17 thoughts on “Gigahertz? No! What Matters Is the User Experience”

  1. I think this is really key. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building a smartphone, a web startup or even a complex bio-tech startup. It’s easy when you’re building something to take your domain expertise, which is truly an advantage, and act as if you’re pitching and selling to people who know as much about that domain as you. In reality, this is very rarely the case.

    The further we move forward with smartphones, the less I care about the processor speed. It used to be how all phones were pitched to use in adverts or in the stores. I’m glad Apple has changed that. I just want a phone that does what I want and does it well. I’ve been on Android for a while, and I am quite sure my next phone will be an iPhone. This is definitely one of the main reasons.

    1. Joel

      That is very well put. I think in the end the processor speed, client memory and the network speed have to be in complete harmony in order to achieve ideal user experience. Since tablet or device owners don’t control the network, they have to optimize the UI/UX, software and the innards.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      1. It’s all about achieving “complete harmony”. I’m thinking of an analogy here, if I may. I was watching the NBA playoffs many years ago when one of the analysts said that 5 great players don’t necessarily make a great team but rather 5 players playing great together. It’s all about the combination. It’s the same with tech.

  2. And certainly neither Steve Jobs nor the media at large bothered mentioning that the iPad2 is dual-core. It never appears in their marketing materials at all. 😉 Apple wouldn’t stoop to the incorrect marketing rhetoric that two cores equals twice as fast, right?

    And GigaOm wouldn’t have an article about how it’s the iPad2 (not the pretenders to the throne) which made dual-core mainstream for the tablet.

    1. Greg.

      Just wondering if you and I are seeing the same ads you are seeing as I am 🙂


      No mention of the processor or anything – just focusing on what matters. And the fact that we write about these technologies is because we are a technology publication and we do care about dual cores. And we also talk about the user experience. As they say, harmony of thought 😉

      1. Not TOO much in the ads; you’re right that they don’t bother getting into detailed specs in their ads. Take for example the main ‘ad’ copy, which says, “Thinner. Lighter. Faster.” But they DO mention improved power. Just not in stark numbers.

        Moving on, right at the main iPad area (http://www.apple.com/ipad/) one of the top two feature-boxes states “dual-core A5 chip”. OK, so they don’t say 1Ghz, but they do say dual-core. And neither does anyone care about the label “A5” any more than they do “1Ghz”. But it is the *exact same* rhetorical device: surely an A5 must be better than an A4 (it’s one number higher!), a chip some people may have heard of. More to my original point, though– it’s not just better, but it’s “Fast. Times Two.” (the dual-core nature is something they seemed to place at a high level of importance).

        They don’t need to mention numbers, because due to an astonishingly clever marketing department, they can get away with saying things like, “Multitasking is smoother… everything just works better.”

        …And the improved dual-core processor was mentioned heavily in the iPad2 keynote as well. As we know, the keynote is the single most important piece of marketing collateral they have. Far more important than an “ad”.

        I’m not disagreeing that they know their audience. Their audience is fine with “It just works better.” But I disagree that they don’t refer to the technology itself and its improvements. The A5. Dual-core, faster times two.

        1. I think to an average person – everything works better is more important than dual-core. And as I said, they are talking specs to a very thin slice of the market – a very very very thin. As an iPad owner, I didn’t really care much for dual core – what I want is something that just works without too much drama and manages to make me happy as an owner of the device. For others it could be another device, but for me, when it comes to tablets, it is the iPad.

          Anyway thanks for your comments.

  3. Speed is part of the user experience. Very important part actually.

    Quite the contrary, I don’t hear ppl ask about facebook, email and camera at the stores. Those things are standard for smartphones anyway. People still ask about megapixel, screen size, battery life etc. You can still sell a phone with metric numbers. and they weren’t just number, you can “feel” it. I was messing around with LG Optimus 2, that’s what you call a browsing experience. The time for my page to load on my own phone now feels like an eternity.

  4. Specs improve user experience so they are a very important part, too. Plus, they future proof your device. Software can always be updated. For example if you have an iPhone 3G and still don’t want to buy a new phone, you’ll find that iOS 4.0 slows down your phone. So specs directly impact the user experience here.

    I think what you were trying to say was that specs shouldn’t be the ONLY priority, like it’s the case with many Android manufacturers. Yes, the UX should be #1 priority and everything should work flawless with whatever specs you’re using in the device when you launch it, but specs still are very important, too.

    1. Lucian

      See my reply to the first comment. It answers your question.

      On the iPhone 3G or 4G issue — the point is that an end user doesn’t care what is inside, if it is faster chip. What matters is that the “user experience” is smooth and not slow. For that they need a newer device.

      On the iPhone 3G, there is a lot of my friends who are still using that phone and are perfectly happy with it — well as happy as one can be using AT&T network.

  5. So the question will be:
    How will this influence me2.

    With metric it’s easy to “beat” the competition without mentioning them. Without it a product might just be perceived as a cheap copy cat.
    In other words products have to stand on their own, which hopefully will become even true for SW.

  6. One of the reasons why more people are getting Android phones these days, more than any other phones, is that Android gives people choices on their user experience. People can chose different Android phone forms- all touch screen / sliding keyboard / LTE / prepaid / Sense / Blur / or none / MilSpec / etc. etc. Not wanting to be locked into one man’s view of the world (the same man with a very dirty data center)more people are choosing their own individual user experience.

  7. Om,
    Great way to articulate the value of “outside in” marketing !
    I do think there is a segment of the population, say some “enterprise buyers” who still look at traditional metrics to compare and decide, and hence you will still find companies trying to out-hertz one another until the broader buying behavior changes, or the cloud becomes a truly ubiquitous utility. But as a consumer (even a tech-savvy one, I daresay) the devices and services that provide the best experience and ease of use are the ones that I spend my hard-earned money on..the details under the hood are increasingly just irrelevant fine print!

  8. “Not a day goes by without an app developer boasting of the number of times his app has been downloaded — but since downloads don’t translate into automatic usage, the real number worth sharing would be active daily users or some sort of an engagement metric.” I heartily agree, and I have a suggestion: get together with your frenemies at TechCrunch and agree that neither of you will publish any more total downloads or signups numbers – henceforth, you insist on engagement metrics. If both GigaOm and TechCrunch declared and did as much, I suspect you’d eventually bring most of the rest of tech media with you. And the world would be better for it.

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