Hi @matteo.m and rest of HMD team. The year 2019 saw absolutely zero use of Beta Labs.
Hi @matteo.m and rest of HMD team. The year 2019 saw absolutely zero use of Beta Labs. Well, yes, except for the Nokia 2 and its Oreo release (which was ongoing since longer). I do not remember any release being put up for experimentation for any device throughout the year. Any specific reasons why that happened? For example maybe HMD felt that Beta Labs aren't returning the feedback the way you want it? Or did it so happen that the feedback delivered by the Beta Labs users was never really used to find tune the next release and it delivered more criticism? I saw the latter happening during the Android Pie updates for a few devices.
Isn't it some untapped potential that we are missing here? Several other OEMS have an all-year running Beta program wherein users help improve the next major public release. For example, if a MR is being made, it reaches beta labs first and then moves to stable. I understand that HMD does employ enough people who can test and judge when to mark the build stable, but a well spread public usage can bring a way more reliable feedback as compared to the in-house staff which may not be able to test the releases in thousands of different use cases and app combinations that end users can.
I mean as far as software quality is concerned, I believe that it is way harder to get all the use cases covered under a test environment. If software quality is a priority at HMD (which should be), then you need to accept more feedback from the people who use the devices and see through their eyes.
Moreover, we see that a lot of successful platforms are open source or at least accept public participation for testing. We can take examples of Google (Android, Chrome and others), Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (Windows insider). Then if we look at Play Store, nearly every other app runs a beta channel to collect feedback for the next release. That includes giants like WhatsApp.
Talking of issues, if quality of feedback received wasn't as expected, I think a good way to boost it up will be to use leaderboards for beta labs where users are ranked based on the number of positive (accepted) bugs/issues they have submitted. That will encourage people to provide more specific feedback. Also, some of the leading contributors could be featured somewhere at the websites to give them a reward of recognition and a way of saying thanks.
Going by the community threads, I do not think the Android 10 releases have managed to hit high points on the satisfaction chart. This could have been improved via a timely use of Beta Labs and using the feedback. Also, having Beta Labs is not a solution unless HMD will also offer a better way to write feedback and then also ensures that the developers who work at it come and take all the feedback from here and act on it with priority.
I'll hope that the year 2020 will see a better use of the Beta Labs to provide a better software to all of the end users. You made great phones, most of which were led down by inconsistent software experiences. And that's one thing you can make better over-night. Like, literally over-night. All it needs is the willingness and of course better feedback at the right time & acting on it at the right time.