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Fresh Fruit? Rotten Fruit?

With Blackberries and Apples, it’s easy to slide into all sorts of juicy metaphors about comparing products and their underlying technologies. We’ll resist taking this any farther, but here is some food for thought about where and how technology companies move forward and what it means for us.

RIM (Research in Motion) started a technology revolution when it introduced the Blackberry, the first smartphone, as we know it today. But the company almost died on the vine (sorry about that) when Apple launched its iPhone and a slew of Android-based smartphones soon followed. One of those smartphone makers, Samsung, has the most popular phone in the world – for now – the Galaxy s4, and we’re hearing rumors that Samsung will drop it Android operating system (from Google) in favor of its own OS.

If we’ve learned anything at all from the history of smartphones and tablets, it’s that the technology arms race forces hardware and software providers to innovate constantly. The results are good and bad, and they affect us in many ways. Sometimes we buy and use the right products and increase our productivity and enjoyment immensely. Sometimes we don’t, and often we do OK but think we may have made better choices.  In those last two instances, we’re always comforted by the prospect that something better is just around the corner.

Sometimes, I wonder if we are going to see a “technology bubble.” In 25 years in the technology business, I’ve seen a lot companies and ideas come and go. Blackberry was given up for dead by many of us, but the company may rise like a Phoenix to be a big-time player again. Microsoft has been a giant in the industry, yet we’ve seen it struggle with mobility issues with devices, and Windows 8 is an acute pain or giant ache to many.

Apple has avoided compatibility issues by being a single-source supplier of hardware and software, but sometimes its independence gets in the way of the user experience – like in the iOS maps misadventure. Google, in the meantime, is doing some housecleaning of its own by getting rid of some products, Samsung, as we mentioned, may be looking to put its own operating system on its mobile devices.

But for most of us, a lot of this is secondary to our own experience. What concerns us is: How cool is this new product? How innovative is it? Is it compatible with what I have and need to use?

This is where a technology advisor can help. We’re always looking at and testing out new technology as it hits the market. We see how it can fit into the various technology systems our business and residential customers use so that we can make solid recommendations when you ask for our opinions – or provide effective solutions after you run into problems.

To go back to our “fruit” analogy, some innovations are really fresh, and others are destined to rot very quickly. Sometimes, a technology’s life will depend on how well it meets your needs. Talk to us. We’re always available by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email to help you sort through all the temptations of technology and find the ones that will be delectable for you.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.