I have spent the last two days showing the Fonera 2.0n to key opinion makers in the Valley and with a few exceptions I found a clear generational divide. To people over 40, my contemporaries, the key feature of the new Fonera, namely its ability to upload and download is mostly uninteresting. Older people seem to send and receive few large files from the Internet. People in their 20s however want one. They spend an incredible amount of time uploading to YouTube, Facebook, and to some extent Flickr and Picasa. More important they spend and even greater amount of time downloading from Bit Torrent sites, Megaupload, Rapidshare and they know what it is to wait and wait for content to download. For older people the only feature that they find interesting is converting 3G to WiFi (some spoke about using it for the kids in the van) and backing up their files. For many of them the feature that we are working on that will allow you to ask your computer to download torrents via Twitter and to be notified when they are done, was irrelevant. Because of my age, I should be on the group that finds the Fonera uninteresting. But I live in a country, Spain, in which we pay a tax on hard drives and digital memories of all kinds and then we are allowed to download whatever we want for personal use. Moreover I also download paid and free content. And as you can see in this blog, especially in the Spanish version, I also upload. There are tons of videos that I send to YouTube. As I switch to HD, at 100MB per minute of video content trying to reach Youtube, the waiting during uploading is exasperating. Instead with the Fonera 2.0n I send the video over WiFi to the Fonera 2.0n and go to work, in a few hours it is in Youtube.
So just like I had the idea for while Fon searching for WiFi in Paris in late ’05, I got the idea for the Fonera 2.0n a year later while trying to free up my laptop from doing tedious tasks that required me to wait at home such as uploading and downloading. In general I would say that I design products that I like to use. And thanks to the amazing team of developers we have at Fon, they happen. But from what I have seen my products are unfortunately not for my generation. Still so long as there are people who are willing to buy them why should I care if they are not in their 40s?
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars