Preliminary Pleco 2.0 Upgrade Policy Posted

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We've (finally!) posted an upgrade policy for Pleco 2.0 on the 2.0 preview page. It's still preliminary and subject to change, but it should give you a pretty good idea of what you'll have to pay / do to get all the new 2.0 stuff.

Please no complaining about the July 1st date, there are some contractual reasons for it and it's not something we have a whole lot of flexibility about. And I'm not going to say anything about release dates here that's not on that page, so don't bother asking :D

We've also made a couple of tweaks to the website, mainly on the front page which isn't quite as much of an intimidating morass of words as it used to be. And we made the fonts smaller, after realizing that designing a site to look best on a 20-inch monitor is a bit premature.
 

gato

状元
The new Standard Dictionary of Modern Chinese (现代汉语规范词典), our first ever Chinese-to-Chinese dictionary title, will cost $59.95 as an upgrade. This upgrade will include the stroke order / audio upgrades for free, so you get all of the new stuff we're rolling out with 2.0 for a total of $59.95.
Does it make sense to bundle the stroke order/audio with the Chinese-to-Chinese dictionary?

I would think that most of those who are interested in a Chinese-to-Chinese dictionary would be advanced learners who can easily do without the stroke orders and audios. $59.95 seems a little high for the dictionary -- especially compared with the paper version of the same dictionary, which can be bought here in China for very, very cheap (I know that's not a fair comparison, but...).
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
I'd agree that they're a little more helpful for students who are earlier along, but some of the features we're adding that use them would be useful for people at almost any level. Audio flashcards and stroke order testing can help even advanced students give themselves a listening/writing tune-up.

We're mainly bundling them in as a way of making the $59.95 price a bit more palatable, as we don't actually have a lot of control over that. (darn contract limitations) An added bonus is that bundling $30 worth of upgrades with the dictionary might make people who were already planning to buy the upgrades buy the dictionary too in anticipation of when they might eventually need it.

The C-C dictionary will likely cost significantly less when purchased as part of the new Complete bundle, though, and we may also be able to work around the price restrictions by offering some sort of "temporary" discount while preserving the list price. That being said, given that the C-C dictionary is a rather specialized title, I don't think $59.95 is all that ridiculous - yes, the printed version does cost a lot less in China, but they're selling copies of it for $50 in Chinatown here in New York, and the printed version won't fit in your pocket (and won't let you search with handwriting recognition :) )
 

Jim

榜眼
Regardless of the price of the book anywhere I personally don't find $59.95 excessive for taking the information in that book and putting it where I can use it easily and effectively. Although the Chinese-Chinese dictionary is probably the cheapest on the shelf I believe as part of Plecodict it will be far and away the most valuable to my progress.

I agree too that the stroke order will be useful even for advanced students. I wouldn't call myself an advanced student though I am certainly a long term student. I still find once in awhile a character with a stroke order that is not obvious by the standard rules. It will be so nice to check immediately with Pleco rather than wait until I get home and try to remember what it was so I can check it on the computer.

I remember when I first got the Oxford and exclaiming "Wow, this is perfect." Now look what's coming. You're great Mike.
 

koreth

榜眼
An added bonus is that bundling $30 worth of upgrades with the dictionary might make people who were already planning to buy the upgrades buy the dictionary too in anticipation of when they might eventually need it.
You can count me in that category. When I saw the pricing that was what immediately leapt to mind: "Hmm, I can't use that yet, but with that small a price difference I may as well grab it for later."
 

lmcjipo

榜眼
Great news

Hi Mike,

That's great news on Pleco 2.0.

It would have been nice if an e-mail was sent to the people who subscribed to PlecoDict's news (sorry, I'm not sure what it is called).

