Thoughts on the new October 2016 shipping date


#1

I would like to know what thoughts the Jibo developer community has on the just-released October 2016 shipping date from the Jibo April 2016 Program Update. If you haven’t already watched it, please take a moment to do so.

I’ll begin with my thoughts: Firstly, I was surprised by the amount of time needed to complete Jibo’s software to get it ready for the general public. I would have guessed that the delay would have been an additional 3 months and was ready for that, or maybe a bit longer, but hearing October caught me off guard. It’s a long time to wait, especially since other platforms similar to Jibo will coming online over this year and next.

The good: Developers now have more time to create new skills and polish existing ones so that the Jibo Store is filled with many high-quality, full-featured skills when it opens. I guess we’ll also have some time with the Jibo Store before it opens to the public so we can finalize important aspects like pricing, marketing, and off-store websites. I’m also sure that the SDK will become more and more mature in the coming months and we can work in new features available to us without having to rush them in after release.

The bad: Most of us developers don’t have the liberty of devoting a lot of time to projects without some kind of financial compensation, myself included, which means that many will become less active here in the forums and in their SDK. Personally, I have thought Jibo was an amazing ground-breaking product from the very first time I saw their promo video during their first indieGogo campaign, enough so that I could see myself almost solely developing skills for Jibo and monetizing it enough to do so. Now I have to decide how to balance my time working on Jibo skills and still providing for my family while we wait for first shipments.

A proposed solution: As was recommended by @Timothy here in the SDK forums and by user JiboOnJibo in the unofficial Reddit forums, releasing the Jibo hardware to developers before the expected October 2016 ship date would do a lot to curb the issues that come from this delay and would also help increase moral from the developer community. If we received our Jibos earlier, with whatever NDA or written agreement needed for us to do so, we could physically test and be able to produce more and better skills than without the hardware. We know how good the SDK is, but there are just some things that need physical testing…every developer knows this.


#2

There’s so much out there for Home Robots now, especially if you count Alexa and Siri. I’m still betting on Jibo as the platform I think works best. I don’t want to carry my phone everywhere (not Siri), I want something that interacts physically (not echo), I want some something without having to buy a house without stairs, or have to worry about the dogs or young children breaking the robot (not Nao, Buddy, Pepper). Jibo works for me.

But then again, I see all these things having developers publishing new skills all the time. Even robots not in production, same as Jibo, are showing up at all these developer conferences and competitions to get the word out at least, to excite the development community. Meanwhile Jibo’s had 2 hackathons, but the only information I can find about what happened at them is a sparse blog post.

I’m still in, I’m not leaving, I don’t want a refund. I believe truly there will be a great product in October 2016. I’m less confident that the market for Jibo will be viable though without developers having tested skills by then, ready for the store.


#3

I fully support the idea proposed by @Timothy and JiboOnJibo. Releasing Jibo to the developers as soon as possible will be of help in many ways:

  • It will allow the Market to start with a solid catalog of skills created by third party developers. Variety will motivate more people to purchase a robot and more developers to join us. An empty Market it’s not a good thing.
  • The bug catching process will speed up. More developers trying new things will help spot bugs and security issues sooner.
  • It will motivate developers to keep making new skills for Jibo. It’s far more encouraging to have a Jibo on your desk than to use a simulator… Which is excellent and I have no complains about it, but some of us prefer to test our code in the hardware instead of a simulator.
  • Developers uploading their photos and videos to their social networks to show their progress will be a great advertising campaign for Jibo.

#4

All good points. Honestly though, I don’t need them to send one to me, I’m just doing this for fun. The serious people though, at least give them ones, to produce marketable skills.

For your last point, that might be what Jibo Inc is trying to avoid, having people post videos of an unreliable prototype. Skills they post are edited for marketing, but videos by developers could end up showing failures not expected with the final product, so could be counter productive to their marketing. Three possible solutions to that:

  1. Non Disclosure Agreements to not post videos,
  2. Lend the most serious developers the grey prototypes for 7 months, so any videos will be with obvious prototypes,
  3. With the NDA, set up a system for developers to submit videos of skill demonstrations, approved by Jibo for publishing if they demonstrate working skills rather than displaying errors or faults.
    Anyways, I sure hope black Jibos ship as early as white. :grinning:

#5

Just thinking about your point 3. It would be nice if jibo.inc were able to run developer apps on their jibos and provide the video clips for developers to use to put together appropriate promotional material. It would be a win win, stacks of apps before the machine is released and each app will have been seen by the jibo folk.


#6

Jibo Inc testing and taping use of skills might work, but would require resources on their end. Developers might want to write the script, or get raw footage to edit and produce videos themselves.

Along those lines, maybe more developer conferences/hackathons that they could test and tape use of the apps. I assume they weren’t allowed to at the last 2 hackathons, but for marketing purposes this might need to change.


#7

Sadly it seems my prediction of developers becoming less active here in the forums since the new October 2016 shipping date announcement has come true. It looks like we’re down to a handful of die-hards now…that makes me a bit sad. :pensive:

Honestly, I can also say that I’ve had to shift my focus back on non-Jibo projects for the next few months to stay afloat financially. I’ll dive back in again when we get closer to release, but will continue to stay connected here and work occasionally on my pending Jibo skills when possible.

The only thing that would likely change that now for me is if the Jibo team decides to early-release hardware to the dev community. I would hope they are still considering that.


#8

Hi Michael,

I am very glad you are going to continue to stay connected here in the forum.

In regard to the forum’s activity level, we do expect there will be increased engagement when access to the SDK is expanded and made more public.

Also, regarding hardware for the dev community, as JiboAdmin mentioned in this thread, we are absolutely still exploring ways we can provide developers with access to hardware. When there is any update on that front we will update that thread directly.


#9

Very happy to hear that not only will the SDK access be expanded soon, but also that you’re actively considering providing developers with early access to hardware. I believe this is the correct way to move forward…you can see the same thing going on with other companies with their mass-adoption products (e.g. Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift, Leap Motion Controller, …) and it will have the side-effect of raising moral in the currently delicate dev community following the two major delays that were announced. Kudos to your team for that!