As Marv Albert used to say, YESSSSS!! I was delighted to see this article by S. E. Kramer at Sci Fi Tech. It addresses a longtime pet peeve of mine—no, worse than a pet peeve, a veritable sore spot—and it's one of the few articles I've read that addresses the issue directly. Briefly, the idea is that manufacturers of small personal electronic devices have adopted the strategy of flooding their categories with multiple models, which is a supermarket strategy, meant to crowd competitors off of limited shelf space, when what they should be doing is focusing brand awareness by limiting choice.
I've written about this before, though not specifically where cameras are concerned. But S. E. Kramer's article comes along at an appropriate point for me. Only a few weekends ago, I helped my non-photographer cousin Linda buy a digital camera. We went to a local store that had banks of long rows of nearly identical digicams, which naturally seems totally off-putting to any rational consumer—the job of making a choice prior to purchase is almost as bad as the job of learning all the proliferating and confusing features after purchase. My function was to narrow Linda's choices down to three, at which point she lasered in on her favorite immediately. My further function was to reassure her that she had chosen a good one. Sale. Elapsed time: no more than 15 minutes. Happy retailer, happy customer.
Read at least the last two headers in the Sci-Fi Tech article—from "Phones Are Just the Beginning" on. This is a really important idea that some big name in the camera industry is someday going to find the cojones to try. Choice is good; too much choice is bad.
Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, thanks to Eolake
ADDENDUM: For more on this, see Barry Schwarz, "The Tyranny of Choice," Scientific American Mind, December 2004. (Thanks to Seungmin).
ADDENDUM: Not that it really matters, but Linda bought this.