The features you have vs. the features you use

13 September 2008

As my own small contribution to the literature on featuritis, here’s a personal illustration. My mobile phone isn’t anything fancy. It’s cheap and very basic by today’s standards. No internet, no camera, no MP3 player. I bought it because all I wanted to do was to make calls and send texts.

So here’s a list of what my “simple” Nokia 1100 can do, and what I actually do with it.

Features that I have:

  1. telephone
  2. SMS
  3. contacts
  4. call register
  5. choice of ring tones
  6. profiles (stored sets of settings)
  7. headset jack
  8. torch
  9. welcome note (customisable message when you switch on)
  10. . call diversion
  11. . automatic redialling
  12. . speed dialling
  13. . clock
  14. . alarms
  15. . reminders
  16. . games
  17. . calculator
  18. . stopwatch
  19. . countdown timer
  20. . ringtone composer
  21. . screensaver

Features that I use:

  1. telephone
  2. SMS
  3. contacts
  4. call register
  5. clock

Reducing the phone to this very limited feature set, one could dispense with the menu entirely and have a simple toggle between phone and text modes. Even better, work out a way invoking these functions implicitly rather than explicitly.

In its favour, the phone lasts more days on a single battery charge than most fancy smartphones will last hours, as the 74% of Japanese iPhone users that carry it as a second phone (broken link) could probably testify.