Companies are always investing in R&D. In fact, before any major product comes to market it is tested on subjects repeatedly. This is to see whether the people will like the product, buy it, and be a repeat customer. There is no lack of market testing going on in the USA.
I think that companies invest a ton of time, money, and manpower in research and development. Every company wants to be the one who comes up with the next big idea for the future. We don't hear a lot about research and development because a lot of ideas never come to fruition.
Many companies, especially tech companies, invest a lot of time, money, and effort in their research and development. I do find that they strive to have the best of the best, however, companies always want to develop and perfect their products swiftly, which is why we have generations of products, with the next being better than the last. Cell phones are the epitome of this, and televisions are another example of needing to have all your ducks in a row, instead of shooting for the best at first, then developing more of what went wrong. Granted, in most cases, the technology has changed to much over the years, however, if you want to be the best, wait until you can do it with little to no cost. This is just a theory.
Companies are not investing enough in R&D. Public corporations, eager to satisfy investors looking at quarterly earnings, prefer to buy back shares in order to boost the earnings per share figure in the short-term. Companies also have been increasing dividends, giving investors a higher payout. However, this comes at the expense of lowering investments in areas such as R&D, which have a longer payoff.