Once in a while, the world of technology throws up some pretty amazing bargains. Keep your eyes peeled – or simply read on!
A pretty good Tablet, great smartphones, a very well revamped webOS backed by the number one PC company in the world. And then, 40 days later, they abandon the product.
Yes, HP’s Personal Systems Group makes personal computers, Notebooks, mobile devices, Tablets, software and accessories and they are the world number one with 18.9 per cent of the total market, ahead of Dell and Acer. And this company has abandoned a brilliant product within days! Abandoned, chickened out, deserted, discarded, discontinued, ditched, withdrawn, yielded!
While there are many reasons why HP would do this (some official, some unofficial and fodder for another column), that’s not what this is all about. It’s the amazing bargains that unusual situations like these throw up. The 16 GB HP Touchpad was sold in a fire sale for $99 (yup, a whole freaking state-of-the-art Tablet for about Rs 4,500) and the 32 GB one for just $149. The webOS-based brilliant smartphones went for a fraction of the price too, as did the accessories.
At $99, it’s hard to find a single product in the entire technology industry that offers a better deal for customers. And bargains like this can only exist in the world of technology. Let’s take a look at what represents the best tech bang for the buck currently.
There’s really nothing wrong with it. It’s a great piece of hardware; it has a fantastic screen; the OS is superior to most; the app store, while limited, has most critical ones in place (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Angry Birds, etc); and you can use it as a video conference device, as a Web browser, as an ebook reader and for movies and music. You can also use it as a weather station and an Internet-enabled alarm clock. HP may not support it fully and new apps may not come in now, but at 99 bucks, this is a no-brainer.
Sony PlayStation 3
This little dynamo of convergence of many technologies has seen another price drop and is now marked at $249 – and look at what you get for that! It’s a very good Blu-Ray player; it’s a fantastic gaming console (and with the add-on Move accessory, it’s awesome); it’s a network- enabled media streaming player; it’s an online player dream machine and it looks bloody good. Get the PS3 and you’ve got the most incredible bargain entertainment device in the world.
Samsung Galaxy S1 and the iPhone 3GS
The self-inflicted cycle of taking out new versions of a product faster than the speed of light has thrown up a very interesting market for consumers. The Galaxy S1 and the iPhone 3Gs were arguably the two best smartphones in the world. And they were updated quick and fast. Prices of the previous iterations fell deep. Today you can pick up a iPhone 3GS for about Rs. 19,000 (and get all that money back on a discounted talk plan). And while it’s tough to get a Galaxy S1, they sell for as little as Rs. 16,000. These are solid phones; they have great features, awesome hardware and have nothing wrong with them. All they have is a next generation big brother at twice the price!
Blu-Ray players and a secret weapon
How much does a DVD player with whizbang features from a good brand cost? About Rs. 5,000. How much does a state-of-the-art Blu-Ray player with features that can shame a DVD player, HDMI-out and a super high-resolution 1080p picture cost? About Rs. 7,000. I find the resistance to Blu-Ray players in India quite silly. The device pricing is at an all-time low. If you’re wondering where to get the Blu-Ray movies from, here’s a secret: Subscribe to a Blu-Ray library (there are many in India now) and you get to keep movies for as long as 15 days and pay as low as Rs. 60 per movie. And to think you’ve been wasting time with a DVD player! If you own a good HDTV, you owe yourself and your TV a Blu-Ray player to discover what real razor sharp HD movie viewing is all about.
Here’s another secret. A 32-inch LCD TV is not a TV! Not anymore. It’s a commodity! Most brands need to be in the market as it’s a big one. But the competition is now so intense and the prices so low that most don’t make too much money off this category. They need great numbers and they need to churn them out at a very fast pace. Take advantage of that. If you haven’t upgraded to a flat screen or need a smaller screen in another room, then this is the way to go. Prices at sale and festival time drop as low as Rs. 16,000 for a 32-incher. Pick them up before the brands wake up and change this anomaly.
There are many other such techbang devices. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for when such quantum shifts take place and throw up some true bargains of an insane technology world. It’s the only world where you can pick up a dream machine at a dream price!
By the way, I got myself a $99 HP Touchpad. It’s the greatest Web-enabled, Internet radio-capable weather machine and alarm clock I’ve ever owned :)
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
Follow Rajiv on Twitter at witter.com/RajivMakhni
From HT Brunch, August 28
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