How to Buy Future-Proof Technology

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There’s nothing worse than buying the newest/coolest/hottest fad technology that everyone is dying for when it goes on sale, only to realize that the next newest/coolest/ hottest fad technology will be launched in three weeks. What a bummer! After wasting enough money on the next best thing of the past, you want to find something that’s just going to be the next best thing.

We want to let you in on a little secret. There is technology out there that will score you some cool points now – and months after you bring it home. So before you make your next store run, let’s take a look at some of the latest and greatest future-proof technology you might want to get your hands on.

The Television Set a.k.a. Old Faithful

So we’ve pretty much established that television sets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They became commercially available nearly 75 years ago and still offer what people love most: the ability to be entertained in the home.

While they have changed some over the years to accommodate modern technology (computers, gaming devices, wireless technology) and have improved basic visual quality and style, the concept has yet to change. So as long as you shy away from the newest, coolest ecto-plasma TV that self-molds into whatever you’re watching, you should be in a good position to purchase one that is somewhat future proof.

The Digital Camera: New, Yet Dependable

While digital cameras are relatively new in the camera world, they have been around for several years and seem to be getting more affordable (you could find a reasonable Vivitar digital camera in the $60 range) and efficient all the time. What’s great about them is that while they have made minor adjustments, such as allowing us to capture live video or even use it as a webcam, they still maintain the age-old idea of capturing a moment meant to last an eternity.

The digital camera’s ability to successfully improve the original camera in quality, speed and additional functions made it a staple in technology and one that is not likely in danger of drastic change in the near future. For this reason, the digital camera gets the future-proof stamp of approval.

The Computer: As Reliable as its Latest Microsoft Upgrade

While being as reliable as a Microsoft upgrade may bring frowns to some techie faces, you certainly can’t deny that computers and Microsoft have lasted the test of time and seem to evolve with each other.

Luckily, computer models and operating systems seem to stick around for several years before making major upgrades (Windows XP lasted nearly six years before Vista was released). And though software and hardware are often upgraded, they are relatively easy to obtain and can last for years. So as long as your computer was built within the last five years, it probably will have the potential to provide you with the future-proof look and performance you desire.

The Cell Phone a.k.a. Your Right-Hand Man (or Woman)

Cell phones took the place of the fad technology of the late ’80s and early ’90s: the car phone. Now, plenty of people talk on their phones in the car, but not because they have to. It’s hard to see people without cell phones affixed to their ears nowadays (unless a Bluetooth ear piece is affixed instead).

This is probably because while the styles of the phones have changed from the ultra-ugly, box-shaped contraption with the pullout antenna to the pint-sized, super-stylish devices we see today, they last for years stylishly and functionally and still serve a purpose we have yet to outgrow: talking on the telephone.

The Speaker and its Companion, Headphones

Did you know that speakers have been around since the late 1800s and headphones since the early 1900s? There’s something about converting electrical signals into sound waves via these vehicles that has indeed proven to be very reliable.

Whether we’re watching TV, listening to the radio, talking on the telephone, or doing the aforementioned through our computers, we need speakers or headphones to hear. So if you find quality brands and models with all the trimmings, they will probably last for many years and look great, providing top-notch future-proof protection.

Getting Smart about Your Purchases

It seems that the key to finding devices that could save you money because they won’t fall by the wayside within the next few months is to think in terms of what you actually need, will use and know is built to last for years, rather than buying what someone else has because it’s cool right now. New technologies are being introduced as fast as a smart guy can develop them. But will they last? It’s hard to say because some simply don’t.

For example, just imagine how much sticking to our guidelines could have saved you if you’d thought about purchasing – then decided to forgo – the following technological fads that faded as fast as they’d arrived:

