The functionality vs. usability case is not new. The more you dig, the more you understand, that situation in this field is quite interesting. For example, people often overestimate a need for certain features when they purchase a product. For example, most ipod video owners don’t use one for viewing movies. Or, as Nokia research shows, people prefer to buy cell phones with a built-in MP3 player, but never actually use them for listening to the music.
People still prefer to make their choices based on a list of features i.e. the more features, the better the product looks for them. However, after using a feature-rich product for a while them might feel a need for the one with less features.
Why so? As I have already mentioned, the need for a certain feature is often overestimated. Another point is that the more features the product has, the more difficult it is to operate it. Surealy, that’s mostly a problem unsolved by interface designers and industrial designers, but we see this daily: Chinese mp3 players with a zillion of features, Cell phones capable of doing whatever you want (at least, in theory) and so on. Now recall, what percent of your Cell phone’s features do you use daily? And what about a DVD player or microwave oven (does your monther know what all the fancy features are for?)
Less is more and I doubt this motto would turn outdated in the near future…