I've seen this news on several sites before but now I found the official news about it on Pocketop's site. It's an open letter to Pocketop's customers:
To our valued customers
We apologize for any delays in processing your requests for drivers.
Because of the very rapid pace of development in the hand-held market, including portable keyboards, we have been obliged to change our policy on issuing drivers.
Unlike Windows devices where typically only three or four drivers are sufficient to service every pc on the market, there is a huge and growing variety of hand-held devices. We have now developed in excess of 100 drivers that enable our keyboard to be used with hundreds of different PDA/Pocket PC/and cellphone devices. This trend is escalating with the need to provide drivers for devices using the Symbian operating system. The cost to develop drivers is very high.
Until now, we have supplied drivers free, which means that whenever an owner of a Pocketop keyboard has upgraded to a new hand-held device, he or she has been able to continue to use the keyboard without incurring further expense. It has also come to our attention that users of portable keyboards purchased from our competitors download and use our free drivers because of their enhanced functionality and compatibility.
For these reasons, we have introduced a registration and payment policy for drivers. Purchasers of our keyboards must register with us and pay US$10 to $20 for each driver. We believe this is a modest price compared with our costs, and will help us get new drivers out in a timely fashion to meet your needs and the increased number of new devices entering the market.
This is a decision into the wrong direction and it's unbelievable for me. Pocketop calls a driver price of US$ 10 - 20 a "modest price", however from my point it's exorbitant! Drivers are part of all hardware developments and therefore it's clear that drivers and its development costs also money but it have to be part of the package you already paid for.
I recently reviewed the Pocketop wireless keyboard and also it received the PPCW.Net Editors Choice award but after I've seen all the further developments I can not recommend buying the Pocketop wireless keyboard anymore!
There are several other workarounds to make a business model workable like including/supporting one platform only. Either Windows CE devices or Symbian devices or Palm only but if you want to get a driver for a different platform you have to pay a one time fee for this platform but getting old drivers delivered with recently bought keyboard just to find out you have to pay another 10 or 20 bucks for the current driver isn't tolerable at all.
Pocketop - this wasn't a smart move at all and the customers will vote if they accept it or not.
Cheers ~ Arne
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