/ Technology

Early adopters pay high price for new technology

A computer chip eye

Apparently Brits are early adopters of communications technologies, like smartphones. But, for me, I think that this means many of us are paying a high price for such faith in new devices.

Can’t wait to get your hands on the latest tech? Then you’re not alone. We Brits are among the earliest to jump onto new technology bandwagons, according to Ofcom’s research.

The UK has been quick to embrace both fixed and mobile broadband, digital TV and smartphones.

iPhone 4 bit back at early adopters

While it’s great to see Britain embracing emerging technologies, personally, I’d rather wait. All too often early adopters pay too high a price.

Take the iPhone 4, for example. Everyone rushed out to buy the latest Apple smartphone, only for the device to be beset with problems. First with its proximity sensor, which meant people were clicking buttons without meaning to. And secondly, the phone seemed to lose reception when people held it a certain way.

Apple’s quick fix for the latter was to offer disgruntled customers a free iPhone 4 case – a nice gesture, but cold comfort for those who spent hundreds on the latest must-have gadget.

Jumping on digital TV too early

There are other examples, too. People who bought early Freeview, and other digital set-top-boxes, have already had to upgrade to a newer model – including myself.

Following the latest service upgrade, all three Freeview boxes in our house, which had previously had near perfect reception, stopped working and several channels disappeared overnight. The helpline said we’d have to buy a new box.

Speaking of TV, those who simply can’t wait to get their hands on the latest 3D TVs may well be disappointed. They’re paying a premium price for a product that’s not selling in huge numbers yet and the models we’ve seen so far haven’t exactly wowed our testers in terms of their 3D quality. If you wait, you’ll spend less and get better quality results.

Similarly, if you couldn’t wait to buy an Apple iPad, it’s likely you’ve had to pay over the odds for a new class of device that Apple has had carte blanche on. But now we’re seeing Tablet PCs from multiple manufacturers and it’ll only take one killer product to force Apple’s prices down.

So while technology excites me, I’ll never rush to buy the latest gadgets until early wrinkles are ironed out and prices begin to fall.

Read Andy Vandervell’s opposing argument in ‘Early technology adopters get ahead in life‘.

pickle says:
4 December 2010

That’s quite true – buying technology is like buying cars – buy too soon and you find teething problems.
Buy later and the product will have been improved considerably.

Hicks says:
4 December 2010

….if everyone waited, who would find and report the bugs & teething problems?

Tom Rendell says:
5 December 2010

I am personally in the ‘2nd wave’ adopters group, but fully appreciate those in the ‘early adopters’ group for their enthusiasm and push for new technology

tenire says:
7 December 2010

I bought a Dell Studio and tried to use it for video display, by feeding a Benq projector through the HDMI output. Big mistake; there was absolutely no help from Dell when I tried for assistance. Only by long and tedious research did I realise that the HDMI interface is not suitable for general home TV and film display. I can now get it to work but it’s unforgivably klunky.

Peter Arnold says:
7 December 2010

Like Tom Rendell, I am usually in the ‘second wave’ for new technology. However, I keep reading about wages and material costs rising in China, and have difficulty relating this to the ever lower prices for technology, especially when waiting for that second wave. Is it that production costs continue to lower, despite the weak pound and rising Chinese wages, or is it that profit margins are initially high enough to cut prices so dramatically? Incidentally, I was not at all impressed by the 3D TV demo (on Panasonic) that I saw in PC World. The figures looked like cardboard cut-outs moving against a slightly better perspective of background – not unlike the old ‘stereoscopes’, for those that remember that old toy. On the other hand, the 60″ LG HDTV was very impressive, not to mention tempting; trouble is, I’d have to move to a bigger house.

I’ve been a particularly early adopter of digital cameras and whilst I’ve not been disappointed in the performance at the time I’ve purchased, I realise that I’ve paid out a fortune for out of date technology!
Now would be a great time to make a purchase of a conventional digital SLR or Compact……..but……the next (no pun intended) generation of cameras from Sony, Samsung, Panasonic etc. will cause me to once more plunge in early and pay the price!
Will I never learn.

Interestingly regarding 3D TV, on Radio 4 this morning it was pointed out by a medical person that a large proportion of our population do not have, or have impaired, stereo vision and don’t necessarily know it. The resuly will be a poor experience when viewing 3D TV.