Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Do "Features" Become "Attributes"?

Nobody thinks of a "battery" as a feature of a mobile device, unless the battery offers unusual performance. On the other hand, few really consider short battery life when using Internet features a key "bug," either. People just learn that their batteries won't last very long when they are using the Internet on their mobiles. That's a bit like the ability to make and receive phone calls. It isn't a feature, just an expected capability or attribute of a mobile phone.

But some features do, over time, become mere attributes. That might be happening to Research in Motion, which once dominated the "email-optimized smart phone market. It isn't so clear that the ability to use email on a smart phone any longer is a clear feature, as opposed to an attribute or expected capability.

The point is that when features become mere capabilities, the ability to build a whole market segment based on that feature also goes away. That might be one key reason for RIM's faltering market share.

So now Blackberry’s most significant feature – email – is no longer very interesting.

1 comment:

Tim Copley said...

My concerns are exactly the opposite. When deficiencies become "features".

There is nothing worse than finally tracking down a bug on a vendor, spending hours in the process trying to pinpoint the behavior of the "feature". Get all of that data and behavior to a Carrier or vendor and then have the Carrier declare the behavior as a "Feature".

"Oh mister customer that's the way we intended for our product to behave.: No we cannot fix it for you, we wanted it to act that way.

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