Wired magazine published an article yesterday outlining some of the expected technology trends for 2006
and beyond. What first caught my eye was this quote from British
Telecom's staff futurist, Ian Pearson: "We've done 20 years of adding
functionality [to cell phones and gadgets], and 99 percent of that
functionality isn't needed. There will be an enormousmarket over the next several years for really simple stuff."
If the TR audience is any indication, Pearson's analysis is spot-on. When my colleague Beth Blakely asked What features would you like for your future phone?, the overwhelming response was, to quote Jaqui,
"a cell phone that solely functions as a phone." Users would rather
have reliable service and a simple interface than MP3 playback and
GPS-based local restaurant reviews.
I bring this up because TechRepublic is in the middle of some
uber-secret site improvements (not so secret that I can't tell you
we're doing them, just so secret that I can't tell you what they are).
We've spent the last year rolling out new functionality—blogs,
tagging, a links directory—and now we're taking a hard look at
simplifying all this into a clean, effective interface that is useful,
not just gee-whiz interesting. Quotes like those above give me reason
to think we're on the right track.