Hello. I was an Object Desktop subscriber and Windows customization fan back in the Windows 7/XP days. I've been away from Stardock products for a decade, but just purchased a new Object Desktop subscription a couple days ago.
What caused me to drift away from using Stardock products:
- IT career got busy and took up most of my spare time.
- I've always been excited by/focused on new technologies, which for me included new Windows 10 releases, Insider program, etc.
- Lost interest in heavy desktop skinning/customization.
- Some products in the Object Desktop suite continued to be buggy for too long. Stability/performance/function are more important to me than aesthetics, so I stopped using those products.
- Even when I was more interested in desktop customization, OD felt scattered with functionality broken into so many pieces and also bloated with features I'll never use.
What brought me back to Stardock and OD:
- A desire for some way to customize Start Menu tile group folders.
- Discount for the full OD product.
- The promise of some exciting enhancements in DeskScapes 10.
- Possible interest in utilities like Tiles and Fences even if I don't use them right away.
What I'd like to see in Object Desktop 2019:
- Start10: I prefer to use the W10 Start Menu, not go back to Windows 7 and earlier menus. However, the standard W10 menu obviously needs improvement. Nameable tile group folders were a nice recent enhancement, but these folders start to look cluttered when you have more than two or three. I wish we could assign our own custom folder icon or blur effect to hide those useless tiny icons. This would greatly reduce visual clutter and improve focus on folder names. Unless I'm missing something, Start10 does not yet have this feature, so I hope it comes in 2019.
- Groupy: Unless I'm missing something, Groupy would benefit from the ability to auto-group not only instances of the same executable, but different apps (e.g. Sonos.exe and Spotify.exe). I'd settle for saved groups as an alternative if we could pin saved groups to the taskbar and also assign a custom icon so they don't all have the Groupy icon.
- High-DPI Support: I have a 4K monitor now, so I'm looking forward to high-dpi support in all products and DeskScapes10 in particular.
- General bug fixing as others have requested--especially for the most popular products.
- Object Desktop: I feel OD product packaging is outdated, inflexible and in some cases feels frustratingly arbitrary. I feel StarDock and it's customers would benefit greatly from a more streamlined, better-focused product line centered around three main packages:
- OD Productivity: include Start10 with productivity focused tools like Groupy, Fences, Tiles, SpaceMonger, Keyboard Launchpad and Multiplicity.
- OD Designer: include Start10 with design focused tools such as, but not limited to DeskScapes, WindowBlinds, CursorFX, SkinStudio, IconPackager, WindowFX, ShadowFX, etc,
- OD Designer or Productivty Plus: for a few dollars more, allow the customer to choose two tools from the other package. Anything beyond that, they can purchase separately.
- Notice that, Start10--a tool central to productivity and design--is standard in all packages. Also notice that tools currently sold separately, such as CursorFX, are integrated back into the appropriate OD suite. I think people are turned off when they feel like they're being nickel-and-dimed with surprise additional charges for things that should have been in the package. On the other extreme, we don't want to pay a premium for a suite loaded with far more tools than we'll ever use. Of course, keep selling products separately as well for those who only want specific tools.
I see a lot of long-time custom skinning fans here. That's just not me anymore. I don't miss Windows 7/XP or heavy skinning at all. I actually like Windows 10. I'm excited to see where Windows and other evolving technologies like AI, cloud services and mobile/desktop integration will take us. I sincerely hope Stardock can find a way to keep both kinds of customers happy.
BTW, I don't think migration to mobile is the only reason for the reduction in desktop customization product sales. There are still a billion desktop users (give or take a couple hundred million). I believe the mobile age has made users more favorable towards focused, lightweight apps, utilities and UI customization tools that are also lighter on the wallet. Customers like me want tools that boost productivity, efficiency, cross-platform integration as well as improve UI look and feel without taking a lot of time/focus away from the activity at hand--whether that be productivity or entertainment.
Good luck and happy 2019 to all!