Friday, September 7, 2012

More For Your Money

Everybody knows that technology becomes outdated and even obsolete at an alarming rate. The newest laptop or gadget can set you back a pretty penny, but in the blink of an eye you're told that it's not capable of performing the tasks that you require. Today I want to look at how to stretch your dollars in regards to your technology budget.

The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to make purchases near large release dates. There are two approaches to take, and which you go for depends on whether you need the latest and greatest or are looking for an upgrade without breaking the bank. You can take the early adapter route and buy new technology the moment that it becomes available. This way, you maximize on the time you have to work with your new device before it becomes yesterday's news. The flip-side to that coin is the option to purchase last year's model at extremely discounted prices. Using this method you get a device that is still very capable, though not cutting edge, at a price that allows you to upgrade more often.

Technology companies tend to clump their release dates together so that competing companies have competing devices coming out almost simultaneously. This is due to the companies trying to one up each other. When one company announces a news release for a new product there is a race for all the other companies to get their product to market faster. We are in the middle of one of these races right now. On September 5th, Microsoft & Nokia held a press conference to announce the new Nokia Cell Phones that will be running the Windows Phone 8 operating system. The same day, Motorola and Google announce a new line of cell phones running a new iteration of the Android operating system. On September 6th Amazon held a press conference announcing a new line of Kindle ereaders and tablets. Apple has a press conference scheduled for September 12th where they are expected to announce the new iPhones and iPods as well as updating their line of desktop and laptop computers. This is all coming to a head right before Microsoft releases the Windows 8 operating system for tablets and computers on October 26th.

What do all of these announcements mean to you? For starters it means that if you're interested in purchasing a new computer or gadget immediately you can get a great deal on what is considered the best on the market today. In anticipation of their new products Apple has already marked down their current products, discounting their current line of laptops up to $200 off of their price from just a month ago. Amazon has marked down their current Kindle line, although they have unfortunately already sold out of their current generation Kindle Fires. On the smart phone front, waiting until the Apple announcement to make a purchase should allow you to save significantly as carriers look to unload their current stock before the newest phones hit the shelves.

The release of the Windows 8 operating system should provide many deals on the home computer front. Windows 8 will take advantage of a new way to boot a computer. In the past BIOS was the preferred method of getting a computer to turn on and load an operating system. Windows 8 will be incompatible with BIOS and will instead rely on UEFI. What this means to consumers is that the vast majority of computers in use today will not be upgradeable to Windows 8. As the release date approaches we should see a similar markdown in computer prices as retailers look to clear out stock on items that aren't compatible with the newest operating system. If you don't mind using Windows 7 for the foreseeable future you can leverage this into huge savings. Keep in mind that as of this writing Windows 7 is the latest and greatest that is available. If you absolutely need a computer that will run Windows 8 purchasing one in November should allow you to select a computer whose hardware will give out before it's software becomes obsolete. Either way, the ideal time to buy is quickly approaching.

Technology is always going to be a money loser in the long run. The computer that costs you $1000 today will be a paperweight in a matter of years. There is no avoiding this. However, with a little bit of timing you can insure that your investment will last longer and have a higher return than the average. Hopefully I've given you some tools today to help make sure that that happens.

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