Doug Mohney over at The Inquirer has written up a lively column talking about his quest for a new laptop, but that quest seems continually on hold as he waits for new technologies. The same could be said of PDAs - something better is always around the corner. If you're always waiting for the "next big thing", you'll never
get new hardware or software. At the point when your current hardware can no longer do what you need, you buy something new that does - it's that simple. Getting caught up in the never-ending waiting game for "what's next" is a losing proposition. Improvements are always happening, but they're not always as dramatic as we'd like to hope for.
Still, when I look at my new laptop
and compare it to my old one (a Lifebook E Series), I can see definite improvements: 10+ hours of battery life vs. five hours (both had dual batteries), CD-R vs. no CD-R, 1280 x 768 vs. 1024 x 768 resolution, 900 Mhz Pentium 4-M CPU with a 1 MB cache vs. a 750 Mhz Pentium III, integrated 802.11g vs. no wireless, Firewire vs. no Firewire, USB 2.0 vs. USB 1.1...and the list goes on. Laptop technology has improved a great deal in the past two years, and it seems a bit sensationalistic to claim otherwise. Here's a blurb from Doug's article:
"Some year I'm going to buy a replacement for my laptop, but there's no real incentive for me to run out and get a new one tomorrow. Average pricing and weight of units continues to drop with the only drawback being power consumption. Further, there's no "Great leap" out there like we had back in the days of the x86 to Pentium races. Depending on the shill-of-the-month, there are a lot of new goodies in the R&D pipelines that would make today's laptop much better. Methanol fuel cells seem to be at the top of the list of near-term goodies, but they won't be out in quantity until the end of '04 and it should be interesting to see if there will be plug-and-play units to replace existing batteries. Hopefully airline safety won't freak out about methanol fuel cartridges that are likely twice as flammable as the miniatures on the drink cart. I don't know if this will be the death knell for batteries, but I suspect enviros will make a case that a methanol fuel cell is "greener" than a Lithium or NiCad."
How do you decide when to buy new technology? What drives your decision to purchase a new Pocket PC, laptop, or mobile phone?