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Buy upgrades or Pay a subscription fee?

Richard Kemp
Richard Kemp Member
edited November 2019 in SmartSDR for Windows
I have been seeing some talk of paying for upgrades with a monthly subscription fee. If I am mistaken, please set me straight. The last thing I want is another monthly fee for software, it never ends. You might be paying that fee for years. I don't mind out right buying an upgrade, charge me a one time payment for an upgrade. Then if I sell the radio at some later date, the upgrade goes with the radio. It makes the radio more valuable when it is sold. Otherwise who is going to buy a radio when you tell them that they have to pay a monthly fee for options that he wants to use. I think he would tell where you can put that radio. Any upgrades should go with the radio. Tell me if I'm wrong, maybe l don't understand the monthly payment Idea.

Answers

  • lyndy brannen
    lyndy brannen Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Agreed. Boredom inspired. Just waiting for 2.0. The money has been set aside for a couple of years now.
  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2019
    No subscription fees exist. Talk of them stems from a VERY early (pre-release) idea from FRS, which was discarded. Upgrades within a version (1.x, 2.x, 3.x) are free. Upgrading between versions (1.x to 2.x) require purchase. Upgrades are not compulsory - you may stay at any level you like, as long as you like.
  • KD7CAO
    KD7CAO Member
    edited June 2017
    I hope that a monthly fee is not implemented for two reasons, one as a government user software fees would have to go through my Technology Services department budget and I don't want them messing around with our hardware. Second, we need this equipment to operate off grid when all else fails. Most of our software that has license fees like that "phone home" upon startup and when they can't connect to their servers they get really upset.
  • George KF2T
    George KF2T Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2019

    I should also mention that, since SSDR is actually two products, the radio firmware and the client software, you're really paying to upgrade the radio by firmware. So of course, the upgrade "sticks" to the rig. You can download any version of the client for free. The firmware and client versions must match for them to work, though.


  • David
    David Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I agree. It is similar to those that like leasing a car and those that prefer to buy a car (even with a loan). I don't want or need another monthly or annual fee on the list. Adobe has gone to the subscription model with the Creative Suite (Photoshop etc.) and I have move to other tools. Microsoft is trying the same with Office 365 and may with the OS. If they do I will most like move to Linux an other alternatives. This is a hobby so it is in the disposable income category which there is always much in for many people.

    I don't think Flex is considering the monthly or annual fee concept. If they were to consider anything that might be of interest is a lifetime one time fee to all major upgrades. Otherwise the optional pay for major releases works best. You're not forced to upgrade the radio will still work and you can upgrade when the budget permits if you want to.
  • Ria
    Ria Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I truly believe that Flex will not change the model they announced and will be using with 2.0. So the $199 will cover all 2.x versions. It seems to make the most sense. 

  • Michael Coslo
    Michael Coslo Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I always wonder how many of the "promises" Flex made, stem from the conversations in the group, and not from FlexRadio Systems?

    Anyhow, sales would probably be pretty close to 0 if we had to pay every month to keep the radio working.
  • WG5D
    WG5D Phil M. Dolbow - WG5D Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    Considering the cost of the radio, I think that software updates should be included at no additional cost. My flex equipment came at a high price, the Maestro alone costs about what a new Icom 7300 rig costs - and Icom charges nothing for software upgrades. Just my $0.02 worth.
  • Bob K8RC
    Bob K8RC Old Guy Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    First, a plan with annual payments for the software of a software-defined radio could be considered a lease with a substantial down payment up front. Is that something you would want to do?

    Or, if you think of it as a payment plan to incentivize the production of future enhancements, who gets to decide if you are getting your money's worth and when? If you sell the radio after making several such payments but before enhancements are delivered do you get a refund from Flex? Trying to charge a buyer for the cost attempts to invert the value of a radio. That is, a radio that the seller bought recently should cost less because it doesn't have as many compiled "credits" as an identical radio that is older with more applied payments. Would YOU pay more for an older radio?

    The 3rd possibility for periodic payment is an installment credit plan for upgrades already delivered. What happens if you miss a payment? Does Flex brick your radio to electronically repossess it? 

    A subscription plan such as that is a good way to guarantee I will never upgrade.

    Microsoft's Office 365 program has all my computers "stuck" with Office 2007 or 2003.

    I prefer a simple 3-step process:
       1. Pay money.
       2. Get upgrade.
       3. Own it.

    If you don't think an upgrade is worth the money then skip steps 1 & 2.
     
  • N6OIL
    N6OIL Member ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    If they went to pay by the month our fiscal starts on July 1 and some vendors are not happy with contracts starting in July they want January start dates. If they can't live with our terms we say goodbye!
  • Rick  WN2C
    Rick WN2C Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    How many upgrades has Icom made for the 7300 or even any of their other radios in the past? Have they added features or is it just fixes for the things that do not work?
  • Ria
    Ria Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    The 7300 is relatively new but they've had updates. The 7800 has had bug fix and feature improvements. You can see a listing of the upgrades here:

    https://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm/




  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    FRS has made it very clear what the model will be.  It will be a 1 time charge per radio for each majour version.

    With that being said, you can all rest easy.

    Mike va3mw

  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    The most recent FRS statement:


    Do I have to pay an annual subscription fee?

    No. You can choose to pay for major version upgrades such as 3.x, 4.x, etc. There is no requirement to upgrade and the radio will continue to operate. You can choose to skip versions as well. The choice to upgrade or not is yours.

    https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/new-flexradio-products-faq

    73

    Steve K9ZW


  • Rich McCabe
    Rich McCabe Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    I personally think FRS update program is perfect.  Free updates for the life of radio that appears is going to have a long life would be crazy. Software development is expensive and I want to do my part to fund it.

    Free updates for the 1.0x version is great. Next version (2x) I am happy to pay for.

    In my experience company's that offer free updates forever have less incentive to improve software and end up dying on the vine.

    Flex is not a legacy radio where software changes are limited so lets keep this thing rolling.


  • David
    David Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    The original post here was not what the current upgrade policy is. It was about the user communities thoughts alternatives that people have talked about in other forums. More of an academic discussion and what people would like instead of the official Flex current policy.

    Personally I am hopeful Flex does not consider the subscription models that are discussed in those forums and stays with the model they have currently. Of course Flex is a for profit company and will decide that is best for business.
  • Mike va3mw
    Mike va3mw Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    What is also made very clear is that you can v1 for ever and then if you want to jump to v3, you can skip v2 if and when that happens.

    I work for software companies where licensing, etc. is a complicated issue.  This by far is the best model for everyone.  It is very simple and just works and is tied to your specific radio.  

    Mike va3mw
  • Steve K9ZW
    Steve K9ZW Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017

    Rereading the opening post it was a request to clarify what the present policy is. 

    Second guessing FRS came later in the thread.

    73

    Steve K9ZW

  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    On another thread Gerald already stated that they will not do a monthly fee based system (thank God for that) I would hate that. You could do levels of upgrades, like Windows does with OS. A basic upgrade for $100, a DX themed for $200 and a Contest one for $400. (I hate this idea btw) However, the problem is that FRS is constantly evolving the software and will not be ready on June to provide 2.0 with all the features, those come later with 2.1, 2.2, 2.3... And that is a bit of a problem as you are trusting /hoping that those future 2.x updates will include a feature that you want. It is a tough call for FRS.

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