I’ve been rather frustratingly testing the Android Beta since January. Frustratingly because of the abysmal bluetooth data stability in this app. I am guaranteed to lose my data link at least once in any given ride. Often drops dozens of times and sometimes I’m unable to reconnect it. I used the app at such a poor level of quality only because I was happy to be helping to get it on android. I don’t have a PC, my Macbook Pro was moth balled 5 years ago and I have no iOS devices. Currently I only use android and so want the app to function correctly on the platform.
I was happy to help whilst I was not paying for the privilege of constantly being kicked out of rides, training sessions, events and races.This is not a finished product and for many it barely functions at times. It is an affront to be asked to pay, to help Zwift Inc. dev a product. Once it works and is on general release are Zwift Inc. going to pay me for my work, give me a cut of the profit, discount my subscription for two years? Of course not, so why am I going to pay to help them? Especially when there are other fully dev’d and working apps that I can use for a similar price. Apps with stable Bluetooth and Ant+ links. Apps I was happily using before.
Beta testing is a mutually beneficial process. They get free testing and feedback for their product, across thousands of different devices & millions of equipment permutations to help them build a product they can sell for a profit. I get to help bring the product I want to market, on the platform I need. To ask us to pay for that removes the mutual from the equation. They get all of the benefit and money, I get… to shoulder the expense of new sensors because my cadence and HRM were Ant+. Two new HRM sensors in fact because the first wasn’t recognised by the app. My phone and tablet see the device, other apps see the device, Zwift doesn’t. Why not? Because it’s just an earlyish beta and doesn’t fully implement and support BTE. I was happy to shoulder the £100+ for two HRM monitors and £50 for cadence sensors rather than wait for the final working app and just use my existing Ant+ gear. It was an exchange. I got free use of the app whilst the bugs were being ironed out, they got my help identifying the bugs, we both get a working version of the app at the end. Win, win, win.
Now on top of new sensors you want me to pay the full monthly subscription fee, to use a service/system/app that doesn’t fully and reliably work? That’s a lot of investment on my part with no guarantee that they’ll ever fix the BTE bugs I have or even release a final version at all. It’s an insult to ask us to pay, to work for them. An insult.
My beta testing ends now and currently I am so incensed by this, that I will not be taking up a subscription when the app works properly and is released to market. Pay you, to work for you? Get stuffed!
History: I have been both a paid and unpaid R&D developer in three sports (cycling, windsurfing and kitesurfing). Manufacturers have given me free kit at the very least, I ride it till I break it and I report back to base with feedback, suggestions and changes. I have never been asked to pay to work for any brand during my 35 years of product R&D, not even the postage and packing. I’ve tested and helped develop industry changing designs and manufacturing processes, world championship winning kit, even grand tour winning bikes.
Software isn’t any different. If it’s for the open market (which Zwift app is) then it’s exactly the same. Testers get free access or some discount/benefit. They don’t pay full market price for a none functioning, none proven product, that might never be finished. For a very, very, very late beta or completed pre-release perhaps. Zwift for android doesn’t work on most hardware, isn’t fully featured yet and is still buggy in vital core technologies like BTE. Pay you?
Tell you what, why don’t I send you the bluetooth sensors I needed for your beta, you refund me for the expense of them and we call it quits and go our separate ways? No again huh?
If this is how you treat people that are helping you out, I don’t think I ever want to be ‘just’ a regular paying customer of yours.