Do any companies these days actually scout out their prospective customers, or do they all just look at the competition and mimic what they’re doing – even if it makes more sense?
Today’s grumble is about Creative Labs and their present range of Zen media players. I’m in the market for something new, since my PSP was pinched, and a friend has one of these and loves it to bits. OK, so hers was bought from the US and the model she has was never made available in the UK though similar ones were. Going through the specs, it seems just what I’m after.
No external battery. So when the battery goes, you’re without the player for the two or four (USB or wall socket) hours it takes to charge it up. Oh, and that wall charger will cost you another Â£20 or so. It doesn’t come in the box.
With her older model, you can swap batteries around. This gives a much more useful playing life. While 5 hours at a shot is fine for someone commuting when they can charge it up in the office or at home, it’s useles for – say – a long-haul flight. Some hours on a train to get to the airport, waiting to board, 10+ hours in the air, commute when you land… the player’s dead by the time you walk up the steps onto the aeroplane.
Now I mean, who on earth would market a whole range of media players without replaceable batteries?
I don’t know whether to blame Apple for starting this whole thing off, or Creative for being stupid enough to follow in their footsteps. Either way it’s incredibly frustrating. I’m right in the market for one of these things, the Zen looks lovely and with the new models they’s instantly removed one feature I deem an absolutel necessity for any portable electronic device.
Without exception, every single gizmo of the sort I’ve bought for years has had one feature – that extra battery. And without exception, at the time of purchase I’ve forked out more cash for one of them. Usually a long-life alternative. It’s a money-making accessory.
It also means when the battery fails you don’t have to have the player repaired under warranty (or fork out for a specialist to do it outside). Perhaps that’s where they see the cash – customers ditching the failed hardware and buying a new one.
Either way, the sad result is simple. I won’t be buying Creative this time around.