Some consumers may be suffering from "Gadget Fatigue"

Do you sometimes feel like there's a new smartphone or PC or tablet device that is rushed out to the marketplace before it is time for that product to ship to stores? If so, you are not alone. Forbes.com reports that in a new study from Underwriters Laboratories, nearly half of the people who were surveyed feel that new tech gadgets and products are released faster than the need for people to actually go out and buy them.

The biggest example that the story uses was all of the tablets that were launched in the wake of Apple's release of the first iPad in 2010. Tablets like the TouchPad from HP and the Playbook from Research in Motion failed because both were seen by consumers as expensive. The tablets were also seen as not being as well designed as the iPad. The Kindle Fire tablet, launched with a price point that is less than half that of the least expensive iPad, has broken at least one of the two issues that earlier tablets had in competing with the iPad and as a result seems to be selling very well.

Some consumers in the study also claim that new products are rushed to market too quickly and as a result they have experienced software and hardware bugs that have to be fixed later.

While there are certainly those tech buying consumers who will always want to buy the newest product, the study shows that others may be suffering from "gadget fatigue" and simply want a device that works and is affordable.

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There are a lot of useless products everywhere.
Why do we need 10000 variations of lipstick, detergents, etc.

That's not even electronics.
Try keeping up with the fashion industry. They have huge shows of what we would call 'concept art' and only a few design ideas trickle down into consumer lines.

If you want to be an informed consumer, using your finite dollars wisely, than yes there is a lot to learn, and many will feel overwhelmed.

That's why so many people buy what their friends and family buy.

This is why I buy Windows Phone. After looking at how difficult everything else is to use, I wanted something that was simple and just worked.

Meh. Apple comes out with new stuff once a year, so it's not like they are flooding the market with junk. Whatever I buy, it "just works", and it's the "latest and greatest" for at least a full year. I get AppleCare, so I have a 2 or 3-year warranty. Even after a year, it's still good (look at how well the 2009 iPhone is STILL selling). I don't need to buy another even after the year is up, as my warranty is still good for a while.
Is it REALLY a big deal to update a phone, tablet, or laptop every 2-3 years? If you cannot afford that, then don't upgrade. Keep using the phone, tablet, or laptop for 3, 4, 5 years or more. You don't have to upgrade if what you have *still works*.

Why would I care if a bunch of other companies are churning out Apple wanna-be stuff month after month? How many tablets has Samsung (alone) released? How many smartphones have they released? I'd go broke trying to keep up with all the latest "non Apple" stuff.

I don't see what the problem is. If you cannot control yourself, you are the problem, not the manufacturers.

Xenomorph said,
Meh. Apple comes out with new stuff once a year, so it's not like they are flooding the market with junk. Whatever I buy, it "just works", and it's the "latest and greatest" for at least a full year. I get AppleCare, so I have a 2 or 3-year warranty. Even after a year, it's still good (look at how well the 2009 iPhone is STILL selling). I don't need to buy another even after the year is up, as my warranty is still good for a while.
Is it REALLY a big deal to update a phone, tablet, or laptop every 2-3 years? If you cannot afford that, then don't upgrade. Keep using the phone, tablet, or laptop for 3, 4, 5 years or more. You don't have to upgrade if what you have *still works*.

Why would I care if a bunch of other companies are churning out Apple wanna-be stuff month after month? How many tablets has Samsung (alone) released? How many smartphones have they released? I'd go broke trying to keep up with all the latest "non Apple" stuff.

I don't see what the problem is. If you cannot control yourself, you are the problem, not the manufacturers.

Ok so you're saying you don't need to buy a new tablet as long as the one you have works, which makes sense. But then you say you'd go broke trying to keep up with all the latest non Apple stuff. I can't speak for Android tablets, but a Windows laptop or tablet doesn't magically stop working when a new model is released.

I certainly feel this way about Tablets and mobile phones.

There's a lot of needless models that are developed and released. I don't think that iPhone was ever really up to date until the 3GS was released - so what was the point in version 2 and 3? What was the point in version 4 when the 4S is far superior? Wouldn't they have been even more successful if they skipped out the pointless middle model?

