Author Topic: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion  (Read 1510 times)

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Offline MMuecke

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R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« on: May 17, 2009, 05:33:18 PM »
Lowering the cost was the reason we seriously started thinking about a new version of the PRO. But, in the process we added some of the more popular feature requests. We also totally rebuilt the firmware update process and created a cool utility that wasn't .NET based. All in all, it was our most ambitious release to date.

When we released the PS3IR-1000, we called everyone with a PRO order on the books and offered them either the PS3IR-1000 or a reduction in the price of the PRO. Several people still wanted the PRO. But most everyone changed their order to the PS3IR-1000.  Mostly I think everyone was surprised that we would call them personally and offer them the new prices. We received effusive praise for that move. On the other hand, it looks like there are some people that are upset that we didn't announce the new product earlier. So it seems there are a few existing PRO owners that that would like a way to upgrade to the new version. This is a more difficult problem. But, if possible, Id like to somehow make the best of the situation.

I can think of a few ways to address the upgrades:
1) We could offer to reprogram the PRO with the new boot code that is compatible with the PS3IR-1000. This would work with the new utility and add the additional macro capabilities but not the IR transmit and power sensing. We could probably do this for the cost of shipping and a $5 handling fee. It would require a ton of development however because of the hardware differences. Obviously, this is not my favorite.

2) Alternatively, we could offer to trade in a PRO for $30 credit towards the purchase of a PS3IR-1000. It's not a money making deal for us and, it isn't all that wonderful for those that just bought a PRO either. It's more of a meeting in the middle to resolve a complicated situation.

From what I can tell, most people are perfectly happy with their PRO. So, we'll certainly continue to support the PRO version by keeping up with any changes caused by Sony. For those in the much smaller group that love to tweak things and absolutely have to have the latest toy with all the latest features, I would like to see them upgrade. This way I can focus new development mostly on the PS3IR-1000. That would work best for us since we have a rather small R&D team (at the moment). Besides, I also want time to work on something (not PS3 related) that every tweaker will probably want to add to their home theater system.
 
We also plan to continue to drive the price of the PS3IR-1000 down over the next year as we tweak the manufacturing process and obtain better pricing from our suppliers. Hopefully this will be well received even though it means that early adopters will pay slightly more. It remains to be seen just how much we can improve efficiency and how much our costs will go down over time. At some point I would hope we could get to the $50 range but that seems like a very aggressive goal at the moment.

As always, we are interested in your feedback. No fair beating us up though so; be kind with any negative feedback. Of course, positive feedback is also greatly appreciated anytime.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 07:59:33 PM by MMuecke »

Offline bhlonewolf

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 12:05:02 AM »
Mike,

I think option 1 is well intentioned but not worth it.  It would be a lot of time and investment, and for all you know, no one ends up taking advantage of it.  (I probably wouldn't.)  Option 2 is good because if no one takes advantage of it, you're not out anything, and it doesn't take much to set up.  A $30 credit may work with some.

Another possibility is a sliding upgrade (ie, users who purchased within the last month or so get a larger credit, perhaps none for those who purchased more than 6 months ago.)  (And I'd be in the >6 months category, so not saying that for personal reasons.)

Regardless I think something is better than nothing... I certainly wouldn't expect you all to take a loss on the deal, but it still represents a $150 investment for someone who may have just purchased a few weeks ago;  but, I can't come up with a better solution.

Offline rdenghel

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 09:35:58 PM »
You are right, Option 1 wouldn't work in the long run. We have decided to go with Option 2. Through this, we would like to show our appreciation to the customers who helped us get started.

To our existing customers as of May 1st, 2009, we are offering $40 credit towards the purchase of up to three PS3IR-1000s. No need to send us your PRO or X1. Keep it or give it to your friends. This offer expires on June 30th, 2009.

We will have information about a coupon code soon, which will make getting the discount even easier. For now, mention in the Comments section of your order that you qualify for the upgrade program. We will verify your status and adjust the price accordingly.

Romeo Denghel
Schmartz, Inc.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 09:55:10 PM by rdenghel »

Offline bhlonewolf

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 08:17:49 PM »
Wow Romeo -- my hats off to you all -- I think that's incredibly generous.  In theory it may make upgrades free if folks sold their Pros.  You might have some people buying some of the left over inventory, then upgrading :)

I know I was pretty critical of you all but have to say I'm proven wrong ... but I like being proven wrong on things like this. 

Offline Ninja121

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2009, 04:41:03 AM »
Wow this is great, I hope i can get a credit or something back to my paypal account if possible, I purchased last week and was also one of the first pro owners, and also one of the first who upgraded. I tried selling my pro and thought I sold it, but the buyer never paid, I still have it and can take current pictures if you want. This saves me alot of headaches trying to sell it if i can get 40 dollars somehow and would also make my complaining spending 33 dollars canadian shippping void, and not an issue.

Offline rdenghel

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2009, 12:09:53 AM »
bhlonewolf,

Believe me when I write that we're not in this to get rich quick and disappear. We're mainly trying to support our chronic golf addiction. Well, that and booze... :P

We are now the only company that provides a complete family of infrared solutions for controlling the PS3, for all budgets. And we're currently working on even cooler products.

Ninja121,

You qualify for the $40 refund, and I've sent you an e-mail regarding payment through PayPal. Just don't throw any of those pointed stars at me, please. ;)

Romeo Denghel
Schmartz, Inc.

Offline Ninja121

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Re: R&D Update and PRO Upgrade Discussion
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2009, 12:53:28 AM »
I need to go back and edit my post about shipping, no need for me to complain about shipping charges in canada, i feel reimbursed already by this refund.

Im also a long time member of avsforum and remotecentral so i will be sure to recommend you guys, especially with this type of customer satisfaction. I have already been hyping benefits of power sensing on the logitech thread, and right now schmart offers is at almost half the competitors price.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2009, 12:56:06 AM by Ninja121 »