I have been following posts on the Project Sputnik forums for some time (lurking)...each time I think of something creative and/or intelligent to say, someone beats me to it! (Which is a shame as intelligent thoughts don't come to me freely and frequently.) Lots of great feedback here. I have been eager to participate. I recently received my invitation to participate in Wave II and purchase my XPS 13 beta developer laptop. I must say, I am a bit surprised at the discounting. Are there different tiers of pricing for the developer laptop or is it the same across the board for all participants? I guess I assumed pricing would be much more agressive. Total discount looks to be right around 28% off list. That might make some more sense to me if it came with the full suppport of Dell, but the verbiage in the agreement specifically states that, since this is a beta program, there is no official support for the hardware or software. This has given me some pause, as it seems expensive for a beta program where what looks like a fair amount of time is required/expected. Am I missing something? Am I way off base? I haven't seen any other posts or complaints related to the pricing model used for this program, so I'm hoping I'm not the only one with this concern. As a development environment, this would be a net "extra" tool for me...I have a laptop and desktop with multiple monitors and OSs that I currently use. Perhaps I'm being whiny?
I imagine that to make it attractive to participants, a heavy discount on the laptop would make it easier to get into the program, though it would be ridiculous to expect Dell to give them away for free. And because of the discount, I'm sure Dell is already losing money, let alone not having funds from whatever profit margin they would have otherwise had if we'd paid full price in order to provide official support.
I wish we could have offered a deeper discount but Project Sputnik is in the process of transitioning from a scrappy skunkworks project to "official effort" within Dell and we still dont have all of our resources. Case in point Ryan, our legal counsel, is monitoring and manually sending out all the coupon codes himself :)
If we wanted a more traditional beta program and to offer a greater discount we could have done it but it would have taken resources from the fall launch and both the product and the beta program would have been late. We decided it would be better to act than wait, knowing some people would opt out. Our goal is to deliver, get feedback and improve. :)
Thanks for the feedback and your support of Project Sputnik
Understandable to execute the beta the way it was done, but I wonder about the details about the fall launch and how that applies to beta Cosmonauts. The 2nd gen i5/i7 processors in the XPS 13 are already considered last-gen technology.
Don't get me wrong, the pleasure of using a working Linux desktop environment OOB is fantastic. But if the hardware isn't refreshed in the fall, Sputnik is not going to be a compelling option compared to simply buying a newer off-the-shelf windows machine and manually loading the profile tool. And if it is refreshed, beta Cosmonauts will basically be left holding the bag with last-gen tools.
I and other Sputnik cosmonauts are happy to help advance the cause of a great out-of-box Linux desktop dev machine, but I can't help but wonder what happens when the inevitable Ivy Bridge XPS 13 rolls around.
I appreciate the feedback.