12-28-2011 04:24 PM
Every technically knowledgeable person I've talked to since acquiring a Harmony 900 complains about software quality. Some are also aware of serious hardware reliability problems. The complaints about cumbersome GUI, while certainly correct, are frankly WAY down on my priority list. I just want the software and software / hardware interface to WORK.
Based on experience now with both the Harmony 900 and Harmony 1, the software (7.7.0) pretty consistently does all of the following: it hangs on "save" requiring restart (and loss of your programming work); it kicks you out to the login page with "expired session" when you try to execute a save, with NO WARNING (and loss of programming); it hangs on update of the remote, usually so that the remote is unusable until a full update can be completed; it takes many minutes and in my case usually 3 tries to upload a favorites image/logo; if the Logitech server is busy, you get a "Sorry..." message and can't log in or do anything to fix a remote that is made non-functional by an incomplete/ corrupted update. Every "save" is an adventure--sometimes it completes almost instantly, sometimes never, and by the way, in some cases your session will expire while you are waiting for a save to execute, with loss of programming.
For such an excellent architectural concept as this product has, it just makes you cry, or want to throw things, that the software implementation is so fragile and full of bugs. The software is alpha-quality, at best, certainly not suitable for product release. I agree with other reviewers that the software is killing Harmony products (at least the 2 I've tried), and while the GUI is also a serious issue, the problems are much more fundamental than just GUI ease of use. A long conversation with support confirmed that my understanding of the software and hardware functions and operations is correct, and not the origin of the problems. The support tech, after a particularly exasperating day, literally begged me to make an issue of the quality problems with Harmony products in feedback. This was based on a belief that management gets summaries of customer feedback and pays some attention to it, while the techs assume they pretty much ignore the reports coming from applications. Best Buy techs and a CS guy on their staff all reported that a disproportionate number of the Harmony devices come back within their 30 day return period, and that nearly all of their "protection" agreements on Harmony remotes get exercised within their 2 year term for hardware failures. Indeed, most of the boxes on the rack were discounted for returns and marked "open box".
I've wasted enormous amounts of time trying to get these devices to work, and I came to this forum to make a decision within 30 days whether to drop back to what appears to be the nearest competing product (Phillips). Their architecture is not as elegant or satisfying, they are not programmed from a computer, and they don't have built-in RF, but many people say they come up quickly, and within their limits actually work.
Logitech needs to be encouraged to open a forthright dialog with their customers on the widely recognized and rapidly escalating quality issues. Take a page from the cases of other good companies that have handled product fiascos well. Bypass your typical marketing spin-- acknowledge key issues and describe quality improvement efforts underway, or some aspects of the development roadmap that will lead to resolution of major issues. We can help. Consider giving us access to a bug reporting system. You can impose enough specificity to enable you to filter out "operator errors" and sort and categorize and statistically prioritize issues. Show what you're currently working on fixing. Possibly set up a forum area where you can proactively post actions and bug fixes. If you've done some of these things and I'm unaware, I apologize. I just came here the last few days to try to find answers.
The product architecture team deserves kudos; software development and QA not so at this point. As things stand, every good review of the architecture sets you up for more damage due to frustration with implementation quality issues. I've focused on software--frankly the hardware reliability problems are also coming up all the time now. We want the company to be successful. We want the products we've purchased to work; we don't want to abandon the products or fall into a hissy fit and abandon the company altogether as I see many saying. Silence, or pretending there is no issue, will drive people away. Acknowledging issues, describing sincere quality improvement efforts, setting target dates for significant new software version releases--any of these actions would be respected, and many of us would stick with you as you do the work. Whatever you decide, please do it soon.