Causes of terrible gadgets




Causes of terrible gadgets considered the five most common reasons that appear on the market are far from perfect devices – such as tablets Microsoft Surface, BlackBerry Playbook and the player Google Nexus Q.

Many faced with a situation where you buy the unit from the eminent manufacturer, but it is useless. And then the question arises: how companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development, could “come up with this at all.” Engineers call these crafts “kludge”, which means poorly designed device, wanton mix of different parts, from the use of this gadget will not get any pleasure.

Software companies from it too hard times. Microsoft, for example, due to low sales Surface RT wrote off $ 900 million in profits in the most recent quarter. However, the company did not lose heart: Tuesday, October 22, began selling the second generation of tablet Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, with which Microsoft intends to step up sales line. offers to get acquainted with the five most common reasons why companies sometimes turn openly failing gadgets.

1. The developers are guided not by ordinary consumers, and to themselves

There is a saying: “Developers build software is not for people but for themselves.” A good example proving this, – Windows 8, released by Microsoft in 2012. Its output was accompanied by much fanfare, but in fact it turned out that the new operating system gets too uncomfortable for most people. Microsoft has released a software platform that focuses on the use of plates, while the majority of users continue to use for traditional PCs.

Sales of “eight” failed by September 2013, ten months after release, Windows 8 has gained a little more than 7% of the market for PC operating systems. Microsoft this failure did not know for a long time: even Vista once sold better.

IT-expert Christopher Dede, who had worked in his career, including, and at Microsoft, convinced that the thing is too much love for “tablets” by the managers of the corporation. Microsoft executives goes to all meetings with tablets and laptops with swiveling touch screens. Such devices, however, is not particularly popular in other companies, says Dede. Following this same logic, Microsoft released a “model” for Windows 8 tablet – Surface. The experiment cost the company $ 900 million.

The plates are really well suited to top management to view reports, but Microsoft executives have forgotten that the rest of the world is accustomed to using PCs differently. Office workers tend to sit at the table and work on the big screen using a “mouse” and keyboard. Those wishing to use the device for continuous operation with a 10.6-inch display was little.

Another example – the music player Nexus Q, which even became a defendant in the rating of the failed projects of IT-industry according to the 2012 edition of The Huffington Post. Engineers apparently forgot about the users, creating a “perfect” musical gadget for themselves. The device destroyed the weak functionality and high price $ 299.

Or take at least BlackBerry PlayBook – tablet from the company that in its entire history of existence did the only smart phones for the corporate segment. Develop PlayBook became almost immediately after the iPad, but the device is turned “raw”, underdeveloped, and, importantly, it is unnecessary to fans of the brand.

Another common mistake: developers are re-evaluating the state of the infrastructure, which is necessary to use the majority of their customers.

Case in point – laptops running Google Chrome OS. This operating system is actually composed of a modified browser and several office utilities.

Laptop-based Chrome OS – a good idea for those people who are always in a fast and stable internet connection, – such is, for example, in the campuses of IT-companies.

However, engineers did not take into account that access to the Internet in most homes and offices is far from what they used to enjoy.

2. The dominance of patent “trolls”

Developers are forced to reckon with the fact that many needed to create a first-class product technology patented by other companies. Today’s IT-industry has turned into a giant cluster of “patent trolls.” Almost every major manufacturer of gadgets is suing a competitor and had to respond to his counterclaims.

Sometimes it comes to the point of absurdity: in 1999, the online retailer Amazon has patented principle according to which a registered user to order the product online store can be just a click. It looks as if Nike decided to patent the presence of drawstrings in the shoes.

However, Amazon application for this patent approved. This means that Amazon now has the ability to sue any competitor which will make the process of buying goods on its website as convenient. Conflict usually arises exactly as long as the market leader can deal with competitors in other ways.

Wired edition tells the story of the graduate business school at Stanford Kate Endress. Her project, involves the creation of a new type of glasses for people suffering from myopia, was built a few years and was ready for its first round of venture financing. But the dream shattered law firm Ditto, which, as it turned out, had a patent on the type of frames that are going to use Endress.

