the shelf life of a gadget…

September 11, 2008 at 6:57 am Leave a comment

My lust for the new iPod Touch (see previous post) and my absolute desire to purchase one got me thinking about how short a shelf life the modern gadget has. 10 years ago, we didn’t buy that many gadgets… gadgets are in my opinion small electronic devices which are portable. Well, 10 years ago we weren’t as advanced technologically (obviously) and thus didn’t have so many portable devices. So, maybe we’d get a radio, a stereo, a CD player… but, in general we’d purchase wise, purchase well and retain the product for a good few years.

The TV is interesting, black and white… then colour, then finally widescreen and that took a long time to become big. After widescreen came about, that was pretty much it for quite a while. Eventually people upgraded to LCD or Plasma and now, even that market has realised how easy it is to make people upgrade. If you purchased an LCD TV last year, the chances are that there is a product with a better display, better contrast ratio and better add ons (i.e. SD picture viewer built in, games engine built in…) in the market.

In my opinion, it was the mobile phone that changed things for us. We purchase a cool new phone, use it for a year or two and then upgrade it. We’ve come to accept the high monthly tariff in return for getting a free or discounted phone every couple of years. This behaviour has made us desire to satisfy our cravings for wanting, as opposed to waiting until we need a product. I’m not sure about you but, I’ve had at least 3 MP3 players so far. Now I want another one. It’s not because I have a need to listen to music everywhere I go, it’s not because my desired iPod touch has more space than my existing one (it has less), it does have a bigger screen, it is thinner but, that’s not why I want it.. I want it because I think it’s gorgeous, I like the WiFI element built in, I like the user interface and the fact that I can add apps to customise it. It IS what a gadget should be.

So, what happens to all the old gadgets. Well, personally I don’t generally eBay them, the reason being that they have depreciated so heavily that I won’t get anything near their worth back. I won’t take it back to the store for WEEE recycling as that makes less sense than eBaying them. If I replaced my frige, yes, of course I’d do that but.. for a gadget.. no. I don’t throw them in the bin and if I was to dispose, it’d be via the council dump… but, in general, they sit in a draw, unloved and unwanted….. until, one day, many years from now I, or my kids will find them, power them up and think, (in my case.. Awesome.. I remember this…), or in their case…this sucks, the screen is too small, it doesn’t play this new media type, there’s no hologramatic controls….

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Entry filed under: GADGETS, Television, TV. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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