Why do inventions work well, but never become popular
like the video-phone?
In the case you mention, there is both the consideration of cost, and
whether the technology actually does work 'well'.
Though there have been some recent jumps in technology, early models of the
video-phone were not 'picture-perfect'. The technology at the time produced
jumpy broken-up images which would not be useful for the average person
expecting sharp detail. You can imagine the possible improvements if you
have watched streaming video on a p.c.. As IC's continue to grow and grow
in memory potential, the quality of the video improves and improves.
Once the technology can be improved, which probably is not more than a year
or so away, and the cost can be acceptable for the average user, which could
take a bit longer, then the product will become one of those 'must have'
Thanks for using NEWTON!
Richard R. Rupnik
Internal Quality Auditor
Economics. Suppose the videophone costs $500/month. Would you buy
one? Probably not. Because, for the same $500/month you could go
visit the person you're calling, and talk to them face to face.
Suppose the videophone costs $10/month. Would you buy one? Probably.
What you need to bear in mind is that not everything that is
possible is worthwhile. Conditions change over time, however, and
what was not worthwhile yesterday may become worthwhile today. For
example, the Internet existed 20 years ago. I know, because I used it
then. But it was not worthwhile for everyone to hook up to it,
because it would have been very expensive to do so. But over time it
became cheaper and cheaper to hook up to it, and now it IS worthwhile.
Cars were being built in the 1880s, but folks still rode horses for
the next 30 years, because cars were expensive to buy and operate.
After a while they got cheaper, and folks started buying them.
Nowadays it's more expensive to own a horse than a car!
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Update: June 2012