When she was threatened with lawsuit for $ 250 million, an entrepreneur realized that the idea would have to be abandoned. “All these years of hard work have been in vain,” – she said.

According to Collin Chen of the University of Santa Clara, 90% of start-ups created in the IT-industry, somehow violate someone’s patent, and therefore are often on the verge of extinction.

The United States has brought a wealth of “technology” companies that are engaged only in that buy up patents from their developers, and then hire a staff of lawyers and suing the IT-giants. Calculation of “troll” is primitive, but effective: a large corporation often much easier to buy off potential opponents in court than to spend resources on its legal defense. In the situation with “patent trolls” had to intervene even President Barack Obama. He commissioned his own Administration to develop a bill that would restrict the legal possibility of “trolls.” On the initiative of the president speaks publicly in June 2013, but has yet to a particular document is not reached.

Sometimes it happens, and vice versa: corporate giants can bring a small developer of breakthrough products to bankruptcy. So almost happened to the once small company Nvidia, the court to which in 2000 gave the then giant 3Dfx. The plaintiff argued that the competitor uses secure technology to them multitexturing graphics. Fortunately, the judge stated that 3DFX trying to “patent the wheel”, and the plaintiff’s claim she denied. Take judge another solution – the company already NVidia may not exist.

3. Engineers and marketing people – people from different planets

Technical and marketing department often hate each other. Marketers who supposedly know what the customer needs, and people who need to translate their ideas into practice, are generally reluctant to communicate with each other.

Example proving how much damage it can bring – released in May 2013 game console Xbox One. The distinguishing feature of this device – access to internet television. This results in a product that is required for a permanent connection to the Internet and television functions it worked out very badly.

Microsoft had to quickly create software updates, and to publicly apologize for all defects. Typical case: marketers demanded engineers television features and continuous access to the service Xbox Live!, And the engineers have not paid the TV functions overlooked because rarely watch TV. But engineers often are avid gamers, so in terms of playability Xbox One was perfect. Throughout the rest of the product has proved a failure.

The problem of poor communications marketers and engineers has reached such proportions that even became the subject of regular studies by social scientists.

4. The extra cores

Software developers do not always test their products on the popular “hardware”, because for them it is – additional labor costs. In 2007 began the mass transition of PCs with single-core to dual-core chips. Then replace the latter came quad-core processors. Theoretically, the PC had to start work four times more efficient. But it did not happen.

The fact that most of today’s software does not use all of the computing power new chips. People engaged in software development, are not always interested in spending the resources working on the issue of load distribution of your application on the PC between all cores. Therefore, even with a quad-core smartphone chip frequency 2.3 GHz may hang when used in their application tries to switch the playback of one song to another.

Members blogs have reported that even the computer game World of WarCraft can only use one core on a triple-core PC. Naturally, the game may slow down if the power of the computer used by only 33%.

5. Innovation is killing corporate policy

You might think that the main problem of large corporations that their engineers are simply unable to come up with new breakthrough ideas. Often, however, the engineers simply can not create something worthwhile, because the management corporation kills the idea at the stage of implementation. Large corporate monsters do not like to take risks and explore new markets that do not guarantee them an instant profit.

For example, Microsoft has a dominant position in the smartphone market until quite recently – in 2007. But when he appeared Apple iPhone, the company reacted to the idea of ​​a smartphone with no physical keys skeptical and responded “uberfonom» Kin. He had a small screen and a physical QWERTY-keyboard – as in smartphones, which were issued before. Result: 8000 units sold, one of ten employees Microsoft. Each gadget has brought the company sold 62.5 thousand dollars in damages.

Initially, the engineers who worked on the project Kin, proposed to develop a full line-up but Steve Ballmer, known in that it can throw a subordinate chairs, hacked to death with an idea. Who oversaw the project Kin Andy Rubin resigned from Microsoft to Google, where his ideas have considered with great care. Rubin was the founding father of Android.

And then destroyed Ballmer project Courier, which is intended to create a tablet computer with two screens, the drop in the manner of a book or notebook. Why did he do it? Former Microsoft executives say Ballmer just did not take products that are used as a software platform something than Windows. Courier developers to create their own, proprietary operating system.


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