Monday, December 29, 2008

How Did I Do?

It is always dangerous to make predictions. It is even more dangerous and potentially embarrassing to make those predictions in writing. Nevertheless, last year at this time I made some predictions and suggestions in this column regarding electronic products and services during 2008. How did I do? Well, let’s see

In that column I mentioned that you could look for some great deals on digital televisions after the 2008 Super Bowl®. Once that day passed, sales would slow down and you would be able to get some great deals. For sure that did happen and with the slowing of the economy and the added DTV manufacturing capacity now on line, there continues to be great deals on new digital TV sets of all sizes. Since they have been so deeply discounted, I don’t think you will see any significant price cutting as we move toward the February 17th analog cut off.

Also in that column and in several others during the year I warned that if you didn’t decide to subscribe to cable or satellite you needed to either purchase a new digital TV or get a set top adapter. Well, after a less than orderly start, the adapters did find their way into stores in early 2008. However, even today, some retailers have had supply issues. Also, the federal government began to issue coupons. Each household is eligible to get 2 coupons each worth $40 toward the purchase of a DTV adapter. That program from our good friends in DC has been less than smooth. Since they decided that the coupons would have a 90 day expiration period, many people found themselves with worthless coupons. If you have not ordered coupons, you can still do so. For more information you can call 888 DTV-2009 (800-388-2009) or go to www.dtv2009.gov.

I opined that the cell phone providers would begin to expand capabilities beyond one-to-one communication. Many will find it surprising that the United States and Canada are among the most backward countries in the world with our cell phone networks and hand set capabilities. In many countries today you can now do your banking via cell phone, pay for gas, buy a subway fare and watch sporting events. Well, I was a bit optimistic about this prediction. The flagging economy has slowed the introduction of several enhancements. I don’t see much change in 2009.

I predicted that more devices, especially in automobiles would be controlled by voice commands. This technology has been available on higher end products. Again I was wrong as the big car companies had other issues to address and slowed down implementation of this technology.

I predicted that the process of “data mining” would increase with the promotion of store affinity cards that identify you as you check out with your purchases. More and more stores have such cards and are using them to target the distribution of advertisements and coupons via direct mail using this information.

Finally, I predicted that the green energy efficiency movement will get into full swing with added emphasis on doing little things in your home that will add up to substantial community savings. For sure that happened, spurred on by the price of oil and electricity.

Next week I will have some predictions for 2009.

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2 Comments:

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