Yeah, thinking SureFire gets little interest in an announced product, they shelve it.
You may be making an interesting point here Kit. ( Heck, once in a while even I manage that
It could be that they lack sufficient competent Marketing
personnel to do marketing research using more proper methods, and they can keep the payroll lower by simply employing that technique for most of their market 'research': announce upcoming release of a new product with some detail, then gauge the response on the street to determine if the product development / project actually gets the 'green light' to proceed. I've spent (too) many hours sitting across the conference room table (never next to them) from Mktg project team members, and most of them would not agree with that marketing research methodology. That's because to many (including me, and I'm definitely
not a Mktg person), that creates the appearance of an organization that's incompetent / doesn't know what it's doing. When I was a 'project team member' at more than one company, we never showed anything at a conference or trade show that was not going to production, and typically it was already in Alpha trial (internally) or often field Beta trial (using NDAs of course) by the time it was shown anywhere. Any info about anything not already well into the development cycle was considered highly proprietary info, and was kept under guard.
It's interesting that a related (but fundamentally different) technique commonly employed by (and possibly originated by) the auto makers over many years, is to do your prototype mock-ups etc. and show them at the big auto shows, and use the feedback from that to gauge interest and decide whether or not to proceed with the project, or perhaps how the direction needs to be changed or fine tuned before proceeding.
The key difference is that the auto makers prominently bill those as "concept cars" (not 'announced upcoming product releases), never suggesting that they are necessarily going to go into production (at least as displayed / shown), and no one assumes they necessarily will (at least in the form shown).
If you go to press with a designated 'concept', and everyone knows it's a 'concept', and no one necessarily expects to see it in the showroom as is, that's one thing. If you show / announce a concept, but instead of calling it that, announce it as an upcoming product release suggesting that it will soon be available, then cancel the project, the market will assume you're incompetent..
Perhaps SF just needs some competent Marketing Dept. people.