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Good Enough vs. New Enough

Thursday's column covers the latest iteration of a portable device that debuted in its current shape back in 2003, and which hasn't seen too many changes in the last couple of years. (You can probably guess what it is, but let's preserve some suspense for now.)

There's nothing wrong with a developer forgoing upgrades if the product in question already does everything it needs to and nothing more. For example, it's safe to say that the hammer is pretty much a solved problem.

But the computing and electronics industries are too young to have reached such an apex. Whether we're talking about TVs, MP3 players, laptops or digital cameras, there's almost always something else that could be done better, some flaw that ought to be fixed or some missing feature found in competing products. And when these issues go unaddressed over multiple updates, familiarity breeds discontent.

That seems to be the case with the subject of Thursday's column, but I could say the same of most other electronic devices. Most, but not all: I can think of one gadget I own as "good enough not to tinker with further." The identity of that thing--a machine I use almost every day--appears after the jump... any guesses on what it is? Do you regard any of your own digital devices as "done" in this way?

Answer: My watch, a Citizen "Eco-Drive" model. It could not be much simpler to operate, because its display only consists of hour, minute and second hands and it includes only one control, the crown that you pull out and rotate to adjust the time. Since it runs off a solar cell hidden in its face, there's no battery to replace. And it's remarkably slim as well. The worst thing I can say about it is that the bezel has picked up some scratches over the years.

(Now I'm worried that I've just jinxed the thing by praising it so lavishly.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 15, 2007; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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