gsullymorgan - thanks for that post. We agree that if release were dominated by accommodating specialized needs, it would be a mistake to hold back on the mass market user, who would be quite happy with the current suite of functions.
Although during treg we’ve indeed added functions responsive to some specialized requests of power users, this has been done opportunistically in background, while we’ve primarily worked on more fundamental refinement of TextBlade’s performance.
The typical user already has plenty of functionality. Instead, our current main workload is driven by any user reports that suggested opportunities where we can improve reliability and resilience of the system, or provide a more seamless startup experience. This is more work than may be apparent, but it’s well worth the investment.
It actually works out to be far more time-efficient to preempt subtle issues than to address them in the field through user support. If you add up that user support over the size of even the initial user base, it’s way more work to help users past confusion or hiccups, than to just preemptively engineer them out.
This not only saves work and total time to market, but really increases user satisfaction in the startup experience.
For example, we did a crazy amount of work to get iOS and Android happy with the BLE link, and got excellent help from Apple and Google over many months to settle this. That’s quite solid now.
Other keyboard vendors simply didn’t do this. That’s why we were the first to document what wasn’t working on BLE in the OS. Even Microsoft’s folding keyboard manifested the very same issue with BLE and the OS, but Microsoft never worked with phone vendors to resolve it. Our initiative to get this right prompted a fix for all keyboards, including Microsoft’s. We were surprised that a new vendor was the first to discover it, rather than the major vendors, but that’s how it played out.
Most keyboard and mouse vendors just skip this intensive software step. They accept the OS Bluetooth as is, and fall back on a proprietary dongle if a users’s Bluetooth is flakey. But that strategy won’t fly with a phone or tablet, since no one wants a dongle on their mobile device. Users want to rely on the built-in Bluetooth modem, which they reasonably expect should work properly.
Bluetooth is looking very good now, and the other remaining things we’re doing in the firmware are of similar consequence for even the plain vanilla use case user. They make it more robust for hardcore daily usage.
TextBlade is really the first keyboard that brings better-than-desktop performance to your pocket, for use with even the smallest phones. This is an entirely new mode of use, and it demands performance and software quality that the legacy products never tried to pursue, nor ever achieved.
Hence to truly tap TextBlade’s mass market potential, we must provide foundation and quality that no one else ever did. In reciprocal measure with the hassles of doing that work, the experience of using TextBlade is a satisfaction that’s highly differentiated, and unlike any commodity legacy devices.
That’s the prize that we and users get for doing this work to a new level.