More useless features don’t make for a better smartphone, Samsung

Interesting article from Ross Rubin on how focusing can help a company more than throwing features into your product.



  • lkalliance

    When I first heard about the 5s’ fingerprint sensor, I worried (counter to all the evidence built up over the years) that Apple had gotten into feature creep…that there was nothing marginal to add that would really make a difference, and it had to add SOMETHING, so it added that.

    I’ve come to the realization though that it’s like Time Machine. I will take Apple’s assertion as true that half of users don’t have a security code on their iPhones…I believe it because I don’t have one myself, and it’s really just out it being a pain in the butt, not worth the trouble for just a four-digit forceable password.

    But by Apple’s account (and soon we’ll see if by others’) the fingerprint sensor is really convenient. So…barrier to entry removed. Time Machine did the same thing, making it dead simple to do backups, just part of OS X. It wasn’t anything anyone couldn’t do before, but Apple lowered the (knowledge) barrier to entry so low as to make it convenient.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Samsung advertise such a feature, that made me say “Hey, this is something I should be doing, not just something that’s neat, and I haven’t been doing it. This feature makes me enthusiastic to do this important thing.”

    (To be fair, in the same space, both Android and Windows 8 have creative and — I think — less inconvenient unlock mechanisms. But probably anything gets tiresome, no matter how cute, if you have to do it dozens of times per day, as a barrier to doing whatever it is you pulled your phone out to do.)

    • Canucker

      The most successful technological innovations are those that you use without thinking. Apple seems to get this whereas Samsung (and Microsoft) seem to think that a feature isn’t any good unless you are constantly reminded of it.

      • Moeskido

        Or required to puzzle out how to use it in the first place.

      • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

        To me, the ultimate example of this is plug & play. I don’t know if this is still the case, but it used to be on Windows when you plugged a mouse in it chugged a bit. After a while, it would chime and pop up a message that the mouse was connected. Okay, maybe the chime was actually somewhat useful — only because it took so long to connect — but the message wasn’t.

        On Mac OS X, the mouse (or keyboard) would just start working. Immediately.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    I’ve been saying this for quite a while about Samsung. When they launched the s4, I was pretty disappointed because I saw so many new glitz features verses taking on all of the other issues that they really need to fix in order to really provide a polished, finished product. Instead, we keep seeing all of these extra features that are great demoware but aren’t used very much in real life.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      oh and this is why I stop using my s3 and haven’t bought an s4. I’m on a nexus 4 now and I’m planning on going with the Moto X or the Nexus 5 clearly to get away from all of the changes Samsung and HTC introduced to the OS.

  • abdoradus

    Useless features and bogus specs are what Samsung and practically everybody except Apple sells. Bigger screen, more megahertz. It’s also what most reviews focus on. Not playing that game and still being successful is what gets Apple so much hate.

    • Tvaddic

      A bigger screen is not a useless feature, if someone can’t afford a tablet and a phone they get a phablet.