At SWW18 Dassault Systèmes described a version of Solidworks that would be available in the browser: xDesign.
It sounds like a terrific product, as it appears to include most of the desktop Solidworks functionality and due to its browser orientation, can be used on literally any device, including your mobile. Gone will be the days when you needed to shop for a computer sufficiently powerful in graphics to handle Solidworks; now that happens in the cloud.
One question that immediately came to mind when I heard of xDesign was the fate of Onshape.
Onshape is a competitive product to Solidworks, providing similar but more limited features than Solidworks. But it’s key advantage is that is available only in online mode. There is no desktop version of Onshape. There are some pluses and minuses to online configurations, but for many people, an online option is compelling.
So it would appear that Onshape’s advantages have suddenly disappeared with the emergence of xDesign. Or do they?
When xDesign was announced it was not made clear when, precisely, it would be publicly available. It seems that it is being beta tested, and may do so for a while yet. That’s good for Onshape, but only temporarily. That said, it seems that Solidworks has been talking about xDesign for a couple of years now, so their beta program appears extra-long. It’s not clear when this product will actually be released.
The other fact not mentioned was the intended pricing for xDesign. While it seems that Solidworks subscribers will gain access to xDesign, what about people who wish to use only the online version? That’s where Onshape would compete.
If the pricing of xDesign (alone) significantly exceeds that of Onshape, then it could be good news for Onshape. On the other hand, if it is the same or even lower, then Onshape must take dramatic action.
But given the rather long test period, it’s likely Onshape has developed a contingency plan by this point. We just don’t know what it is.