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Sturdy stuff

16. 10. 2009.

One of the things that really annoys me with today’s consumer electronics is the low build quality and “throw away, buy new” attitude of manufacturers. Printers, DVD players, whatever – whenever something breaks down it doesn’t make sense to try and fix it, you are simply encouraged to dump it and get a new one.

This kind of attitude first developed in US manufacturing in the 60’s. American companies realized their products (cars, TV’s etc.) were too long lasting. Consumers were not motivated to buy frequently enough, so better to make lower cost, lower quality products and have those people coming back for more. Demming tried to preach quality to the corporations and was dismissed, as the old saying goes (at least in Croatia) “Preaching to your own is a waste of time”. But the Japanese welcomed Demming warmly, embraced quality manufacturing and the rest is history: RIP US manufacturing companies, entire industries including home electronics, cars etc.

Well I got me a nice little HTC Hero smartphone recently. I think the development and strategy of HTC, led by Peter Chou, has been remarkable. But not to dwell on the details… A few people have asked me to relate my experience with this device and I’ll try to find the time to do that. But for today, just a quick testimonial as to one aspect which I value very highly: build quality.

So… I’m getting out of my car in the garage. Clumsy as I am, holding too many things in too few hands (car keys, home keys, etc.) I drop my little HTC Hero straight to the concrete garage floor. Arrrgghhh! I’m not a gadget site blogger / reviewer to get a free replacement… BAM! It hits the floor, the battery lid pops off to one side… I pick up the little device, put the lid back on, dust it off… It’s working perfectly! Not even a shutdown, power off, nothing. No scratches or any traces, just wiping off the concrete dust.

Big kudos to HTC for making this a well built, solid, robust piece of hardware!


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