Several PC makers reported stronger than expected sales in the most recent quarter prompting many to declare the revival of the laptop or desktop over the tablet.
Actually, it was not a surge, but it was the first time in several years that pc sales had remained flat year-over-year instead of falling. Analysts attributed this to several reasons such as a new upgrade cycle since Windows stopped supporting XP in April, as well as saturation of the tablet market marked by tablet sales figures slowing and flattening.
For me, it was not a surprise. I was never on the tablet bandwagon. They are great for some things, but very impractical for doing actual work. Imagine writing your next article on Infobarrel on a tablet.
Yes I know there are attachments you can add to your iPad such as a keyboard, a tablet stand and a mouse, but that seems like we are coming full circle for no reason. You see, there is this very compact device already in existence. It comes in a rectangular shape, and you simply flip the lid and there you have a nice big screen with a built-in keyboard and mouse pad all at your fingertips. It’s called a notebook computer.
Why buy a tablet?
Well, they are great for certain tasks. I imagine Real Estate agents use them a lot to show properties to clients on the fly. They are also great when traveling on an airplane, and the smaller versions of tablets are excellent for taking to the gym.
But for most types of work that require a computer, they just do not work on an 8 hour shift basis even with all of the attachments to make them more pc-like.
However, the purpose of this article is not to convince you to buy a pc over a tablet, it is simply to underscore the idea that we are constantly being manipulated to buy or watch something.
The analysts on Wall Street have amused me several times in the last decade. You have to question to motivation of anything your hear on tv, particularly on business channels like CNBC. Four years ago leading up to the Christmas buying season, everyone was on board with 3-D tvs in the home. They were going to be big sellers because everyone was going to upgrade.
I knew that was never going to fly for several reasons. No one wants to sit at home wearing those glasses, and besides, there was and still is, a limited amount of 3-D content available.
But that did not stop the analysts and some companies from betting big on them. Best Buy in particular nearly went into bankruptcy because of this. I would love to see the sales figures from all of the 3-D tvs they had to mark down for liquidation in 2011 and 2012.
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The goal of all advertising is to make you want something you didn’t know you needed.
However, do you ever get tired of people telling you what to think or believe?
To a certain extent, this article is trying to influence you. However, I am not telling you what to think, I am simply trying to remind you to think, before becoming convinced you need the next big thing.
Despite the big push to tablets and the exaggerated death of the pc, when it came time to upgrade my 4 year old laptop in the fall of 2007, I never considered buying a tablet despite all of the hype. I knew it would never suit my needs. I needed something for work and tablets just were not practical so I chose a new 17 inch notebook.
Advertising manipulation is nothing new. The giant food companies have been doing it for decades, especially advertising to children. Advertising works and it is not going away, but as a consumer you can recognize the game and make more rational decisions.
I am a firm believer that we make our own stress in life. I see people I know running around especially if they have kids. There is almost a guilt that parents carry around now that if they don’t do this or that, or pay for this or that, they are not good parents.
Part of that stress that many people carry around is debt and that comes from the consumerism that drives our economy. I like bright and shiny new things as much as anyone, but there is a balance in life. A fat bank account is just as nice and impressive as that brand new phone they have you convinced you must upgrade every year.
Don’t let advertisers tell you what you need. Step back for a minute and ask yourself, did I have this 5 or 10 years ago? More than likely the answer will be no. Next ask yourself, “So why do I need this must have item now?” If you have valid reasons, buy it. Technology is great. Just get away from the knee-jerk reaction to buy anything knew or upgrade perfectly good devices.
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To tie this up in a nice bow, you may be asking, what computer should I buy?
I have no idea. If that is what you took from this article, you missed the entire point. Buy the one that works for your needs, not the one that people or commercials tell you that you need. That applies to all technology or the next greatest thing. The things that they tell us are obsolete now were luxuries anyone would have paid 5 times as much for a decade ago.
What is the next big “must have” item they will try to convince us to buy?
Be on the look-out for the 4K High Definition tvs they are pushing. It seems that our current HD tvs are not clear enough and now they are going to give us even more detail. Nevermind the fact that most people cannot see well enough for it to make a noticeable difference anyway. One wonders if they will start offering Lasik surgery with every hi-def tv purchase in the future.
Be skeptical when you hear about the next big thing. All of the technology that we supposedly can’t live without now, didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago and the sun came up every morning without the world ending.
Chasing technology and consumerism will only put you in debt.
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