TV Software Development at Philips (and developers motivation in general)
I was wondering ... I've worked for an OEM for some time, where a lot of the actual software development was done by a subcontractor, and I have the feeling I see similar types of software issues with Philips TVs, for example quite unstable software with occasional crashes, bugs that should have shown up during testing and features that are minimally implemented (just enough to fulfill the specification sheet) and long cycle times until a new firmware is available.
The reason was, that I felt, the subcontractors did the work, but they didn't really feel "connected" to the product they were making and you could notice that when looking at the code quality and features.
My guess is that if you have motivated people, who want to bring "their" product and "their" company further, the features and quality of the software will probably improve quite a lot, too.
Especially, as it is often feels more time consuming to get the "features" group to decide on which new features to put in compared to actually "just" implement it right away.
For example, the sort order for USB:
This type of error happens, if a subcontractor gets the specification for a picture viewer, but nowhere is stated that the files should be shown in order.
A motivated (Philips-internal?) programmer who would use that program himself would have probably just implemented it event if it was not in the specification.
I guess, the same is true for the way, subtitle support is implemented. If there are developers just who wanted to have this thing, they would probably just do it.
So I'm wondering - how does Philips develop its TV software - is it outsourced, or done by "inhouse" people?
And how do you bring subcontractors to not deliver "the minimum" specification, just because of cost&man hours limitation, but to bring in new ideas and create something "inspiring"?
Do you think, giving him a TV he is developing for, for private use as incentive, would work?
I mean - if I get one of the high-end Philips TV for free and the development environment, I would probably even do it for free in my spare time, just because it's cool to have your features in a TV millions of people use.
This would still require work at Philips to test the new features on all of the TVs in a series, but with a decent test description, that should be possible - or could even be automated with webcam and remote ;-)
I know might turn into a flaming thread, but please refrain yourself from accusations and keep it factual and inspirational - thanks :-)
PS: Sorry for this wall of text. But maybe someone related to Philips is allowed to share some insights ;-)