Discussion in 'Future Products' started by james, Sep 6, 2005.
Mike, do you have a rough idea of when the desktop program might be released?
An excellent question...
About all I'm saying now is sometime in 2006 (and even that is just a guess). Part of the problem is the uncertainty about the future of Palm Desktop and HotSync - we don't want to invest a lot of time into developing a Palm OS sync feature which promptly becomes out-of-date a few months later. We've toyed with the idea of adding an internet sync option, since it's the only kind of sync we'd need on Pocket PC (thanks to TCP over ActiveSync) and would make possible all sorts of nifty new features, but at the moment the vast majority of our customers use Palms and the vast majority of those Palms are not internet-equipped, so I'm not sure if it makes sense just yet.
Synching would be nice, but I think that it's the pleco format that is pleco's best selling point. As long as flashcard and entry files are readable by both programs, there's no need to worry about synching. Just make a pleco for PC that I can use, and I'll be a happy camper.
Funny to see this old thread... should be pretty obvious by now that "sometime in 2006" won't happen, "sometime in 2007" seems likely but I don't want to look stupid again so all I'm going to say at the moment is "sometime this decade."
I disagree with your assessment of syncing, though - I think it's a big part of the appeal of a desktop version, lots of people want to be able to easily create / edit flashcard entries on their PC.
I agree Mike. I am definitely big on being able to sync everything. And, as far as I am concerned, if you would hurry up and get the desktop software out sometime this millennium, I would be extremely happy!
Millennium should be no problem, we're shooting for late '07 but it could actually be out in beta sooner than that (amazingly enough) given how trivial it is to port Pocket PC code to desktop Windows.
Mike, are you considering Tablet PC support for your desktop version?
Depends on what you mean by "support" - the desktop version will definitely have a handwriting recognizer built in, we already licensed one of those (at great expense) back when we thought it was going to be out in '06, but I don't know if we'll get around to doing all the little Tablet PC optimizations in the first release. We're still waiting for that platform to take off...
Will there be any licensing issues with a desktop version of Pleco, putting it in conflict with Wenlin?
How would PD's desktop program licenses create a conflict with Wenlin's? Doesn't PD use parts of Wenlin?
Pleco licenses the ABC Dictionary, which is the same one Wenlin uses for its cidian database. I was wondering if Wenlin's license of the ABC gave it exclusive rights for desktop use, or if it's fair play.
I can't go into much detail about the terms of our license with them, but at the moment we don't think it's going to be a problem, and our plan is to include the ABC along with nearly all of our other Palm/PPC-version dictionaries (including the new 2.0 ones) in the desktop version; the only one which we don't currently have the rights to use in a desktop version is the C&T dictionary.
But in the unlikely event that we weren't able to use the ABC dictionary in our desktop version, there are several other similar titles we could also license, so there'll be a desktop version regardless.
Mike--do you think that Desktop PD would compete head to head with Wenlin? PD is a comprehensive dictionary app with flash cards. Wenlin is a study aid that uses a superb dictionary. It would seem that the overlap wouldn't be that great. I'd hate to see either of you hurt by the way your products are moving towards each other.
Well to some extent we're already competitors - the cost of a Palm + Pleco is comparable to the cost of Wenlin in a lot of cases, and we've gotten more than a few e-mails in the last year asking us about the differences between our software and Wenlin and why they should buy ours. And I've seen quite a few posts comparing us on other forums.
But no, I don't think a desktop version of Pleco is likely to increase the level of competition too much; even as we add Wenlin-like features like a built-in document reader / web browser, our software is still primarily oriented around dictionary search and flashcards, and theirs is still primarily oriented around its text editor, so it seems like there's room for both.
And ultimately I think our products' moving towards each other will do at least as much good as harm. We've certainly lost something by the lack of serious competition in our current market; if we had a competitor who updated their software regularly then we'd have to too, taking ambitious new releases like 2.0 and spreading them out over half a dozen smaller updates. There's also I think a little bit of hesitation among potential purchasers because they don't really have anything else to compare us to; having two or more products in an area gives you a sense of there being a "market," so you can pick the product with the best price / features and feel a little less like you might be getting ripped off. Plus, the burden of making someone aware of the concept of a handheld Chinese dictionary flashcard/tool falls entirely upon us, there's no one else out there helping us grow the market.
Plus, any Wenlin versus Pleco discussion is actually going to help both Wenlin and Pleco, since many of the people reading it won't be familiar with either of our products beforehand; some of them will end up buying Wenlin and some will end up buying Pleco (and a few might buy both) but regardless all of these are sales that neither of us would have gotten had that discussion not happened.
Dropping Wenlin Right Away
So here I am in Tianjin with the option of buying version 3 of Wenlin on CD from a local language school for $110 (I already have version 2 but am seduced by the idea of the comprehensive ABC), when I see this post on Chinesepod:
"PlecoDict is the ultimate on mobile devices with touch screen (Palm or Windows Mobile), if only they had a desktop version, I'd probably drop Wenlin right away". So I got to thinking if there were a competively priced desktop version I could buy that instead and so I came to pleco and did a search and now I'm writing this.
Questions: approximately when? How much? Full ABC?
Thanks for the Sino-passion!
When: beta hopefully a few months after the finished 2.0 release on Palm/PPC. (really isn't all that complicated a port, the APIs are almost identical)
How much: should be about the same price as the handheld version, likely with a good-sized discount for people who already own one of those.
Full ABC: most likely yes, hoping to have a definitive statement on that soon.
Still, Wenlin 3.0's a nice tool (use it regularly myself), and $110's a very good price for it, so given that the aforementioned few-months-after-2.0-is-done is still a ways away it certainly might be worth buying that now.
U R THE BEST.
AFTER READING YOU EMAIL ANNOUNCING THE UPCOMING 2.0 BETA AND SEEING THE REFERENCE TO A DESKTOP VERSION, I REREAD IT TO MAKE SURE I WASN'T "WISH" READING.
THE POSTS IN FUTURE PRODUCTS CONFIRMED MY READING AND I AM GENUINELY EXCITED.
I USE PLECO AND WENLIN DAILY. A DESKTOP VERSION OF PLECO WILL BE A WELCOME ADDITION TO THE LEARNING PROCESS. IT WILL NOT REPLACE MY USE OF WENLIN NOR THE POCKET PC VERSION OF PLECO. I WILL USE ALL OF THEM.
AS YOU HAVE SO CORRECTLY POINTED OUT, COMPETITION IS GOOD AND WILL BENEFIT EVERYONE!
YOU'VE MADE MY DAY.
ALL THE BEST,
MA LAI LI
Yep, it's definitely real and should be our first project after 2.0 is done. And we've now resolved the situation with the ABC so we're almost 100% confident that that will be included in the desktop product.
Awesome! Having the ABC will guarantee I buy it!
Keep up the good work Mike!
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