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I’m Not An Early Adopter of Technology, Are You?

You’d probably be surprised to learn that I, someone with a degree in computer science and a career in the field of software development, am not an early adopter of technology. Prior to my current Treo 755p, I had an old Samsung phone for over two years. Before that old boring Samsung I had some other phone for two or three years. Each time, I didn’t get the cutting edge in technology, I got the cheapest and most functional version available. While my friends were taking photos and videos, I was asking them not to send me text messages because they cost me 7 cents a piece (there was no way I was sending a text message on a regular numeric keypad, I don’t have that much patience).

Want another indication of my anti-early adoption ways? Until a few months ago, I didn’t even have a television capable of high definition. High definition has been around since the 90s and I didn’t get a set capable of playing HD until 2007. This Thursday, if all goes well, Verizon will be coming over to install FiOS and my first taste of actual high definition in my own house.

So, why the aversion to technology? Cost. Anyone who has seen the product sales life cycle recognizes the small but important role early adopters play in the life cycle. They are the ones who wait in line early, boost the early sales numbers, and give you the fuel to continue innovation and thus better products. They are also the ones willing to pay high prices just for the opportunity to be one of the first in their circle of friends to have it. In many cases, that first premium is quite high! I was never one to be wow’d by technology, at least to the point where I had to have one. I was content to be one of the consumer masses to purchase the technology after it had matured a little and the prices had come down from the heavens. It’s a logic that has saved me from being one the early high definition DVD early adopters, many of which may find themselves screwed.

HD-DVD looks to be losing the format wars between itself and Blu-Ray, so all the HD-DVD early adopters looked nervous when Warner announced Blu-Ray exclusivity. To make matters worse, even the winners are smarting. The new Blu-Ray format, version 2.0, makes a lot of other Blu-Ray players obsolete [3]! While the owners of existing Blu-Ray players won’t be as screwed as HD-DVD, it still represents a bit of a setback for those early adopters. As for me, maybe I get a PlayStation 3 [4] now that it appears to be ‘future-proofed’ (at least to version 2.0)… or maybe I wait a few more months for everything shake out. 🙂

Are you an early adopter? If so, why? If not, why not?