Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't be shy about available software update

Some years ago it was a big secret when Nokia (or any other manufacturer) published a firmware update to one of its terminals. The reason was simple: if people didn’t know about the opportunity to update the terminal, they didn’t rush to the service point and so didn’t increase Nokia’s warranty costs. Also users tried to avoid update as long as they could because they were forced to leave the terminal to the desk and - depending on the queue - update could potentially take days.

I wonder why they are still so shy about available updates.

Why Nokia just doesn’t take the great opportunity to run new marketing campaigns when they publish firmware updates to existing terminals? Make a big fuzz about it! Yes, there can be a press release if something very big happens (end users read corporate press releases, sure) or a news article on some professional website but that’s it. You can very easily find horror stories about new Nokia terminals that have huge problems with initial firmware release. Later those bugs are fixed, but the bad word-of-mouth marketing is still out there. How can people change their opinion about the terminal if they still hold the impression that software is buggy?

Software update is also a very smooth process with new Nokia phones. I took all this for granted before I started to use HTC Hero. Well, HTC was also quite silent about the firmware update but somehow I became aware of it. Upgrade process was more than messy: first I wanted to make a backup before I continued. Then I understood that there is no backup software included in the device. Luckily there are many backup apps available in the Android app store, but which one of those to choose? Do they work? I installed the backup app with best user testimonials and made my first Android backup. Then I was ready to continue with the upgrade, but it required a Windows PC - big problem for a Mac user. Then I found a PC, installed some HTC application and was able to continue with the upgrade. Process crashed twice (did I brick my device?) but third try was a success. Then after data restore I realized that every installed application was gone. Some data files and settings were restored, but every application and all personalizations had disappeared. Lots of work and Hero was OK again. Not easy, must say.

Compare that to Nokia process: run FOTA upgrade from device and that’s it.

Completely different thing is the shortness of the period when phones really are supported. Typically there seem to be a couple of updates for a model quickly after the release and then terminals just fade away from the update process. I don’t like the attitude that an expensive device is considered as an outdated model after a year, especially when there still are bugs that cause crashes. I can understand that sometimes there are problems but I can’t understand that those are not fixed.