Philips CEO: Who needs gadgets?

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

The day after six million Canadians dropped $2 billion on a range of goods — with electronics high on the list— seems like an ideal time to reflect on the words of Paul Zeven, CEO of Philips Electronics America, who wonders whether anyone really wants the stuff his industry makes.

In a recent opinion piece for CNet News.com, Zeven observes that his company's research found:

  • Two out of three Americans have lost interest in a technology product because it seemed too complex to set up or operate
  • Just 13 per cent of Americans believe technology products in general are easy to use
  • Only one in four people say they use all features on most new technology products.

Zeven relates his own recent brushes with the latest — and some would argue greatest — technology:

During a recent three-day period, I was exposed to a new robotic vacuum cleaner, a new high-definition version of TiVo, a device to stream movies from a PC to a television, new game consoles, new MP3 players and, yes, even a belt buckle that plays videos.

I can't help but wonder if consumers really want all this. Have we gone too far?

Do Zeven's comments reflect your own experience of technology or is he off the mark? Have your say in the comments below.