Friday, September 9, 2011

Its Finally Finished…almost

I stumbled across an article on the Time online website recently entitled It Just Doesn’t Work: Why New Tech Products Are Increasingly Unsatisfying. It struck a chord with me because I’ve seen so much of technology delivered to market that was so obviously ‘half-baked’.

In the drive to get ‘mindshare’ products are being released to market in ever more rapid cycles. The tech just doesn’t have enough time to get fully baked.

The thing is the tech companies know that most ‘early adopters’ (read: unknowing beta testers) will find ways to justify the quirky behaviour of their shiny new toy even though most people would call it a piece of shit and return the unfinished mess to the manufacturer vowing never to buy another one of their products. Ever.

Its been an axiom of the tech industry that you never buy a product from Microsoft until it gets to Version 3 because the earlier ones just suck.

The article quotes a leaked email from HP’s Jon Rubenstein talking about the, now freshly buried, TouchPad. The part that interested me was:

Today we bring the HP TouchPad and webOS 3.0 to the world.  The HP team has achieved something extraordinary – especially when you consider that it’s been just one year since our work on the TouchPad began in earnest.  Today also marks the start of a new era for HP as our vision for connected mobility begins to take form - an ecosystem of services, applications and devices connected seamlessly by webOS.
 If you’ve seen the recent TouchPad reviews you know that the industry understands HP’s vision and sees the same potential in webOS as we do.  David Pogue from the New York Times says “there are signs of greatness here.” (I’ve included links to David’s review and others below.) You’ve also seen that reviewers rightly note things we need to improve about the webOS experience. The good news is that most of the issues they cite are already known to us and will be addressed in short order by over-the-air software and app catalog updates.  We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember…’s a marathon, not a sprint.

People don’t want to wait for ‘the next update’ they want it to work out of the box to the level of their expectations.

The TouchPad didn’t, neither did RIM’s Playbook or Vista or so many other technological balls ups.

Rubenstein also quotes some of the first reviews for Mac OS X in his e-mail:

"...overall the software is sluggish" 
"...there are no quality apps to use, so it won’t last" 
"'s just not making sense...."
 It’s hard to believe these statements described MacOS X - a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.

Great pick up Jon!

That was 10 years ago.

Ten years ago people would accept stuff that won’t get out of the starting gate today.

You bet the farm on the expectation that people would patiently wait until you got it right while providing HP with another revenue stream. You lost.

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