Do we need it?

Guy 1: Hey! Have you checked out the new nanosoft creamface??
Guy 2: Yeah! That was awesome man. I’ve waited for this all my life. I’m gonna get this one before christmas. How about you?
Guy 1: Me too..
Guy 3: I agree it is super. But any idea how it differs from our ‘ear’pad??
Guy 1 & 2:Umm..well it’s kinda can do..this..that..but it’s completely super and differnt. I’m getting one surely…

Do we need it or want it? That’s the question which popsĀ  in my mind every time I see one of those shiny new gadgets getting unwrapped before millions of eyes waiting to set their hands upon it. Never mind I’m one of them. But lately I’ve been thinking too much, and thats the problem.

Almost in each quarter we’re surrounded by half a dozen new flagships, boasting of cliched jargons like six times faster, 20 % thinner (that reminds me of someone) etc. But does that even matter? Yes it does matter. To whom? To the companies themselves, as to proveĀ  ‘who is the leader and the numero uno?’ among the pack. Sadly, that crown doesn’t last long enough, even with one of them. So who is the real winner? And perhaps the loser?

The silicon valley gaints are ofcourse the winners. Yes, you already knew the answer. But new products are innovation right? No, not essentially. In fact most of them are’nt, barring a few. They are only evolution. And there’s a big difference between evolutionary and revolutionary. Technological advancements and breakthroughs are needed, but at whose cost. People don’t need to update their phones every quarter to get their work done, but still majority of them do. Why? Just because thats the latest peice of metal (plastic) around.

For example, consider the world’s greatest company (pun intended), which refreshes (yes!,refreshes) it’s lineup every year. And all of us know, it’s nothing more than a paint-job and there’s almost no innovation (atleast for the last 3 generations of their products). But still the world famous queues line up before their stores weeks ahead of the actual sales. Does it have something to do with loyality or other wise called fanboyism colloquially? I don’t think so. Inspite of their products being just taller, thinner or bigger (okay faster), they break all records in terms of sales.

I’m not a droid guy or even an apple fanboy, which you might have already guessed. I’m as much excited about new gadgets as you are, and would like to own all of them myself, but still after all this where are we heading? Consider Microsoft’s Surface, which is touted to be their answer to the immensely popular Ipad and other Google slates. The point is what can the surface do more which the Ipad or some other top dog Google tablet not do? Ofcourse the surface tablet looks gorgeous and is definitely going to be winner performance wise(?). But still, is it relevant to buy the surface tablet, when you already own one that can do all your chores pretty well.

Okay, I’m not against Microsoft or Windows Phone OS. Infact, I love the Windows 8 UI as much as anyone. And yes it’s super fast and buttery smooth even on mediocre hardware, so that’s a winner. I love all these products and even use (or used) many of them. The point is are we overloaded (forced?) with too much options and made not to think? This is infact proved by no one other than Microsoft themselves. The software giant very well knows that it’s latest shiny bezel the Surface can’t be advertised as the-one which-does-this-which-none-other-can-do. So in one of their recent ad which supposedly advertises the tablet, dozens of people jump and dance holding the tablet in hand, by the way of advertising the product. It’s more of a music video than a useful product ad which focusses on the capabilities of the product being advertised. The ad tries to impress the viewers and make the product seem like a must-have fun machine. This is a tried and tested method which Apple follows, as Apple products are known for their pre-release buzz that they create, for which the company itself contributes a lot. Post launch, the sales ride upon the buzz created earlier.

Instead of having a market where the terms are dictated by the seller, and consumer caught in the wave of being unsure of whether to go for the product, ends up buying the ‘best advertised’ one even if he already has an equally capable one with him, products should have a lifecycle within which they should be unrivalled or atleast be ‘one among the best’. For this to happen the release dates of the flagships of various hardware makers should coincide, so that consumers can choose the best one from the crop. In the present scenario there’s no definite time of unveiling new products. Every company wants to somehow force there products to unwary consumers, most of whom are not tech geeks. But yes, the ultimate aim of every company is to sell more and earn more, but what about the care for their customers.

Windows Phone 7 OS (7.5) was literally ditched by Microsoft, even when their biggest smartphone partner Nokia had it up and running in it’s flagship the Lumia 900 and highly successful Lumia 800. This shows that the companies don’t care about their customers. It’s like once you buy my product, I dont care whatever happens to you. Yes WP 8 and WP 7.5 are entirely different from the ground up and use differnt kernels, but still an average consumer who buys a phone without knowing all these rocket science, is made the scapegoat. Okay, that was entirely Microsoft’s notoriety, but then nokia decided to push of all it’s stock of lumias at ultra low prices as if mocking at the Lumia 900 owners who had spent their hard earned cash buying one. You might be thinking that I had bought a Lumia 900 just last week and this is a way of venting my anger, NO…

Let us be responsible consumers and choose what’s really important and useful based on our priorities rather than someone luring us, just to rob us of our money!