Don't over specify
Posted by aogSaturday, 21 February 2004 at 20:42 TrackBack Ping URL

The Wall Street Journal had a review of digital cameras recently (not only, unfortunately). The reviewer liked the cameras but complained about the small memory cards that were included. However, that’s a feature not a bug.

There is general problem with including an item with a product that is essential, replaceable and affects performance. In such a situation, there will always be an after-market for other versions of the item. It’s basically impossible for the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to have “the best” version of the item, not least because people will disagree on not only on the specifics of any version but on the very criteria on which to judge. The more competive the after market, the more it makes sense for the OEM to include an adequate but cheap version of the item. It will make most customers happy and those who don’t like would have bought after market versions anyway. At the same time, it lowers the list price of the entire product, making it more competitive.

For the digital cameras, whatever size of memory card was included would be wrong for most customers. The larger the included card, however, the more ever buyer has to pay for something that doesn’t work for them. The best option for almost everyone is to put the cheapest card that’s still usable (so there’s a good “out of box experience) and let those who care buy the card they want. Mossberg should have been able to figure this out on his own.