Regarding your answer to my question on viewtopic.php?t=599

Is this still true?
mikelove said:
But in regards to lmcjipo's question, we do indeed plan to make it possible to run 1.0.x and 2.0 on the same system without having them interfere with each other - we did this same thing with Oxford Dict 2.x and PlecoDict 1.0 and it generated a lot more useful bug reports / feedback than we would have gotten if we'd forced people to give up the old software to get access to the new.
Based on the pricing scheme as you posted on the forum as of today's date, chances are that I will upgrade to 2.0 when it is available but I still want to evaluate 2.0 without losing my ability to use my licensed v1.0.3.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Jim - thanks! I'm glad to hear you think the stroke order feature might be useful, it's the single biggest reason why 2.0 is taking so long and we're certainly hoping that existing customers will get some of the benefit from it (since you're the ones who've been stuck waiting a year and a half for an upgrade).

koreth - here's hoping others feel similarly.

lmcjipo - I considered sending an e-mail, but the last time I pre-announced pricing on the mailing list, I received some downright rude responses (a lot of complaints that prices were too high, then more complaints when we lowered them), so I thought it best to let the news trickle out through the website this time. There'll certainly be an announcement e-mail once we come out with an actual preview release, though.

And yes, 1.0.x and 2.0 should be able to run quite happily on the same system; particularly important since the first preview of 2.0 likely won't include flashcards at all and we wouldn't want people to have to stop using flashcards in order to try out 2.0.
 

sfrrr

状元
I'm looking forward to the whole darn thing. And I'll gladly pay $60 for the full upgrade. Considering all I'm getting, it seems extremely reasonable. I just wish that you, Mike, would get on with it. I want PlecoDict 2.0. I want my PlecoDict 2.0.

Sandra

EDIT: I forgot to say that I wouldn't make that much use of the stroke order features, but I'd like to know I have them--I occassionally blank on the stroke order of a complex character, and would love to be able to use PD to look it up. I'm glad to pay for it. It belongs in all good Chinese dictionaries.
 

goulniky

榜眼
I forgot to say that I wouldn't make that much use of the stroke order features, but I'd like to know I have them
Same here, and you can count me in for the C-C bundle, though I'm not sure if I'll upgrade my UX card from 512Mb to 2Gb - but I might have switched to PPC by then. No big deal, but any chance of accessing the audio files directly on PC?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
any chance of accessing the audio files directly on PC?
Unlikely. We do own the copyrights, and hence theoretically could offer people unprotected versions, but they're an incredibly attractive piracy target and if we did leave them unprotected there'd inevitably be half a dozen electronic dictionaries in China using our audio within a year or two. They're very good recordings, well beyond what's in most of the other products out there, particularly the male speaker who's a professional radio announcer.
 

lmcjipo

榜眼
Hi Mike,

Now that the preliminary pricing and some of the features have been mentioned, roughly what is/are the memory footprint size for all of the additional features such as the speech and the stroke order?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We're still not sure about those. The stroke order data files are supposed to be about 3 MB, but we haven't received the finished versions of those yet from the contractor so we won't know for certain until we do.

We do have all of the audio files, but they're uncompressed and we're trying to come up with the best possible compression quality/size balance. We'll probably end up releasing them at two different quality levels, a lower-quality one that's good for use with the tinny built-in speakers that most PDAs come with and a higher-quality one that's designed for headphones or desktop PC speakers. A very rough / preliminary estimate is that the low-quality files will average about 7K per sample, or 250 MB per speaker for the entire set, and the high-quality ones around 15K per sample, or 500 MB per speaker for the entire set. You won't have to install all the samples, though, we'll break them up into smaller pieces so you can install them for only the most commonly used words (or just single syllables) if you prefer.

We'll try to tweak the compression levels so that all of the high-quality audio samples plus PlecoDict's other data files will fit in the formatted capacity of a 1 GB SD card, and the low-quality ones on a 512 MB card, and the low-quality ones for one speaker on a 256 MB card. An added benefit to those sizes is that they should make it possible for us to fit all of the audio, data files, program files, installers, manuals, etc onto two standard CDs.
 
