How many times have you purchased a device or piece of technology – a computer, a cellular phone, a digital camera – only to discover that a new or updated version of that product will soon be released by the manufacturer? You only need to remember what personal computers looked like ten years ago to recognize the pace at which the tide of technology moves forward. Laptops and other kinds of hardware keep getting smaller and more convenient, while processors keep getting faster, and software keeps getting more efficient. The idea of ‘planned obsolescence’ is commonly accepted; in order to stay viable in a profit-driven market, companies design their own products to be modified or replaced. 

The effect on the consumer can be frustrating, even paralyzing. How do you know whether that laptop or smartphone you want to buy won’t be out-of-date within the next year? For consumers who are only minimally involved with technology, such a question might not be pressing. But as technology devices become more and more present in the work life of the ordinary citizen, the question becomes more relevant. 

It is important to decide what kind of device is necessary for you, what device is best suited to your needs. Try not to make the decision about what product to purchase based on fashions or trends. Remember that technology devices best serve us when we recognize them as objects of practicality; as items meant to help us more efficiently achieve our business-related objectives. What it looks like, and how popular it is, are not necessarily good indicators of a product’s usefulness to you. It is true that a device that happens to be fashionable might serve you best, but it is also true that, depending on your needs, a device that is less popular might be more useful to you. Don’t rush to buy a device simply because your colleagues own it. You might end up buying something that is almost obsolete. 

Do a little research before ordering your new technology device. Don’t be afraid to purchase a product simply because you have a hunch that one day it will be out-of-date. This is inevitable. But you will save yourself time and money in the end if you do some research in the beginning. Find out whether a new device in your area of interest has just been released, or whether one has been on the market for a while. Compare this device with similar devices marketed by competitors. Make a list of priorities, so that you know what you are looking for in your device, and make your decision based on that. The market for technology devices will always be changing, but don’t let that stop you from participating in it. If you think practically, you will make wise consumer decisions. 

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