The Idea Dude


Saturday, March 31, 2007

In search of the remarkable gadget

It's not the gee-whiz gadget that everyone's gotta have. It will never outsell an ipod, play an MP3 or even show you a color jpg. Yet this little device has found a niche, a writers' niche. It's called a Neo made by Alphasmart. Designed initially for students, it found a following with journalists and writers. What is remarkable about this, is that rather than try and be the next best thing to slice bread, it did one thing very well. It enabled you to write anywhere. The size of a sheet of paper with a full keyboard, 3 regular alkaline batteries will keep this baby humming for over 700 hours. Have a great thought or want to blog before boarding the morning bus, one button instant on makes it all possible. Weighing less than 2lbs and rugged, it has become the journalist or writers' companion. There's probably nothing that remarkable about the technology, even the screen is a monochrome LCD 2 or 6 line text screen. In fact, it looks like a throwback to the first electronic typewriters of the early 1980s.

So why am I in awe? in a age where we try to create products that meet everyone's need and sell millions for superstar status, here's a company that did something very amazing with a seemingly unremarkable device. It focused on one need, to write anywhere, anytime. It executed it perfectly, giving nothing more and nothing less. Quietly generating it's own legion of raving fans. That is truly remarkable.


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