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.