  • RoboDog ($300) – Remember the ultra cool RoboDog barking alarm system that was supposed to take the world by storm as it fended off dangerous burglars preying upon your home? Okay, maybe you don’t remember. Either way, the next great fad that was supposed to be an alternative to a real dog or alarm system didn’t really catch on because it wasn’t very effective for the price.
  • NetPC ($300) – The NetPCs were pint-sized versions of computers that were supposed to perform functions like surfing the Web and checking your email at a cheaper price. The only problem was that they weren’t really cheaper and certainly weren’t better than PCs. As a result, i-Opener, 3Com Audrey and Virgin Webplayer NetPCs all found themselves obsolete in a few short years.
  • Intel Viiv ($500) – Intel Viiv was introduced in 2006 as a system with chipsets and components designed to help make it easier to store and retrieve your digital media, including movies, music and photos. However, it ended up being a major flop (it was too difficult to understand) with a hefty price tag that just wasn’t worth it (up to $500 for mainstream PCs and as much as $1,500 if the system was based on the Viiv platform).
  • Video Goggles ($500) – Another oh-so-trendy fad that just didn’t catch on was video goggles that were supposed to create a virtual reality through the lenses. The problem was, while you could find them in commercials and movies, they never caught on with the general public – partly because some carried a nauseating price tag of up to $20,000. These goggles actually still exist today and the price tag has fallen to as low as $500, but they still haven’t caught on with the public who is gaming without goggles.

If you had spent what adds up to be $1,600 just on these now-worthless technological fads, rather than saving that money in a high-yield savings account over five years, you would have missed out on a good amount of money.

For instance, if you had stored that $1,600 in a savings account with a fixed 2.50% APY that compounded daily for 5 years, you would have not only saved your money, but gained an additional $213, bringing your total savings to $1,813.

Now suppose you added $50 a month to that account over the five-year period thanks to other fad technologies you didn’t purchase. In the same time frame, your savings would have more than tripled, catapulting your account total after five years to $5,012!

It’s always fun to imagine yourself being ahead of the curve with cool fads being released constantly. But if you manage your money correctly, you could purchase great technology that will last for years while building your savings for your retirement or emergencies like those that emerged from the 2008 Financial Crisis. Which will you choose?

Take advantage of more savings tips by visiting Go Banking Rates.

This is a guest post by the folks at GoBankingRates.com. GoBankingRates.com was created to improve the way people get connected with banks. Their team wanted to make it easy for people to find the best offers and best interest rates on the internet without having to visit many different websites.

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2010/01/09 at 11:02 pm

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kenyantykoon 2010/01/06 at 6:35 am

i would like a macbook pro and a blackberry since these two gadgets have proven their reliance and efficiency over the years. i seem to think that netbooks are more of a fad than a lasting piece of tech

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pvo 2010/01/06 at 10:54 am

Ken,

I wouldn’t say that netbooks are a fad, but I can see how people would say that based on the fact that their performance capabilities don’t justify their purchase or price just yet.

More and more companies are developing smaller processors, which will affect the size of laptops no matter what. Many people only need computers for basic purposes life surfing, chatting and youtube, and slowly they and companies are figuring that out. Netbooks are a great trend IMO and will only push companies to be more competitive in their product range and pricing.

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paul 2010/01/06 at 2:16 pm

If only Apple would let 3rd parties make a Bluetooth Keyboard for the iPhone you could almost kill 2 birds with one stone.

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evester 2010/01/06 at 12:04 pm

I find it useful to buy use for 6 months and then sell it and buy something else. :)

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danielle 2010/01/06 at 2:34 pm

LOL opportunist!
.-= danielle´s last blog ..Competitive Intelligence: Andy Beal at Pubcon 2009 =-.

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danielle 2010/01/06 at 2:46 pm

i carry the “quality” over quantity philosophy more these days. with technology, clothing, handbags, shoes, etc. i used to have a closet full of low quality stuff, and i’ve learned to pare down to high quality essentials. in regards to tech, i have a canon digital camera, a macbook pro, a mytouch, and a hand-me-down flat screen tv, courtesy of my attorney brother :) i don’t plan on replacing any of these items for at least the next 3-5 years, unless something needs replacing.
.-= danielle´s last blog ..Competitive Intelligence: Andy Beal at Pubcon 2009 =-.

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Craig 2010/01/07 at 9:07 am

No such thing as future proof, all technology now has a lifespan on it, shorter than before, and more expensive. Figure on smaller items like computers, cameras, ipods, probably every 4 years. TV’s every 10.
.-= Craig´s last blog ..Weekly Personal Finance Twitter Chat: Unemployment =-.

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claude 2012/04/29 at 10:59 pm

TV could last a lifetime. If you buy one today you gonna change it only for the fun of having something new…

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