patience, you’ll really be able to open your browser and have it.  

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