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06 July 2006
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I Won't Watch Video on My Cell Phone

There are three reasons for this, and I offer as always my free and gratuitous advice to the industry:

  • I don't have a video-capable cellphone.  You can ignore this reason.  It's just me being patient.
  • I have no interest in watching video on my cell phone.  I don't even watch the teevee.  Sports clips are of no interest to me, neither are music videos nor are any of the other glorious future features.  I like to read.  You can ignore this reason.  It's just me being me.
  • When I want to use my cellphone, I feel that having the battery charged and functional is important.  I can't be alone in this desire!  This is the one you might want to consider. 

I carry a cellphone even though I almost never use it.  I make and receive a couple of calls a month, mostly to coordinate activities and never to chat.  My "plan" with its superfluity of "minutes" is a mockery of practicality.  But when I do make or receive that couple of calls, I want the cellphone to work.  I am acutely aware of battery lifetime, and I'm careful to keep the unit well-charged.  If I were to use the 'phone for another purpose, e.g., watching videos, I would always be concerned that the battery wouldn't work when needed.  Am I the only person with this concern?  Almost certainly not!  Is it easily alleviated?  Yes!  How?  Two batteries:  One for all the features, one for the cellphone.  Will this make the product a little thicker and a little more expensive?  Yes, unless you decide to cut the normal battery in appropriate fractions.  Is it worth it? To me it would be!  And, I suspect it would be to others as well, although they may not realize it 'til they've won some stupid handheld game and then can't call anyone to tell them about it.

Think of this as an opportunity:  Sell two batteries instead of one when replacement time comes.  Are there better solutions?  Technically yes - you could simply have a single battery that would run only the 'phone after it was 2/3 discharged.  Will this be psychologically satisfying?  Perhaps to some, but I, fossil that I am, would prefer the security of a dedicated chunk of power for emergencies. 

This has been free advice.  For not-free, I'd be happy to attend a "focus group."  I'll be the one with the cellphone with its non-personalized ringtone and monochrome screen firmly in his pocket.

2006
Richard Factor