Can we have slightly fewer features with our high-tech products, please?

In which Dopers bitch about high-tech products with features that (a) needlessly jack up the price, (b) make the product harder to use, © don’t work as advertised, and/or (d) piss us off.

I’ll start.

To: Cell Phone Manufacturers and Service Providers
From: Skald the Rhymer
Subject: Can I get a phone that actually works as a phone?

I would like a cell phone for communication purposes. Okay? Do I need to speak more slowly, or to spell out the word? No? Good. If you understand that, you’ll understand that I want a phone that will receive and send voice calls; send and receive text messages; identify incoming callers; and store my voice mail. Okay? That is all. No touch screens, no movie players, no cameras, no music player, no nothing, alright? Use the ingenuity that would go into making all that crap and channel it into stronger transceivers so I don’t get so many dropped calls, into better batteries, into creating a user interface that doesn’t require reading the manual to understand. Okay? Because otherwise I’m going to have to unleash the monkeys, and nobody wants that.

That is all.

You mean like my Tracfone?

Amen, man. I miss my Nokia 3390, those old bricks that everyone had in like 2001. Nothin’ but firmware (or so it seemed, at least). And it always worked. They’re getting harder and harder to find.

Heh. I don’t even know HOW to text message and don’t want to learn. Totally not interested.

Cars are getting way too many features for me these days: antilock brakes, traction control, roll-over control, Onstar phone/diagnostic/door unlocker, map lights, cup holders, map holders, sunglass holders, power seats, power windows, power mirrors, heated seats, cylinder cut-out thingy, all wheel drive, satellite radio, MP3 player, automatic climate control, built-in garage door opener, keyless entry, adjustable pedals, pre-settings for each driver, tire pressure sensors, head lamps that turn with the car, night vision display, GPS systems, etc. etc.

And we still power them with the black goop that comes from the ground.

This basic cognitive dissonance: people want things filled with features before they buy, and complain about having too many features after the purchase.

Do you really think you can sell cell phones by saying “We have no features! Just a phone!”? Especially when everyone else is saying, “We’re a cell phone! We’re a camera! We’re a web browser! We’re a dessert topping!”

Cellphones are not the only problem. In researching a column, I ran across an article with a quote from a guy at IBM who said they kept on getting requests for features that were already there, but hidden under five layers of menus.

When the printed manual is bigger than the product, then you know you have a problem.

Well, there the Jitterbug which is advertised as only a cell phone. Granted it’s marketed to seniors who are intimidated by the complexity of modern cell phones but I find the idea appealing (although their plans are expensive). I’m tired of getting charged for text messages my bonehead friends send me.

I’d buy one. I’m generally happy with my RAZR, (good sound and battery life, and oh-so-pocketable) but if I could remove the camera and the texting/web-browsing bits, I’d love it even more.

shudders You just described one of my nightmares come to life. Dad got Mom a Razr for Christmas this year (she already had a cell, but either the battery or the charger had problems, and the battery wouldn’t stay in anyways, making it near impossible ot use in the car, and impossible to use outside of it). Mom is completely useless with electronics, and since I also had a Motorola phone at the time, it gets suggested that I show her how to use the thing :eek: I think she’s figured it out now, but the Razr has so many buttons that I was starting to get confused. There’s no way she’s ever going to use all the features on that phone, mainly because it’s highly unlikely she’ll ever figure out how to use them.

well, yes, as a matter of fact, I DO think you can sell phones with no features. If the damn managers would do a little market research, instead of listening to their in-house IT department, they would find out that I exist. And a bunch of my friends exist, too. And so do my 80 year old parents. And all my parents’ friends.
That’s about 30 people who I personally know, ALL of whom want a cell phone with no features.

Hasn’t anybody realized that advertising on MTV is different than advertising to seniors?Hell, AARP is the biggest membership organization in Amerca. There’s money to made in that market.

Business phones. This rant goes back some 13 years, but the technology hasn’t changed that much.

I still remember the training session.

“With your old phones, if you wanted to put someone on hold, you’d have to press the hold button. To get them back, you’d have to press the line button. It’s way too confusing. But that’s a thing of the past! Now, to put someone on hold, all you have to do is press pound star three eight four seven star star two release. To get them back, merely press seven seven star pound pound little doggy face upside-down four conference control alt larry moe shemp banana. Easy!”

I had to hang a poster on my cublicle wall to tell me how to answer the phone.

I’ve been saying this for several years now, ever since trying to teach my Mom to use a cell phone. She’s not particularly techno-phobic, but just doesn’t remember the details and isn’t interested in carrying a manual with her.

Just a plain cell phone with big buttons and big display.

Listen up phone guys, there’s a market out there!

tdn, I’m impressed that your phone system was that simple. The last place I worked, the “transfer call” command included in its key sequence the dogcow and the TAFKAP glyph.

Aw, you beat me to it. That’s all mine does, the things the OP says it does, and I love it.

Whoah, they make phones that are dessert toppings?! I’ll take two, please! :cool:

Actually, they DO know you exist. At my company you (and I am in that bucket too) are actually called Simplists.

Unfortunately, you don’t make us any money.

My current phone has no buttons. It just has some odd scribblings, which I’ve finally deciphered to read “Speak friend and enter.”

I called Verizon and had them turn off the text feature on my phone. I told them I was tired of getting charged for spam advertising and refused to pay for it any more. They had no problem shutting text off.


Let’s add digital cameras to the list.

It’s not just the ergonomics of using features that are poorly incorporated into the device. The features they consider marketable are sometimes useless. Case in point is “digital zoom”. Absolutely worthless in my view, yet it allows them to put another number on the sign.