The media regularly encourages us to purchase the latest and greatest by inundating us with images of the newest phones and technical gadgetry. Some of us buy into it because we want our technology to be able to perform with the newest games or software upgrades. Others do it because they want to be able to impress people or show off to their friends. But what can we reasonably expect the lifetime of our technology to be?
As consumers, we are showing a trend toward rising expectations and it’s those expectations that sometimes push companies to tweak their products just slightly and then market it as something else entirely. These companies are pushed by a combination of, what the marketing sector calls, the early adopters and early majority.
Innovators and entrepreneurs are enamored with the early adopters. Early adopters don’t often care if new products will even serve a purpose before adopting it. They take more risks than the rest of the population. They are quickly bored with the latest and greatest toys and are regularly looking for something new. The early majority wait just a little bit longer. They will adopt new ideas just before the average member of society. They aren’t quite as eager to pick up the newest toy, but they are nowhere near as skeptical as the average person.
So what are you to do if you don’t fall into the category of early adopter or early majority? What if you want your technology to last so long that you might even fall into the category of laggard? What can you expect the lifetime of technology to be? Personal Computers (“PCs”) should typically last you an average of 3-5 years. Of course, this is dependent upon the quality of the parts, how well you take care of them, and how they are used. An Apple or Mac product will usually last 2-3 years more than a PC but that is mostly because you cannot buy a $300 Apple or Mac anywhere. Cell phone contracts are generally two years long which is the life of an average phone. Sure, some last longer, some shorter. Again, it depends on the quality of the product, how well it’s been cared for, and how much it is used.
There are some tips and tricks that you can do, however, to make your new toy last a little longer than the last one did.
- Buy quality products because you usually do get what you pay for.
- Keep it covered and clean. Dust, dirt, and debris can significantly shorten the life of your phone or computer.
- Keep it cool – overheating causes components to malfunction, work harder, and work slower. Provide air flow and be careful about keeping your phone in your pocket for extended periods on hot days.
- Update regularly. Updates and patches may seem like a pain to stay on top of, but they are just as necessary to the maintenance of your technology as regular oil changes are for your car.
- Use a surge protector when plugged in or charging and unplug your technology as added precaution during storms. One lightning strike to an unprotected outlet would mean you are going shopping for new tech.
Just like a car, when you stay on top of routine maintenance and treat your tech with care, you will likely squeeze a few more years out of the piece. Remember, when you consider the cost of your tech, it makes sense to invest a few additional efforts to stretch your money farther and gain additional quality and quantity from it.
Wade Stewart is the Managing Member of Stewart and Son Computer Services, LLC in University Place, WA and serves as a trusted partner to many local small and medium sized businesses.