Daily Archives:May 15th, 2006

The Emperor’s New Phone

Sol Trujillo, the CEO of Telstra, gave the opening talk at FiRe tonight. He made several interesting points, including a complaint about his newly-installed HDTV system and the 50-button remote that came with it, which he found completely bewildering. Somebody had installed it for him, and he knew that he had HDTV service, but when he arrived home, he couldn’t work out how to get to it. Why are so many consumer devices so hard to use? And that’s when you’re only using one of them at once. Just wait until you get your HDTV hooked up to your DVD and your Tivo and your XBox and your PC and….

My most poignant experience of this recently is the Motorola RAZR, perhaps the most beautiful cellphone hardware ever created, combined with the worst ever software user interface.

RAZRWhenever I talk about this in public, people who know Motorola phones laugh in agreement. Now, I can’t believe that everyone at Motorola is an idiot – far from it – so they must know that they’ve created a monstrosity – beauty on the outside, beast on the inside. I can therefore only deduce that they don’t care. Why not, and how can we, the users, make manufacturers care, so that they fix it?

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