TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens. Picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones. Using sophisticated products and keeping pace with their new features requires significant time, interest and a certain amount of smarts on the part of consumers. It also takes a lot of energy to sort out the bells and whistles you really need from those you sort-of need and those you don’t need at all.
Complexity among consumer technology products has never been greater — a good thing if the complexity means product improvement. But Wharton experts say new bells and whistles pose challenges to businesses and consumers alike. Complexity — along with choice — can have a big impact on how firms make and market new and improved gizmos, and on the decision processes of the people expected to buy them.