This article discusses some risks of rushing to buy the next great electronic gizmo. In addition to the high financial cost of purchasing technology right away, early adopters risk purchasing a product that does not last in the marketplace. This article also gives some examples of problems early adopters have faced in the past.
Most people love getting the newest gadgets as soon as possible. Fans of the iPhone line up outside the store for days in advance of the newest release and gamers pay a premium on eBay to get the latest new system. Most early adopters know that they already pay a cost for the pleasure of being one of the first to have a new gadget; prices of electronics and gadgets often start high and decrease over time. However, there are other significant costs to being an early adopter that people often fail to consider.
1. You might back the wrong horse
When developers first introduce new technology, there are frequently competing systems or products. When VHS came out, so did Betamax; when Blu-Ray came out, so did HD DVD; and when the cassette came out, so did the 8-track. In each of the above examples, one of the technologies eventually won out over the others, leaving backers of the losing technology without continuing product support. It’s frequently hard to tell which type of technology will stay, and early adopters risk investing in a technology that will not last.
2. You might like the products on one system better
Even when two rival technologies coexist in the marketplace, you won’t know which option has more of the products you want. Some examples of technologies that coexist with competing technologies are PlayStation and Xbox, Android and iPhone, Mac and PC, and Kindle and Nook. Products like books, apps, and games purchased on one system usually can’t transfer to the competing system. By purchasing one option early, you risk finding out that your favorite game is only available on the competing platform, or that a computer program you really need is not available on your system. By waiting until the technology is more established, you will have a better sense of what products will be available on each system.
3. You might buy an inferior product
By purchasing a product on the first day, you risk buying a product that may continue to have problems. In a famous example, early adopters of the iPhone 4 found that the product had significant technical issues that caused it to lose a cellular signal when held in a specific way. The company did stand by their product and issue free cases designed to ameliorate the problem. However, the company took time to fix the problem, or even admit that there was a problem in the first place. Patient customers who waited until the updated, and fixed, version of the phone was released were able to get the same product without the bugs.
The temptation to get the next great thing as soon as possible is a strong temptation. By rushing to purchase a product before the market settles, you risk paying a premium for a product that may not last in the marketplace. So before you line up for days just to get the newest gadget, consider waiting a few months. The product may be cheaper, and you may figure out there is a better option that meets your needs.