It continues to be true that “software is eating the world”. And most of time, the existence of hardware is to preserve the power of software.
Fitbit is the minimum amount of hardware needed in order to bridge the physical world into the software’s. You might be paying a hundred bucks for the Fitbit wristband from the merchants, and the software coming with it seems free. But think about it – would you pay $100 for wristband without a dashboard, or would you rather pay $100 for a dashboard (with all the same fitness data of your own) without wearing a wristband? You may be hesitant to pay a mobile App that costs that much – consumers today are indulgent in the world of free softwares. But a wristband without a dashboard is useless for sure.
So one strategy is to make hardwares as minimal and invisible as possible, in order to preserve the power of software.
Well there’s one exception – hardwares as status signifiers. These will be all luxuries like shoes, bags, and jewelries, as well as gadgets that signifies status or styles – iPhone, Beats Headsets, and more.
P.S. I wrote this to mourn two of my favorite hardware companies: Anki and Jibo, which created unprecedented innovations yet failed.