Tablets are a pointless niche to me - there are only two decent models out of the hundreds out there and even they have drawbacks that make their asking price unreasonable.

Why did Apple make the iPad with the obvious drawbacks and then release the iPad 2 shortly after when it has nothing in it that they couldn't have made to start with?

The alternative is to ignore all that ****.

I don't have a tablet, I don't need a tablet, and I certainly don't feel like my life's been negatively impacted.

Most people don't know anything about this stuff. Guys that hang out here do. I work with regular folks all day long. So I kind of love it when I see a computer that "I" setup as opposed to a computer that they bought from Best Buy or where ever. The computer that I setup has just the icons on it that I left on the screen for them. The ones they use. Email and Internet and Word Processing. Maybe Quicken or Quickbooks.

If I have to come back to fix anything which is rare, for the most part, they have kept out of trouble. But when I see consumer that has had to navigate through the miles of garbage that comes pre-installed on new pc's they almost always get in to trouble and start complaining about "Windows".

Apple doesn't load any garbage on their computers (other than Mac OS, couldn't resist that). And neither should PC makers. But the PC makers still don't get it. They are MORONS. I can't wait for the Microsoft stores because they emulate Apple in ONE way that I admire. They don't load garbage on the computer, and it works right out of the box, right away. Unfortunately they don't have as much choice, and the prices should be MUCH lower than they are.

It makes me laugh in here as well, because guys like US should be the first ones to understand why the consumer is confused. We shouldn't be the ones to say "well if you simply reinstallled Windows on top of the version that came with your computer, then all your problems could be easily avoided." Are you kidding me? I actually saw a video on "The Verge" the other day that recommended that as an option.

You can't get in to trouble on an IPAD. And you can't get in to trouble on WinPho for that matter. Funny how Microsoft is finally able to see all this and are coming in slowly from the rear. At least they are arriving, where as the PC makers and Gadget makers not only don't get it, but are totally F-ing Morons that don't even have a clue as to what confuses consumers. The sad thing is that it is so easy to see.

jimmyfal said,
Most people don't know anything about this stuff. Guys that hang out here do. I work with regular folks all day long. So I kind of love it when I see a computer that "I" setup as opposed to a computer that they bought from Best Buy or where ever. The computer that I setup has just the icons on it that I left on the screen for them. The ones they use. Email and Internet and Word Processing. Maybe Quicken or Quickbooks.

If I have to come back to fix anything which is rare, for the most part, they have kept out of trouble. But when I see consumer that has had to navigate through the miles of garbage that comes pre-installed on new pc's they almost always get in to trouble and start complaining about "Windows".

Apple doesn't load any garbage on their computers (other than Mac OS, couldn't resist that). And neither should PC makers. But the PC makers still don't get it. They are MORONS. I can't wait for the Microsoft stores because they emulate Apple in ONE way that I admire. They don't load garbage on the computer, and it works right out of the box, right away. Unfortunately they don't have as much choice, and the prices should be MUCH lower than they are.

It makes me laugh in here as well, because guys like US should be the first ones to understand why the consumer is confused. We shouldn't be the ones to say "well if you simply reinstallled Windows on top of the version that came with your computer, then all your problems could be easily avoided." Are you kidding me? I actually saw a video on "The Verge" the other day that recommended that as an option.

You can't get in to trouble on an IPAD. And you can't get in to trouble on WinPho for that matter. Funny how Microsoft is finally able to see all this and are coming in slowly from the rear. At least they are arriving, where as the PC makers and Gadget makers not only don't get it, but are totally F-ing Morons that don't even have a clue as to what confuses consumers. The sad thing is that it is so easy to see.

In all due respects, the reason why there is crapware installed is because it makes up for the razor thin margins that exist - the problem is we have cheapskates who want a $500 laptop and some how they think that the low cost comes about through 'magic' or the vendor wishing to be charitable to consumers. End of the day, everything is going to cost you something somewhere along the lines be it upfront price or later down the track having to deal with a useless tech support, non-existent difficult to utilise warranty or spending hours removing crapware. Until end users are willing to pay an average of $800 for a low end laptop with zero crapware the OEM's will continue loading crapware into their computer for the foreseeable future.