Stroke orders, tune-ups and PC use

Not to toot my own horn, but I consider myself fully fluent in Chinese. I've been working at Chinese companies and as a freelance translator for years now, and I find myself rambling to my foreign friends just because I have so little opportunity to speak my own language these days.
Having said that, I do find myself wondering about tricky stroke orders here and there, and I often have to go back and check my tones. So, being one who is definitely on the Chinese-Chinese dictionary level, I think the bundled stuff is definitely still worth my while.
As for PC use, why settle for just the sound files? I like the pleco because it's intrinsically user friendly, and I think that sets it a cut above a lot of PC dictionaries in use these days. How about a full PC pleco?
Now, a question for users out there. I just dumped my Shui Huo Dopod for a Treo. Do you guys think its worth it to buy version 1 now for palm and then upgrade later? Would a discount for crossing into palm negate the upgrade deal to 2.0?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Glad to hear it. Actually the "everything new in 2.0" upgrade bundle may be getting a little more expensive, we're very very close to another big license announcement that I think a lot of people are going to be excited about...

A full-on PC version makes a lot of sense, and is something we've been thinking about for a while. We wouldn't even need desktop users to justify doing one, really; I still think UMPCs are going to replace regular PDAs in a few years, so a desktop Windows port would also help us to maintain our current position among handheld computer users.
 

Shadowdh

状元
I dont mind a "little more expensive" as long as it is as good (or better) as it is now... what a great tool...!!! And stop teasing us you son of a gun... give... puh-lease...!! (with sugar on top)... :D
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Sorry for the tease - the license is already signed but I never like to announce them until we've actually got the data files in hand (which should hopefully happen next week). I will, however, say that it's something I talked about licensing not too long ago, which should make the specifics fairly obvious...
 
I haven't been here in a while, but there's some sweet stuff happenin', 'specially the chinese-chinese dictionary. So long as the dictionary itself is good, 60$ is nothing for the convenience of having it inside Pleco.

I can't imagine any sane customer giving you beef about the upgrade policy. You've always gone above and beyond. Try explaining the Pleco upgrade policy to Best Buy when you go to pick up Vista--and you might as well do it in Chinese. :)
 

gato

状元
It's not a matter of giving beef. A higher price will generally keep some customers away. I also don't like bundling if the bundle consist of lots of things I don't need. I would much prefer to buy the dictionaries separately (even if at a higher price), with an option for a discount when bought in a bundle with other components like multiple advanced dictionaries or the voice option.

I personally will be buying the Chi-Chi dictionary even if it cost more than $100, but how many others will? Users of this forum, probably some of the most dedicated users of PlecoDict, is not the best sample group to gauge what the optimal price to charge would be. A better bet would be to survey an average university Chinese class. Students, I would think, would be the biggest market for PlecoDict, but they are very price-sensitive.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
sui.generis - thanks! We haven't gotten a whole lot of complaints about it so far, and the few that have come in have generally been of the polite / helpful variety, so I'm optimistic that most of our customers will feel similarly.

gato - We're planning to expand the number of bundles from 3 to 5 in part because we don't want to sell people too many things they don't need, but I think the bundling strategy in general is a sound one - the vast majority of our customers don't have a strong opinion about which dictionaries they'd like to buy with our software, so giving them a couple of easily-distinguished options makes sense.

For the upgrades, however, we're no longer planning to bundle the C-C dictionary and the stroke order / voice upgrades - we wanted to put them together originally because we can't go below a minimum price for the C-C dictionary and wanted to make it a little more palatable, but it's become clear that most people will interpret this as making them pay extra for something they don't want. So each of the new features will now be available a la carte, though they will get a lot cheaper if you buy all of them together.

Thanks to royalties and minimum price restrictions we don't have all that much flexibility with regards to what we charge for our software, so while we're well aware that our prices are rather high for a lot of students, there's not that much we can do about it. (though the new PlecoDict Lite version should help a little bit on that front) Practically speaking, though, since the majority of our customers buy handhelds primarily or exclusively to run our software, any changes we do make to our prices aren't going to change the total cost that much - if you've just shelled out $300 for a new Palm TX then a $30 or $40 change in the price of PlecoDict isn't likely to affect whether or not you buy it.
 
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