If you’ve been looking to finally upgrade your old cellphone, or get into the tablet market, be ready to wade through an almost endless field of choices and options available to electronics consumers today.
To be honest, there are almost too many hand-held gizmos out there now.
Do you want a smartphone, eReader or tablet?
Do you want it to run Apple’s iOS, the Android operating system, or Windows?
What kind of data plan will you need? WiFi or 4G?
Will that be smoking or non-smoking?
Would you like fries with that?
It’s enough to drive even the most diehard tech junkie crazy (but admittedly it is a short drive), and the tech companies just keep throwing more stuff on the market to confuse, confound and cause buyer remorse.
Did you just buy a new iPhone 5 or the latest iPad in the past couple months?
Well, don’t you feel like a sucker now that Apple is coming out with an iPad mini? Although, I totally thought an iPod just was a mini iPad anyway (so is an iPhone, for that matter), so now I guess you have all sorts of sizes of basically the same gizmo from which to choose.
One can only imagine the well-paid, creative minds at Apple busily coming up with the next, next “big” thing — the iPad Tiny, or perhaps the iPad Microscopic.
More realistically, though, the next Apple product will likely be the iPad Mini 2 –—launched about a nanosecond after everyone has finished buying the first-generation version.
But Apple can pretty much do what it wants, since it has the home-field advantage in the industry — gained by offering the best smartphone experience of its kind in 2007 with the first iPhone.
All the other companies have been playing an almost unnoticed game of catch-up ever since.
But things are starting to get interesting — and a tad overcrowded — just in time for the Christmas buying season.
Google is jumping on the “any size you like” bandwagon, and recently announced the launch of two new Android devices — the Nexus 4 handset (which can also be used as a game controller when wirelessly connected to a TV) and the Nexus 10 tablet, joining the Nexus 7 smartphone.
I’m guessing the names Nexus 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9 were lacking that certain pizzazz, or something.
Microsoft has also just formally launched its Windows Phone 8 (WP8) operating system in the hopes of grabbing a bigger slice of the smartphone pie.
Apparently the system’s Internet browser, Internet Explorer 10, is the fastest mobile browser around, and WP8 makes better use of graphics processing for better video and gaming experiences. HTC, Nokia and Samsung are all supposed to be getting ready to sell new, flagship devices using this new Windows software.
As a consumer, it’s better to wait and avoid being an early adopter these days, until these new devices and software have been properly tested in the real world (an example is Apple’s new mobile mapping feature that was bugged, causing frustration from fans, and Apple execs to lose jobs). Also, consider whether you use a PC or Apple computer at home or office, and how a new device will interact with it. What about applications (apps)? Do you use them, and does the new device have access to a sufficient number of programs?
Research and a bit of patience before making that big choice can pay off big, both in terms of satisfaction with your purchase, and how long before you’ll need a replacement.
By then, tech trends will probably have reversed and we’ll all be toting around iPad Gargantuans on little wheels, or something.