cutting edge vs trailing edge technology

I Hate Technology Blog

Cutting Edge vs. Trailing Edge

Do you buy tech as soon as it comes out, or after it’s been around for a while?

I was living in California’s Silicon Valley years ago when the first production 42 inch Plasma High Definition Televisions came out. I walked into the nearest Fry’s Electronics Superstore and went straight to their TV showroom and saw a very impressive display of a football game in high definition. As I sat there lusting after the newest technology, I noticed staff moving a shipment of the exact same display to the store room in the back. A pallet of seven displays rolled right past me, waiting for early adopters to take them home. And then I saw the price tag. Over $40,000! A television set for Forty Large. And then I realized the pallet that was just turning the corner was worth about the same as a house!

And you know what? People bought them. Fry’s Electronics couldn’t keep them in stock. Obviously the ultra-wealthy can afford to be on the Cutting Edge of technology. But what about the rest of us? I often feel like I am on the Trailing Edge: getting in too late, right before a better model comes out, or the item becomes obsolete.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Cutting Edge:

I just bought a 9.7 inch iPad Pro. Great device, but not that much better than my previous two year old iPad Air. Worth it? At least it was a better decision than some I’ve had in the past. I once wanted to be on the forefront of technology: in 1997, I bought a 4x CD burner for $650. Just a few years later, you could buy a 52x burner for $20. Ouch. Or that time I bought a Zip Drive (don’t ask) just a month before flash memory drives came out rendering my purchase instantly obsolete.

Trailing Edge:

Windows 10. Like a lot of people, I only recently moved up to Windows 10 mostly because it was a free upgrade (Reminder you only have until July 29 th to get it for free). There were some initial stability problems, but it is a much better operating system than those that came before it. But we are already on the trailing-edge here. Windows 10 is already a year old. Early adopters had it for a long time.

So where do you fall? Do you covet the newest iDevice, the fastest videocard, the biggest HDTV, and the newest videogame consoles, and get them the instant they come out (if you do, please send me your “old” stuff)? Most of you probably aim for the sweet spot: wait for reviews, shop around for the best prices and wait at least a little while before you make your purchase. And if you’re like me, you try to avoid being on the Trailing Edge.

About the Author:

David Kalish is the Director of Business Development for PC Results, Inc., an Information Technology Solutions Provider serving Upstate and Western New York. David likes Windows 10, loves Flash Drives, enjoys his PlayStation 4, and wants a giant 4K TV. If you work at a business that wants to avoid the Trailing Edge of technology purchasing, contact PC Results to help guide you.