Antoine Wright over at Brighthand makes a great point on the industry needing to meet needs of the average user by simplifying the smartphone/pda devices. In his article Looking Down the Wrong End of the Barrel: How PDAs Got It All Wrong, he discusses how sophisticated devices such as the Palm and Pocket PC require understanding the feature set, and that means reading the manual.

Many people will agree with me that a smartphone and a data package is a much better way to be connected than a simple “dumb” phone. However, the top selling phone in the U.S. is the Motorola RAZR. Why? It’s sleek, it’s simple, and it does what it does (make calls). For it to do more would make the target audience freak out because they would have to learn something new.

Now the part I take issue with is the “they would have to learn something new” piece.  Now I know the average person just wants to use the device for what it was designed for.  I also understand that all these fantastic devices available on the market (or on their way to market) really do need to go to Toaster University for a dose of KISS 101.

It just bothers me that people insist on not learning something new.  Does this apply to everything in their life?  Is it that people just do not want to learn anymore?  Are they too busy to pick up some new techniques, tools, tips, or {gasp} ideas?  If the drive by media is any indication, it may be too late to worry about.
To keep myself from getting too worked up I’ll take the glass-half-full view and believe that smarter simpler devices will free up a person’s time.  That additional free time to be spent with family, friends, or just reading one of those old-fashoned paper books we all used to know so well.


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