Nokia seems to know

So I’ve gotten a chance to really take a pretty good look at Moto, and what they’re about, and how they go about doing things.
Okay, that’s not totally true – I think I’ve just taken a quick look at the proverbial tip of the iceberg. However, being exposed as I am to mobile devices, I often find myself wondering: what the heck are they thinking? Actually, more often than not, I find myself thinking the opposite: what the heck aren’t they thinking of? And, more importantly: why?
Let’s take an example, one that is particularly relevant these days. The phone cradle. I completely understand the economics behind selling a phone cradle separately. The Nokia 8801 happened to come with a cradle, but then again that’s a $1200 phone. For that much moolah, the thing better do some serious amounts of stuff, or at least come with lots of neato toys. And it does. But the point is, it has a cradle. Most Nokia phones, in fact, have some sort of cradle/charger available to them (to the best of my knowledge – and I may be wrong.)
My question comes to light when you start wondering why other manufacturers’ phones don’t. Not just Moto – there’s a couple of models with cradles – but most of the other phone manufacturers don’t seem to cater to that particular need. Moto’s case is particularly glaring to me right now because not only do some models not have a cradle available to them, but they’re actually designed in such a way that a cradle would be impossible to design (or at least very, very complicated.) It just seems inane to me.
A cradle is more than just a convenience – it makes the phone more usable. With modern phone sporting battery lives that hover in the 6-12 hour range (in standby mode), there simply must be an easy to use, simple and convenient location to charge that puppy. This increased usability increases the utility of the phone, and therefore the marketability. It’s a pretty simple equation.
I know plenty of people that don’t use a cradle. They just struggle with their cables hanging off desks and walls and whatever. They don’t need the cradle, they do just fine. I believe this is because they haven’t been exposed to regular use of a cradle. If they have, and still believe the cradle to be extraneous, then they haven’t used a proper cradle. I could go on and on about cradles all day, but instead I’ll just say this: they’re convenient, and every phone should be designed with the option for one.
Sometimes there’s design tradeoffs – I understand this. Some things are expensive, some don’t fit, some simply aren’t factored in. But there’s just a lot of ‘basic’ things that phones should really have access to, especially as they become so pervasive. I have plenty of associates and friends who no longer have landlines, and rely on their cell phone instead. This market is growing, and I think that manufacturers that begin to think beyond immediate usability issues and into lifestyle issues will see a brighter future.
Then again, Nokia isn’t doing so hot, and they’re pretty much at the top of my list of cell phone manufacturers that ‘get it’. As far as the Apple iPhone goes, the jury is still out and far from coming to a conclusion on that piece of fluffware. We’ll see just how sweet it really is.

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