New Castle News

Community News Network

November 19, 2012

Tech gift guide: Pick your gadget path carefully

Remember this as you shop for the must-have gadgets of the season: You're buying far more than a box of circuit boards when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. You're picking a set path through the digital world — and turning back could be painful.

As the tablet and smartphone markets grow more competitive, companies are stepping up the range of content they offer exclusively to customers as a way to stand out in the marketplace. Apple offers a bevy of quality apps and music through its iTunes Store. Amazon touts access to its enormous online marketplace. Google offers seamless integration with its mail and documents system. But what people often don't realize is that each 99-cent app or $2 song sinks them deeper into a lasting relationship with the company that sells stuff to run on their gadgets.

"I don't think it's something that everyone considers, but it's something that they should," said Carl Howe, an analyst with Yankee Group. "Particularly with mobile devices, there can be as much investment in the content in the device as with the device itself."

In other words, over the course of a year or two people can spend hundreds of dollars on songs, movies, apps and books that they often can't transfer to another brand of smartphone or tablet.

If you pick an iPhone this Christmas, do it with the knowledge that a lot could get stuck there if you switch to a different smartphone down the line. Even apps made by the same companies won't transfer between devices. Buying Angry Birds on your Kindle Fire will never make it show up on your iPhone — you'll have to buy it twice.

This lock-in is becoming even more pronounced as companies introduce families of devices that share app stores and information. Apple, Google and Microsoft all point to this cloud storage capability as a major selling point as they hawk their lines of smartphones, tablets and, at least for Apple and Microsoft, computers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results