Consumer-facing Prototypes? Hardware, no. Services, YES!

RRW has an interesting article about all the new mobile devices out, that are essentially “prototypes” (Windows 7) — rather than polished products, like the iPad.

There’s an interesting trend happening in mobile these days. Companies – major companies like Samsung, Motorola, Kyocera, RIM and Microsoft – are launching unfinished, unpolished products and then asking us, the consumers, to buy them based on their “potential.” Despite the fact that the new BlackBerry tablet computer has no email client or wide selection of apps, or that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 can’t even multi-task, or that Android Honeycomb is only a few months old and, frankly, still a little buggy, we’re expected to place our hard-earned dollars, and, in some cases, even sign multi-year mobile contracts for these gadgets, based on “what could be.”

But while un-polished hardware might fail, un-polished software and services, and limited betas are a great thing. It’s something I wish my projects did more of, releasing new client work in beta, that we test/evaluate & then refine over time. There’s nothing wrong with failing, if you can learn from it, and then improve!