Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Things to avoid when inviting the public to a beta trial

Arguably the most useful, and used, application I have installed on my N95 is T9Nav.

I have written about this brilliant piece of life-make-easy-fying software before, and my opinion hasn't changed in the slightest. It's still brilliant, and it still makes life so much easier on an S60 phone, it's not funny.

But here's the caveat: The beta period ended.

Actually, it ended once before, and was extended, requiring the downloading of a new, time-locked installation file.

And now it's ended for good, and they're going commercial with it.

Actually, the trial ended several days ago, and they're going commercial about a week later.

Which is where the arse-wipery comes in.

In that week, do you think I will
  • a.) put up with it until I can buy it,
  • b.) investigate the available right now, even if stupidly named, SkyeQuiKey (pronounced, apparently, either "Sky Key Key" or "Sky quickey"), which has a stupid but better-than-nothing one day trial period, or
  • c.) find other ways of simplifying access, like using the short-cuts function of Jbak's excellent and free TaskMan, or the getting-there ApDLauncher, or the extremely early beta of an application I have seen notice of but right now can't bloody find which adds an increased number of application shortcuts to the home screen. Or, the also commercial - and more expensive - Handy Shell from Epocware, which does something similar, and similar to the iPhone's multiple screens, with a T9 search function as well, from a company which has been around since the days of Psion.
Of course I won't just sit by twiddling my thumbs. I'm far too impatient for that.

Lesson: Nuance Communications, makers of T9Nav, may very well lose a sale through not having the application ready for seamless purchase at the end of the beta period.

Plus, if you invite people to participate in your beta trials, you take their bug reports, you act upon that... Wouldn't a small discount for people who were around for the first beta be nice? They may yet do so, but I'm not holding my breath.

This is all faintly irrelevant, of course, since I won't be buying anything until the next time I get paid, in a week, and I may not even then - particularly unless I can be guaranteed that I will be able to reinstall it without paying extra if I update my phone to the latest firmware, something I have been putting off.

It's bloody annoying, however.

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