Korean electronics company and innovation

When the cutting edge frightens the customers is a clever piece on innovation in the FT. It's about Korean electronic company and they way they're thinking about new products:

both companies are now at a critical juncture as they face a fundamental contradiction: they are concentrating on high-end products, particularly in mobile phones, but ever-smarter gadgets are becoming more intimidating and difficult to use for the average customer. These markets are also becoming saturated and new growth is to be found at the low end. So how do Samsung and LG, number three and five respectively in the global handset market, avoid a Sony-style post-Walkman product crisis? (...) “Sometimes it’s difficult to do market research because often consumers don’t know what they want,” says Lee Hee-gook, chief technology officer at LG Electronics, best known for home appliances, mobile phones and flat screens. (...) No product exemplifies this dilemma better than the mobile phone, analysts say. “They are developing these all-seeing, all-doing handsets that can do everything but shine your shoes, but does the phone-using public really want that level of capability?” asks Mr Morris. “And more importantly, will they pay for it?” (...) Over at Samsung, Mr Yun laments this conundrum. Samsung and LG have both built mobile phones with practically flawless television capability, but as Mr Yun puts it, the “unknown question” is how many people want to watch TV on their phones. [I don't believe in this -nicolas] (...) “The question is, how well will they use these things? People’s needs are different so we need to think about what is the device that is going to enable them to watch or utilise whatever device they need,” Mr Yun adds. [ah finally! this is the crux issue -nicolas] (...) “At any point you have to get realistic and check that what you’re doing makes sense.” [nice quote! -nicolas]

Why do I blog this? cell phones nicely exemplify how innovation is a tough issue. It's interesting (with regard to my work) how companies innovate and at what point they integrate the user-experience issue.