Do you have the newest thingamagig? What about that cool new whatchamacallit? Technology develops quickly. Depending on the needs of the market, the creativity of developers, and the spending habits of people worldwide, new technologies are being released at an astonishing rate. With so many new opportunities and products, it's not surprising that many of our once-treasured possessions are now in the middle of a trash dump. But what can you do about it?

Before buying a new technology, you should assess the long-term viability of the product. Ask yourself a few questions: Do I already have something that does this? Is this similar to something that is already on the market? What are the potential business and personal applications of this product? Who is the manufacturer?

Do I already have something that does this? Just because something looks cool and interesting doesn't mean that you don't need it. You might want it, but if you're having to read this article, chances are that you want it already. When you make decisions regarding buying technology, you need to be able to restrain yourself if necessary. If you have something that already performs the primary functions of the product you're interested in buying, keep moving. There's no need to duplicate functionality unless there is a new feature that advances the product.

Is this similar to something that is already on the market? Research the market to see where the competition lies. When came out with their Kindle, it was a new technology. Less than a year later, Barnes and Noble came out with their book reader: Nook. Not long after that, we discovered that Microsoft's new iPad would have a book reader built into it. In less than a year, both of these new products have been made essentially obsolete.

What are the potential business and personal applications of this product? If a product doesn't fill a concrete need, it will likely fizzle out and die quickly. However, there are those who have the business know-how to see a product and immediately understand how it can change their industry. Social networking did this for advertising and marketing.

Personal applications are also just as important. There may already be many eBook readers on the market, but new recipe eReaders have been developed that will enable people to download and use recipes quickly and easily. While on the surface this is a functionality that is available with standard book readers, recipe readers have tapped into their market by being water-proof,

Who is the manufacturer? The final test of long-term sustainability is the company that stands behind their product. There is a reason why Steve Jobs' announcements have so many viewers; people expect the best from Jobs and are not often disappointed. By knowing the reputation, strengths, and weaknesses of a company, you can place yourself to make an intelligent decision about the long-term viability of a new technology.

It may be a little bit of work to get an accurate sense of the market before you rush out to buy that new, "wazu" product, but in the long run it will save you time, money, and the trouble of transferring all of your data.

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