"nearly half of the people who were surveyed feel that new tech gadgets and products are released faster than the need for people to actually go out and buy them."
---
I'm definitely among this group of people.

Another thing worth considering (and I'm using one particular product as an example)... both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have made e-book readers available at a lower price point, but with a catch: They are WiFi only. So, the $50 you end up saving ends up in the purchase of a WiFi gateway, which is a slight challenge to set up. Some non-tech people will take the simple way out, and set up the gateway that is wide-open with no security whatsoever (or worse, WEP security).

My problem is slightly worse: My WiFi gateway is set up with WPA2 security with a 63-character password that involves mixed case, numbers, and special characters. While it effectively tells any WiFi freeloaders to go hack someone else, I'm in for about 5 minutes of manipulating the keyboard to enter the password in to my WiFi device... per attempt.

djdanster said,
I just want a bloody device that won't be out of date in 2 months

I suggest you get a Windows 7 tablet, then.

Guess what, "consumers" (when did we stop being "people"?) - nobody's forcing you to keep up with the latest & greatest devices and gadgets.

If you're really finding it to be so troubling, maybe you need to stop and reconsider where your values & priorities lie.

The majority of the public is still of the mindset that you plug it in, and it just worked. (Think the VCR). In comparison, since the majority of the gadgets are small computers that can have it's firmware upgraded. Manufacturers rush the product out the door in order to meet a marketing deadline, with the motto "We'll fix it in a firmware upgrade". Does anyone care how many times a big major-name game was released, and on the day of the release, a big patch has to be downloaded? It get sloppier when a manufacturer includes Internet connectivity in the device (Blu Ray player anyone?), and forgetting that people may not have (or want) an Internet connection at that particular location for the device to get an upgrade.

Z'Loth said,
The majority of the public is still of the mindset that you plug it in, and it just worked. (Think the VCR). In comparison, since the majority of the gadgets are small computers that can have it's firmware upgraded. Manufacturers rush the product out the door in order to meet a marketing deadline, with the motto "We'll fix it in a firmware upgrade". Does anyone care how many times a big major-name game was released, and on the day of the release, a big patch has to be downloaded? It get sloppier when a manufacturer includes Internet connectivity in the device (Blu Ray player anyone?), and forgetting that people may not have (or want) an Internet connection at that particular location for the device to get an upgrade.

Assuming Neowin is filled with people who know something about computers the reality is that even here we have people who whine about their computer but it never occurs to them to upgrade their firmware. Ignorance is everywhere and but there is little you and I can do about it other than to ignore it and move on with our lives.

if alot of these tablets were cheaper id be buying one also, but i cant justify 700$ for something my $450 laptop does better

shadodemon said,
If the iPad was cheaper I would get one.

Although i'm waiting for the iPad 3 just to see what they do with iOS6 and the new hardware. I find apple software is good every second generation ala iPhone 3g, 4, (eventually 5) and so on.

Tablets like the TouchPad from HP and the Playbook from Research in Motion failed because both were seen by consumers as expensive.

...and yet they bought the iPad, which was the same price (pre-fire sale) as the TouchPad, and more expensive than most other competing tablets?

MightyJordan said,

...and yet they bought the iPad, which was the same price (pre-fire sale) as the TouchPad, and more expensive than most other competing tablets?

When you are talking about things being cheap or expensive I think many factor in what they get for the money rather than just look at the price...
Now of course some might look at the selection of apps while some might look at who is manufacturing it or the brand, either way most people probably feel they get more for their money with an iPad than with a TouchPad and I wouldn't be one to argue with that...

I think this is one of the main things apple has going for it.. They dont have a low end section of their products.. My dad bought an HP netbook cause it was affordable for an extra computer but hates it because its so slow,.. he now thinks HP stuff is junk just because of that one bad experience with a cheap computer..

on a side note i just updated his netbook for him and it took like 2 days just because its so slow and he never does the updates.. So now he really dislikes windows 7 as well and is considering a switch to a macbook air..

And therein lies the biggest misconception with technology, the non-geeks think that all gadgets and computers work the same, regardless of how much they pay. My sister fell into the same trap with her netbook. She bought it expecting full-blown laptop performance, but only spent £250 on the device, and now dislikes how slow it is.

