I don't know about you, but the last time I got myself a new phone was about six months ago. This doesn't mean I don't get easily tempted. Every day, a shiny new mobile phone hits the market, each
One better than the last. Every other weeks, a new tablet claims to be the next iPad-killer. And about once a year, Apple makes an announcement that makes us drool. If I could afford them, trust me, I would have given in a long time ago.
But 'affordability' doesn't stop technology enthusiasts from buying all of them. Gadget freaks, or 'greaks', are currently in the throes of what can only be described as 'gadgetlust'. If it's the latest and the greatest, it's something that they must have.
Harshal Bhagwat,32, is an Ahme-dabad-based educationalist. He says that it is his passion for new technology that drives his gadgetlust. "It's the curiosity factor," he says. "It's about discovering new and exciting ways to make life simpler by using modern technologies." In the last few years, Bhagwat has used - hold your breath - more than 450 mobile phones! "Earlier, I used to buy a phone a week. Now, I've cut it down to one phone every two weeks", says Bhagwat, who has documented all the phones he has used in a spreadsheet. Recently, he spent about R45,000 on Samsung Beam, a phone with a built-in projector and LG Optimus 3D, a phone that can take 3D pictures.
Most greaks fall in the late-20s- mid-30s age bracket, a time when there is enough disposable income to go on a gadget-binge. "I started with the iPod Shuffle and, since then, have bought every Apple product," says Naren Murali, 27, a corporate strategist.
In a lot of cases, it is simply about the excitement of buying a shiny new thing, admits Shripal Gandhi, a 34-year-old IT manager from Mumbai. "Something new intrigues me and
I have to experiment with it," he says. "So this week, I'm switching from an iPad 2 to a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and changing my current phone to a Samsung Galaxy S2." Before the first iPad hit Indian shores, says Gandhi, he bought it in the grey market for a whopping Rs 65,000.
"I don't think it's about the need," says Delhi-based entrepreneur Praval Singh, a self-confessed gadget-freak who owns almost every popular gadget one can think of. "It's about the desire to have a more powerful, feature-rich device to stay ahead of the curve."
But therein lies the question: just because something newer, faster, better is released, does it render existing gadgets obsolete? After all, there's almost nothing that the iPad 2 can do that the first iPad can't. "I guess it's relative," muses Singh. "I had an iPhone 3GS, but the moment iPhone 4 was released, my phone seemed slow in comparison."
And finally, how much does all this cost? After all, high-end technology doesn't come cheap. Murali says that every year, he spends about three months salary on new gadgets. "It depends on the gadget too. If it's compelling enough, I'll buy it even if I don't need it."
Is there a flipside to all this? "Yes", admits Gandhi. "Sometimes, I think I should just go back to using my old Nokia 1100 phone. I sold my BlackBerry because I was tired of receiving emails on the go. And people got irritated when I constantly fiddled with my different phone while talking to them."
But you know what they say, right? When you live on the bleeding edge, well, you bleed.