Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Larry Page's law also for mobile phones and gaming consoles?

Larry Page once said his thought that "software is going twice slower every 18 months". This became known as Page's law, and I suddenly wondered if the same was not true of mobile phones content and gaming consoles when I had to change my cellphone.

I asked a cousin working in the field of mobile phones and he gave me a spare good old Nokia 1600, saying it's one of the you-cant-find-them-anymore-nor-nothing-as-good.

When I first turned it on, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of quiet efficiency. It's not doing MMS, doesn't take pictures, doesn't allow you to surf the web, but damnit! it's fast. Well, indeed, I just don't notice that I am using a cellphone at all. It's just become plain transparent. Take your directory entry, push the button and that's all. A plain good old feeling of Fire-and-Forget.

And it reminded me how frustrated I got when friends invited me to play the new Street Fighter game on a Xbox 360. It's beautiful, it's respecting the design principles of the series, yet it's no way the same fun as in the old ones on the SNES.

I'd seem bitter if I concluded on a law like "every software or platform evolves to the point where usability suffers a lot from the number of functions, then evolves to the point where it's not usable at all anymore" or another Zawinsky-like law, yet I see no other conclusion.

PS: thx, couz'