The Gad­get Change in Our Lives

Consumer Voice - - Editor's Voice - Padma Joint edi­tor

I use an or­di­nary Nokia phone that was bought for un­der Rs 6,000 about four years ago. It al­lows me to make a phone call, check email through a push mail fea­ture, and has a QWERTY key­pad that al­lows easy tex­ting. It runs on the dated Sym­bian op­er­at­ing sys­tem, so I can­not ac­cess or make use of the much-talked-about An­droid or iOS apps.

So, what am I miss­ing out on? Not much, I think, but then I am al­most al­ways sur­rounded by people who have changed their phone about five to six times in the last four years. Ev­ery time they have told me about one or the other unique fea­ture of the phone that made them think that their old phone had be­come out­dated.

No, I am not writ­ing against smart­phones here. In fact, I am soon go­ing to buy one my­self as I need in­stant In­ter­net ac­cess and also need a safety app more than any­thing else. Here I am only ask­ing this: does your gad­get be­come dated when the com­pany launches a sup­pos­edly newer or bet­ter ver­sion of it? Ev­ery now and then, one or the other elec­tron­ics com­pany, es­pe­cially Sam­sung, Ap­ple and Sony, con­cep­tu­al­izes a launch func­tion of their new se­ries of some gad­get in a man­ner that it sounds like yet an­other leap for mankind. Those global launch events share prom­i­nent space in print with the day’s lead po­lit­i­cal news as well as hog peak hours on na­tional tele­vi­sion.

I think the idea be­hind those mar­ket­ing cam­paigns is to in­flu­ence in­di­vid­u­als into be­liev­ing that they are miss­ing out on some­thing very im­por­tant if they do not own one of those gad­gets. Some tar­geted cam­paigns are so pow­er­ful that they make some of us be­lieve that those gad­gets add to our sta­tus. And if we see an­other in­di­vid­ual with­out one of those gad­gets, some of us may think along these lines: a) s/he is too poor to be able to af­ford it, or b) s/he is a stereo­type who does not be­lieve in tech­nol­ogy, or c) s/ he has no fash­ion sense.

This is how the tech­nol­ogy gi­ants of the world have po­si­tioned them­selves in the minds of mil­lions. Dozens of people I know who own these gad­gets have hardly used more than 10 per cent of their fea­tures. But they make it a point to tell ev­ery­one about a gad­get change in their lives through Face­book up­dates and tweets made via the gad­get it­self.

Now that my life too will go through a gad­get change, I ended up re­search­ing about a dozen hand­set mak­ers and was as­ton­ished to find that ev­ery­thing that was be­ing of­fered at Rs 40,000–Rs 50,000 by main­stream brands was made avail­able at half the price by the not-so-big but promis­ing brands from China – Gionee be­ing one of them. If you Google a bit, you will know why some of the world’s renowned gad­get re­view­ers vouch for these young brands. They do not have much mar­ket­ing prow­ess, but pos­sess im­mense un­der­stand­ing of tech­nol­ogy and fan­tas­tic de­sign sense. And they do not keep up­grad­ing to make you feel as if your ear­lier gad­get’s time is gone.

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