Sunday, September 07, 2008

Too much gadget power!

Every once in a while, a friend of mine will come up to me and ask if getting a Core 2 Duo 2GHz laptop, with a big screen and the full complement of multimedia features, is a good idea, although it costs around JD1,500 ($2100).

When we start talking about his/her uses for such a computer, it becomes apperant that a JD500 laptop, with a processor of half the power and lower specifications will be enough!

There seems to be a problem nowadays. Users don’t buy their hardware to meet their needs, but instead end up with what I call ‘hardware overkill’.

Take digital cameras as an example. Really, a 5 megapixel camera with proper auto focus and advanced night-time shooting should be more than enough. Why on earth would any regular person want a 12 megapixel camera! Are you planning to blow up your photos into wall unit size?

Let’s also look at mobile phones for minute. Almost every person I know who carries a Nokia or Sony Ericcsson advanced and expensive multimedia phone is barely using the processor power in hand. It’s just that they ‘liked the way the phone looks’, and of course they want to get the latest. But, if all you’re going to do with your JD500 phone is the basic functionality offered by a JD70, you would be mad to spend more!

Certain ‘emotional blackmail’ products like the iPhone take this to ridiculous proportions. Users who haven’t even begun to explore their iPhone 1 have already ditched it for the all new iPhone 2!

The same applies to iPods. Do you really need to carry 4,000 songs and use a touch-screen? Aren’t 500 songs enough, and what wrong with normal buttons?

Even gaming systems have gone crazy. Most kids can still get loads of fun out of their JD100 PS2, which still gets all the major games releases, and there’s little more than sharper graphics and sounds on offer from the JD350 PS3.

Maybe I need a dose of reality? If people were reasonable about their technology gadgets, there wouldn’t be an industry for new high-tech products.

What marketers understand is that buyers build an ‘emotional’ bond with a gadget or electronic device, and it becomes both about functionality and status.

But, really, what’s the use of status when you don’t have a bank account that can maintain your current, average status anyway!


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