Martin: I'd love t see a feature or series sometime on "The New Test" describing the more complex and high volume products, the more automated and statistical test approaches used today and the results for the consumer.
Samsung quality issues? Been there done that.. In the past 2 years. 1x 50"TV lasts just over a year. 2x phones with severe battery issues and crappy Samsung printers galore at work. Not just a quality control issue but either a poor product design and/or accountants forcing cheap components in. Of course Samsung is by no means the only manufacturer to push out poor quality shinny products but they are on top of the world now and consumers will easily switch if their marketing falters..
The speaker cost $129. It works OK, better if plugged in and it also can charge my phone at the same time. I happen to have an AC outlet with two built-in USB charging ports right where I keep the speaker so I use it plugged in most of the time.
The real hassle came at the store. Best Buy was giving away $15 gift cards with purchases last weekend. I said to the cashier, "can I just return the speaker and uyt it again using the gift card?" The cashier replied "Yes, you can do that" so I did.
Well, they tried gave me a refund less $15 saying that the gift card was not refundable. I would have been OK with that had the cashier told me that at the register. I returned the speaker, arguing with the manager that the store had a communication problem. When they again deducted $15, I returned it again, this time arguing with a different manager. Finally, they reduced the price by $30 and still gave me a $15 gift card.
I have another week on the 15-day return period and I'm not convinced that I should have spent the money so I may yet return the speaker.
You're right, testing every unit is expensive. Which is why test setups are automated as much as possible [ATE = Automated Test Equipment]. The next step is to test one in N products, then use statistics to say you are matching your quality standards.
But - what is N? 1 in 10? 1 in 1,000? one in ten million?
Rick, as the "test guy" for EE Times, I can tell you that when it comes to consumer products, the cost of testing every one, even to make sure it simple turns on, is cost prohibitive. Manufacturers rely on process and figure that if the process is good, the products will be good. The cost of losing a customer is small compared to the cost of testing every product that comes off the assembly line.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.