Poll of the Week: Are customers being treated like guinea pigs by companies?

More and more of the products and devices that we use today are very different from the time when we first unboxed them. They would most probably have received feature updates, hardware and software optimizations that often deliver features that were unavailable at launch. On the other side of the coin, some manufacturers bet on promises of features that are currently under development in order to sell products now. Are we, the customers, being treated like guinea pigs? Welcome to this edition of Poll of the Week.

This poll was directly influenced by feedback from the opinion piece published this midweek on NextPit. The article briefly cited cases of products that were announced with features that failed to materialize until months after the product’s release, also known as Beta Culture. In select cases, the features are still remain nothing but promises of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…

If [company] says so, it’s true (or not?)

To kick things off, let’s first check out how many of us are able to admit that we bought a product based on future promises and not exactly on what the product actually delivered.

As a follow-up, the second question deals with the bitter experience of seeing a promised feature canceled without any sign of it being released. It’s not, for example, about features that were removed later, such as options being disabled via updates, or Gear VR support on the Galaxy S10 phones with the arrival of Android 12, but rather, features that were announced even before launch and never arrived.

All of these lead us to the titular question. Do you get the feeling that companies are treating consumers like guinea pigs by releasing unfinished products or without all the promised features?

Bonus: Do you trust brands’ update policies?

This week, HMD Global, the company that represents the Nokia brand, announced that it will not update the Nokia 9 PureView to Android 11, as it had announced over a year ago. This raises the question: Are manufacturers’ own update policies are nothing more than empty promises until they are fulfilled? Sounds a lot like politics!

We have asked questions about the matter and discussed several times the importance of providing system and security updates, and often use the update history of the companies to estimate the period of time for updates. We’ve often relied on companies’ update histories to estimate the length of support for new handsets. At this point, it’s worth noting that Nokia had one of the best histories of timely updates in 2019 and 2020. But does this recent news serve as a warning for us to become more skeptical of companies?

Do you remember any specific examples of announced features that ended up being canceled right before launch? Editor Zois Bekios Zannikos recalled Stadia, which two years after its launch, still receives relatively basic resources as public groups. Feel free to cite other examples by commenting on this poll. See you on Monday (6 December), when I’ll be back to review the community’s responses.

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