TECHNO-CULTURE -- Karlin Lillington writes about the joys of a simple mobile phone on the day that the number one referrer to this blog is about how to hack a Motorola V710 phone. As much as I can empathise with people who want to have a phone that needs no operator's manual, I hardly believe the industry can survive with only a functionally retro approach to mobile communications. The industry cannot sustain itself by servicing grannies who hardly use their minutes.
Those superusers want easy synchronicity (I use Intellisync between my phone and Yahoo!), good reception (without paying for 3G), sturdy construction, and colour screens. I also prefer an ability to program the phone.
The most compelling item on my Nokia 9500 is mobile e-mail. It's compelling because it's one-button operations. It's complex to program but simple to use. In the minds of many customers, e-mail blows away many other fancy services. Andew Odlyzko, a telecoms guru, once did a survey in which he asked people to choose, hypothetically, between having e-mail or the entire content of the worldwide web on their phone. In his survey, 95% chose e-mail.
People want simple products and that motivation informs their buying. There is a lot of simplicity in the market, if you use sales figures as your guide. Of the 680m handsets sold in 2004, only 20m were smartphones.
Karlin Lillington -- "Taking the mobile back to its functional retro basics" in The Irish Times Net Results, May 27, 2005.