Preview the prices of electronics later in 2011


I’m asked all the time when is the best time to buy electronic gadgets. The thing with electronics is that no matter when you buy, you later feel dumb because prices go down so rapidly.

I’ve seen new projections from about where prices are headed in 2011 for a variety of electronics. Below are some of the highlights, which reflect the lowest recorded prices in 2009 and where thinks they’re headed later this year:

  • Blu-ray players were $76 in 2009. Expect them to be $39 later this year.
  • The Kindle was $259 in 2009. Expect it to be $99 later this year.
  • 42-inch HDTVs were $490 in 2009. Expect them to be $299 later this year.
  • 55-inch HDTVs were $1,115 in 2009. Expect them to be $599 later this year.

Going down the list, you get a sense of how quickly prices drop. That’s thanks in part to worldwide manufacturing capability and the amazing achievements of engineers, scientists and designers who make things better, cheaper and faster.

Price is one thing, though, but a cheap gadget that you can’t figure out how to use is no bargain at all. I think about Apple and how they’ve taken all kinds of gizmos and made them so simple and user friendly. My wife finds electronics off-putting, annoying, intimidating and just plain boring. Well, I gave her an iPad — she never even looked in the owner’s manual — and now she loves that thing.

That is the ultimate challenge: How to make technology easy to use instead of complicated. There’s always hope that somebody other than Apple will figure that out!

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