Thursday, 10 June 2010

Airbox are selling themselves short

It isn't often the case that a company appears to sell itself short, rather than vaunting qualities that its products actually possess in rather less measure than implied. But the people at Airbox are such a case, it seems to me. They have produced a terrific product, but if reviewers weren't singing its praises, you wouldn't know it. Sure, they have some cute "Space Invaders" advertising, but it is down to people like me to shout about the features these things have.

Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that they have concentrated their efforts in the product (no complaints there) and their manual, such that it is, has been an after-thought, printed on a couple of A5 sheets (not good at all).

Yesterday I embarrassed myself by writing to Tom at Airbox to ask whether using a stylus of some kind (a sawn-off knitting needle, perhaps) might improve pointing accuracy or whether it would damage the screen. I have had mine a week and hadn't even realised that the thing has a stylus built in! I had seen the top of it peeping out of the unit and feared pulling it out in case it wasn't something that was meant to be removed. There was no mention of it at all in the instructions!

Another thing a fellow owner and I discovered quite by accident when removing our SD cards is that the unit comes with other features, including the potential to run car GPS on it, to view movies and pictures, etc. Does this mean that it was not originally built by Airbox but customised from a unit designed for something else and adapted to the Aware's needs? Does it matter? If it has all these extra selling-points, shouldn't Airbox make more of them?

When I was encouraging people in my club to join me in the 6 for the price of 5 deal, one existing owner said the problem with the system, as compared to more expensive ones, was that it could not save routes. As it happens he was wrong, and I was able to bring him up to speed on this, but I really hold Airbox responsible for this misunderstanding because their documentation is really poor; easy to understand (Good English, not as is commonly the case, Chinglish) but far too thin on detail.

The fact is that most owners of the Aware+ are going to find that they got a lot more for their money than they realised and that is not something that happens often, is it!

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