Clark Howard: There’s always a newer gadget

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ClarkHowardI’ve recently got a brand-new gadget and it became almost obsolete the second I opened the box.

One big problem with electronics is that no matter when you buy, they’re already obsolete. My soon-to-be-obsolete device is an Android tablet called the Archos 5. It surfs the Web very well, renders newspapers beautifully, does all the apps stuff, has a built-in GPS, a wonderful movie viewer and all the rest. I paid $150 for it, but a year from now it might not be worth a dollar!

Technology marches on that fast.

Likewise, my senior radio producer Kimberly recently paid $200 for the Epic 4G cell phone from Sprint (with a slide-out keyboard). But now there’s a new 4G phone with a slide-out that’s supposedly the latest and greatest thing … for $149.

Technology just keeps marching on as devices get faster, cheaper and better.

Last month, the tech world turned its eyes to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. The hot thing this year at CES was all the wannabe Apple tablets.

My take on the tablet market? If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the iPad, it’s still too early. Give it at least six months and you’ll be rewarded with very nice tablets at very nice prices.

In fact, I expect tablets to become impulse purchases in less than a year and a half. One of the key indicators telling me so is that Vizio is entering both the cell phone market and the tablet market. Vizio is the No. 1 seller of TVs and the company that’s had the most to do with driving down the cost of HDTVs. When they enter a market, they build stuff that’s high quality at lower prices than anybody else says is possible. So get ready!

-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs

Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. You can also listen to his radio show live 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday on AM 750 and NOW 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB.

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Billy

January 27th, 2011
12:08 pm

Clark, your phone example is terribly incorrect. There is a new 4g Sprint phone, and it is cheaper, but it’s not nearly as good as either of the two, more expensive, first Sprint 4g phones available.

Pete S.

January 27th, 2011
1:28 pm

Respectfully, Billy, you are incorrect. The new Evo Shift 4g clocks faster than any U.S. phone out there–much faster than the Evo and the Epic. Even though it’s processor is 800Mhz, it’s faster than the Evo’s 1Gb processor because it’s a newer, more efficient generation of processor. And the combination of the slightly smaller screen, and this more efficient processor, means the battery life is several times that of the Evos and Epics. Not only that, you can pick up this phone for like $99 now, too.

A.Margaret Coughenour

January 29th, 2011
4:22 pm

You said to keep income tax reports forever. I thought 7 to 10 years was enough. I was getting rid of allprevious ones, except our very first one from 1958.