[maemo-users] Hardware wishlist? (and feedback in general)

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Thu Jul 5 08:49:38 EEST 2007

On Wed, 2007-07-04 at 13:59 +0100, ext Alan Williamson wrote:
> Is there an official place where we can let Nokia know of our suggestions?


http://nokia.com/n800 --> Feedback
http://nseries.com/n800 --> Support --> Leave Feedback

Also tableteer.nokia.com (available with your tablet) has a Feedback

And don't get me wrong, your suggestions in the maemo mailing lists also
are followed and reported. 

In fact my reply is much longer, but it has ended up being a blog post:

Skype, hardware wishlist and the purposes of maemo-users

Copying for convenience:

In the last days the maemo-users mailing list has been very active
around topic non strictly related to maemo such as the awaited Skype
launch and hardware wishlist. I have tried to answer some of the
questions arised: why a Skype sneak preview doesn't happen first in
maemo.org, why we don't push topics about non-free software or Nokia
devices, why we don't think maemo is a place to promote iPhone-like buzz
and even why hardware related feedback at maemo-users has a relative

Reading some of the followups it looks like we are failing listening and
awakening expectations. Let's go a bit deeper into the listening thing,
because my feeling is that Nokia and specially the maemo & Internet
Tablets project do listen, and a lot. Even if users don't get answers in
a mailing like they are used to in the average community based open
source project.

Apart from following and eventually answering in a mailing list,
companies like Nokia have many other ways to "listen" what people wants
- or might be interested in: customer surveys, market research,
competitors analysis, new trends, own R&D... Another important factor,
specially when talking about hardware and related features, is all the
rest of devices Nokia produces. They also have customers providing
feedback, surveys, research, R&D and so on.

The decisions relating to hardware are made based on all this data plus
the own strategy. Hardware roadmapping works in a different way than
software roadmapping for the simple reason that atoms are handled in a
different way than digits.

In this context an email sent to maemo-users requesting hardware feature
X has its specific weight. It has an influence, but it is just one of
the many elements that influence a decision.

To provide a bit more of context: from a maemo perspective, there are at
least 3 clear levels of feedback.

1. Developer software related requests. Our margin of decision is high
and most of the maemo developers are around maemo.org, therefore a well
based and consistent request widely supported has a lot of points to
become a reality, sooner or later depending on our strategy and capacity
to deliver. This is why we have maemo-developers, where the level of
bidirectional feedback needs to be highest.

2. End user software related requests. When they refer to products
developed by us our margin of decision is also high but the sample of
tablet customers here cannot be automatically considered as
representative of the whole Internet Tablet customer base. However,
opinions of the power users around are specially followed and taken into
account. Also, some software related decisions might depend heavily on
our context, from upstream projects to Nokia & Nseries strategy. This is
one reason why maemo-users is worth for everybody.

2.5 Note that a percentage of "hardware requests" coming from users are
in fact software related requests enabling hardware features already
available. This is an intermediate case and our margin of decision may
vary significantly, case by case. As you might expect, the fact that
hardware functionality X is not being used in device Y doesn't happen
because the engineers forgot or didn't know about it. There is always a
decision of not using certain functionality, and the reasons might go
from strategy and project management to technical aspects and agreements
with 3rd parties (which at the end rely on the strategy again). We have
got many and very interesting discussions in these lines, mostly in
maemo-developers since the developers are generally the first ones to
make the requests and take advantage of any new implementation. 

3. Hardware related requests. In one hand our margin of decision is not
so high for the reason explained above. Deciding the design or purchase
of hardware X and its implementation in the new devices is not something
to be decided lightly. On the other hand the average usage is not so
trusty when it comes to sensible hardware requests (and I include here
myself): we ignore cost and implications, we ignore most of the
technical obstacles, while we see the existing technology we ignore most
of what comes next and a long etc. And well, at the end of the year your
users have requested in one moment or another every single gadget
feature existing out there. This is why hardware planning takes into
account direct feedback but is not really driven by it. This is why we
don't see hardware discussion as a primary focus of maemo-users and most
of the times not really of maemo-developers either.

At this point (if someone is still reading this long post) end users
could ask themselves what is the core topic and mission of the
maemo-users mailing list. Well, this is mostly up to you. What is
sometimes missing is more discussion about the increasing collection of
applications brought to you by the maemo developer community, in many
cases available at http://downloads.maemo.org and installable in a
single click.

I'd say most of the developers of these applications are subscribed to
this list. They are willing to receive feedback and implement any good
ideas. They would love to see discussion and threads involving their
work, receiving criticism, seeing passionate fans and tough detractors. 

Even if we at Nokia don't have any control over these applications, it
is useful for us to see what is the software you like more and gets the
five stars, as well as the buggy software that is causing problems to
your devices. This way you help us promoting community developed
software and the quality awareness needed around it. And at the end this
would have a positive impact not only for the maemo/Nokia space but also
in the rest of the GNOME Mobile network.

Quim Gil - http://maemo.org

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