People need to get over this misconception that cheap tech is as fast and high quality as expensive tech. Lamborghinis cost a lot more than Fiat cars, and the performance scales accordingly, now we need to work this analogy into the mind of the general population. In the case of your Dad, of course a Macbook Air will perform better than his HP netbook, but a HP ultrabook (which I guess is the closest thing to a Macbook Air they offer) would offer comparable performance for a comparable price.

Not that I wanted to single out your Dad, I just had a point to make

Majesticmerc said,
And therein lies the biggest misconception with technology, the non-geeks think that all gadgets and computers work the same, regardless of how much they pay. My sister fell into the same trap with her netbook. She bought it expecting full-blown laptop performance, but only spent £250 on the device, and now dislikes how slow it is.

People need to get over this misconception that cheap tech is as fast and high quality as expensive tech. Lamborghinis cost a lot more than Fiat cars, and the performance scales accordingly, now we need to work this analogy into the mind of the general population. In the case of your Dad, of course a Macbook Air will perform better than his HP netbook, but a HP ultrabook (which I guess is the closest thing to a Macbook Air they offer) would offer comparable performance for a comparable price.

Not that I wanted to single out your Dad, I just had a point to make


you totally agree with you but you cannot change how people think.. He is a doctor that has absolutely no time to research gadgets so he buys things that work.. I think companies like hp and Acer need to stop putting the same branding on their crappier products. Hp should have used Compaq for all their netbooks and Acer with emachines.

Majesticmerc said,
And therein lies the biggest misconception with technology, the non-geeks think that all gadgets and computers work the same, regardless of how much they pay. My sister fell into the same trap with her netbook. She bought it expecting full-blown laptop performance, but only spent £250 on the device, and now dislikes how slow it is.

People need to get over this misconception that cheap tech is as fast and high quality as expensive tech. Lamborghinis cost a lot more than Fiat cars, and the performance scales accordingly, now we need to work this analogy into the mind of the general population. In the case of your Dad, of course a Macbook Air will perform better than his HP netbook, but a HP ultrabook (which I guess is the closest thing to a Macbook Air they offer) would offer comparable performance for a comparable price.

Not that I wanted to single out your Dad, I just had a point to make


"And therein lies the biggest misconception with technology, the non-geeks think that all gadgets and computers work the same, regardless of how much they pay"

Where the problem lies is that everyone even "thinks" they need all the crap that comes out! If people would just quit playing "keep up with the Jones' " there wouldn't be a need for this article even!

cork1958 said,


"And therein lies the biggest misconception with technology, the non-geeks think that all gadgets and computers work the same, regardless of how much they pay"

Where the problem lies is that everyone even "thinks" they need all the crap that comes out! If people would just quit playing "keep up with the Jones' " there wouldn't be a need for this article even!

And therein lies another problem. Once you start saying "If people would just...", you're fighting a losing battle. It's the mantra of so many people frustrated with other people who behave in a way we can't change, and thus, changing them is not a responsible goal.

Whenever any of us feels the 'problem' is that "people are just too...", we need to step back, examine what's really bothering us, remove the 'people' from the 'problem', and then we'll start getting somewhere.

Joshie said,

And therein lies another problem. Once you start saying "If people would just...", you're fighting a losing battle. It's the mantra of so many people frustrated with other people who behave in a way we can't change, and thus, changing them is not a responsible goal.

Whenever any of us feels the 'problem' is that "people are just too...", we need to step back, examine what's really bothering us, remove the 'people' from the 'problem', and then we'll start getting somewhere.

Wow! Hats off for this post. Really mature and well thought.

Lachlan said,
I think this is one of the main things apple has going for it.. They dont have a low end section of their products.. My dad bought an HP netbook cause it was affordable for an extra computer but hates it because its so slow,.. he now thinks HP stuff is junk just because of that one bad experience with a cheap computer..

on a side note i just updated his netbook for him and it took like 2 days just because its so slow and he never does the updates.. So now he really dislikes windows 7 as well and is considering a switch to a macbook air..

Same with a college buddy fairly recently. Bought a MacBook Pro after getting tired of his junky HP laptop. Ugh.

Mouettus said,

Wow! Hats off for this post. Really mature and well thought.


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