Buyers of Amazon Devices Are Guinea Pigs. That’s a Problem.
After a few years of testing prototypes and forming partnerships to source artwork, the collaboration resulted in the 2017 introduction of Frame TV, a Samsung TV that looked like a photo frame. It used motion sensors to show artwork when people were present and turned off when no one was there. Television has become a bestseller.
Mr Béhar, who founded Fuseproject, an industrial design company, said he understood Amazon’s approach as a retail company to quickly test ideas, such as when it measures how customers react to different prices in its stores. But “with hardware people end up with stuff that is unnecessary or doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “In the world we live in today, with global warming, plastics and waste, I think we have to be very careful.”
Don Norman, who founded the Design Lab at the University of California at San Diego and wrote the book “The Design of Everyday Things,” said that during his career he had seen other companies use approaches similar to those of Amazon.
In the 1990s, when Mr. Norman was working with Apple as a User Experience Architect, the company collaborated with Sony on a product. He said Apple planned to spend years doing market research and testing prototypes before shipping them.
“Sony laughed at us and said, ‘What a stupid way to do it. We just build a product and sell it. We get the feedback, we kill it and make it a better one. It’s much more efficient and faster than your method, ”said Norman.
This on-the-fly development approach is unpopular, he said, as most companies recognize that customers get angry when gadgets are quickly killed. “There is a certain logic to it, but also a complete disrespect for what it could mean for your customers, your environment or the world,” Norman said.
Kyle Wiens, managing director of iFixit, a company that sells parts to fix gadgets, said there are better ways than Amazon to shut down products. When Pebble, a smartwatch maker, shut down in 2016, the company said the software would continue to work. People continued to enjoy the product for years after the company’s death.
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