Questions of the new 3.0 Signature Series software

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
The cut off date for a free upgrade to the new to be anownced 3.0 is Oct 1, 2018, when while this be formally relessed? I have owned my new 6400m for less than six months (Sept 21, 2018) and I will have to pay the $199? You are still on 2.49!
Photo of wa4wab

wa4wab

  • 20 Posts
  • 8 Reply Likes
  • disappointed

Posted 7 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Rocinante

Rocinante

  • 26 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
Another thought:

I worked and lived in the software industry for over 20 years. As such, I'm fine with a business model that says the following:
  • "New version coming - here are the new features, and here's the free upgrade window for new buyers of our hardware."
  • "When the upgrade comes out, our existing users get a good price should they choose to move to the latest software."
  • "We won't break users of the previous version in an effort to force upgrades." 
BTW, the existing version of a company's software and hardware are always the biggest competitors to its new offerings, and every business must find a way to overcome that inertia.

Every business that sells both hardware and software, especially where that software is not offered as a service (e.g. by subscription), must find a way to keep making a decent profit even during a window when they may sell more software upgrades than new hardware. The approach they've adopted at Flex is typical and widely understood. Companies like Apple, which provide free MacOS upgrades, make their money elsewhere in an ecosystem they have created. The same is becoming true of Microsoft Windows. However, Flex doesn't have that kind of ecosystem (at least not yet), and as such relies on both sales of hardware and it's platform software for profitability.

If Flex Radio didn't want to last in the market, two good ways to cause business failure would be to permanently offer free software upgrades for old radios that bring in no new revenue, or to offer upgrades that aren't worth the money.

A third excellent way to fail in the market would be for Flex to listen really hard to folks who aren't yet paying customers but say, "Hey, if you only added this one feature, I'd break out my checkbook and buy your radio tomorrow."  Turns out, those people never buy, no matter how many features Flex adds. Short of doing better competitive market research, existing customers are really their only worthwhile source of feature requests.

Every major software package upgrade must be based on a theme that can be explained quickly and easily in the equivalent of an elevator pitch, at the end of which we find ourselves saying, "Shut up and take my money." Based on comments here, the theme for this release seems to be, "improved remote operations and contesting support." For some people, the desired result was achieved. For others, apparently, not so much.

So, customers who don't think the upgrade is worth the price should stick with version 2. They are teaching Flex something valuable. Flex will have to decide whether to work harder next time to identify and deliver features that also persuades those customers to upgrade to the next major version (e.g. build the next major release based on a different theme, adding new features they had to cut from V3).

Those of us who "must have" the new features but fall outside the free upgrade window can either buy a new radio for a large amount of money, or buy the upgrade for a significantly smaller amount of money. It's great that we have this choice with SDR. vs. the good old "knob radios" my mom used when I was growing up.

The following opinion may be controversial, but the only thing I might like better than Flex's existing upgrade model would be to have them offer their radio software as a service. In exchange for a reasonable regular payment we'd get support and upgrades to our radio software for as long as we remained subscribers. Such a model would free us and them from the tyranny of major upgrade cycles. In addition to an occasional major upgrade, Flex could regularly add small, carefully themed packages of new features as often as they wanted, frequently adding new reasons to be delighted with our Flex Radios.

(Edited)
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3980 Posts
  • 969 Reply Likes
I am not a Flex emplyee.

Very interesting and thougtful comments.
 Here a couple of mine:

As I understand, Flex does not make any money on software. As Gerald said, if we made software for our competitors it still would not be enough.

Flex income in the ham market is the hardware.

I know there are a few that feel Flex is doomed, at the virge of death. Doom and gloom,, I predict otherwise. Their busines model thus far has been very succssesfull, so I beleive they will leave things alone.

This version three is also a landmark in ham radio, it breaks new ground never done before, It is not just about better remoting, it is about multi client. And many are discovering ways to use it outside of contesting effecting the average users.

The features in the first release of V3 were planed at the very beginning of the 6xxx series radios.

Keep in mind, we have almost two years of V3 updates to go, about 4 to five updates per year. Going from past update history.

For a new software release they also did a nice job. They said there was to be a new software release, then they very clearly explained what was in the up coming release and how it would work.

They had all hands on deck, they had several emplyees here on the forum to answer questions and help people with issues.
They opened the support phone lines for further support.

And to make it clear, Flex recomends people not updrade unless they have a need for V3 features.
(Edited)
Photo of Rocinante

Rocinante

  • 26 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
Excellent point, btw: multiple client support is certainly more than just "improved remote operations," my bad. :)
My new 6400 came with V3 installed, so I look forward to the updates and improvements that will likely happen for V3 during its lifetime. Should be exciting! As updates and hoped-for new features are able to draw more folks over the line from V2 to V3, so much the better.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3980 Posts
  • 969 Reply Likes
Almost 2 years of V3 updates, I wonder what's cooking?
Photo of Jon - KF2E

Jon - KF2E

  • 684 Posts
  • 226 Reply Likes
The Expanse can only be imagined.