Simplicity is More Critical than Complexity on Mobile Phone

[via Dana Blankenhorn] Slashphone has an item about a speech given by Nicholas Negroponte:

“The killer application in mobile service is decided by response time, Professor Nicholas Negroponte at MIT said during an interview in the middle of the LG Technology Forum.

In his keynote speech, “The Future of Wireless,” Prof. Negroponte emphasized the right direction of change for mobile handsets. He insisted that any new function of handsets should be downloadable, but phone makers are just adding new functions in the device like inserting new tools into Swiss Army knife.

About the power efficiency, he said, future mobile handsets should be designed to be inserted in shoes so that people can use their phone while they are running or the battery system should be simple so that users have only to shake their phones to recharge them.

He emphasized simplicity, saying the industry always talks about easy-to-use interface, but nothing has been done; the smaller the handset gets, the thicker the manual becomes. He cited Swatch as an instance of the way the future wireless devices should take. According to him, although Swatch is widely known as a famous watch brand, it is the concept of “second watch” that the company has pursued. Likewise, he recommended, the handset industry should try for the “second handset.” Selling more handsets at lower price will lead to large profit, the renowned professor added.

Dana adds:

Future hardware designs must make it easy to connect, hands-free. Software must have intuitive user interfaces, as simple as speech. Services need to be spur-of-the-moment.

A lot of the mobile services I see today violate these principles big-time. They’re based on Web interfaces, and thus have a limited time horizon. The key is to get inside the phone, so you’re bought as soon as the customer thinks of buying.

Rather than thinking of a browser as something you look at and type at, as is done with even the best mobile browsers, how about a browser you talk to?

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.