Newer, faster, better - is it really worth it?
When it comes to the performance of the items we buy, I wonder if we are really getting the best possible value for money, or are we, unless we pay over the odds, just getting dumbed down versions of these products? If so, could this be due to manufacturers’ driving for a quick profit, or maybe even a lack of funds for product developments in the future?
This really hit home to me for the first time a few years ago when, with the aim of providing the tax man with less of my earnings, I decided to buy my own car after many years driving company cars. I looked at an Audi and was offered the option of a standard model or at a much greater cost the same model with higher brake horse power. There was very little other difference between them mechanically; in fact they both had the same engine.
Worrying about the thought of not having enough acceleration to overtake safely, well that is what I told my wife, I tried to negotiate with the Audi salesman. After some time and, probably at the end of his patience, he advised me to buy the standard version and shortly afterwards to get the engine “remapped” to the sports level by a third party, thereby saving in the region of around £3,000. He clearly had a sales target to hit on that day and I was his last chance. I bought the car and nearly purchased some go faster stripes to go with it but I had the car de-badged instead due to suffering a mid life crisis at the time.
Even more perturbing, I am now the owner of a Volkswagen with the emissions issue. VW have now recalled the car to have a software update so that it complies with the specification on the brochure. The really good but annoying part is that the update will not change the performance, fuel consumption or emissions level. So why the hell don’t they just edit and re-print the brochures? Maybe that is too late or too easy!
Getting back to my performance restriction concerns, I have to consider the regular announcements from inkjet printer manufacturers of new, better, faster, higher performance models of printers that were launched less than two years prior to this. I have begun to wonder whether or not the same methods used by car manufacturers are being applied to these “new” machines.
Of course, re-invention can at times be better than evolution and, with less development costs, it can certainly make manufacturers much more profit, plus provide new ink range sales revenues. However, over night these new models will probably put the user of the “older” generation printer behind new buyers, or could have they just have a dumbed down version of the new model?
I see that Roland DG UK is now doing this with its Roland VersaWorks Dual RIP software whereby the new RIP is available to customers buying a new printer and, admirably, the software will be made available to other Roland users across a wide range of machines as a free upgrade in due course.
More manufacturers should be doing this, and wouldn’t it be a good thing if the manufacturers older models were really only just a software tweak away from the newer versions. If so the manufacturers could probably offer, at a minimal cost, a software upgrade similar to those offered by RIP vendors.
This may all be a bit too simplistic but I think that the principle is quite sound. This could be a progressive customer focussed practice and would certainly improve customer brand loyalty in readiness for when the manufacturers do have real improvements to announce.
I won’t hold my breathe in the hope that this could one day become fact but I will in the meantime keep my eyes on the road and continue to improve my overtaking technique.
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