Sunday, December 18, 2011

Disruptive Technology

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68

The phrase "disruptive technology" has been around for a few years.  It was always kind of fuzzy what it meant.  I think I have a real life example.

Our camera has been gradually dying of  E-wasting disease.  I blogged about that a few months back.  I got some good advice, especially from my friend Walt, on how to choose a successor camera.  I followed Walt's advice and finally figured out that I needed to spend about $400 on a Panasonic or Olympus camera that had the features I needed.  However, I'm never in a rush to spend that kind of money, so I delayed.

In the meantime, I got a new phone.  The Samsung Droid Charge is a great smart phone.  Its best feature is a large and brilliant screen with better picture quality than an device I ever owned, big or small.  However, when I got to play with it for a while I discovered that the built-in camera on this phone is amazing.  It is the most sophisticated camera I ever owned.   Of course, a secondary benefit is the convenience of being able to beam pictures and videos all over the known universe with a mere tap of the finger adds a lot to the perceived value.

On the other hand, good as it is, a phone camera is still very slow and awkward to start up and use.  Often, by the time I'm ready to snap, the picture opportunity has passed.  A device dedicated to the camera function still has advantages.

In Vero, while shopping for presents for Libby I was amazed to come across a 12MP digital camera for only $40.  Wow!  I've said before that my laptop strategy is to buy the cheapest laptop, for 10-15% of the price of a rugged one.  I can wear out and discard 4-5 such laptops before exceeding the price of a really good one.   Why not apply the same principle to the camera?  $40 versus $400.   Of course the $40 camera won't have all the features I wanted.  Of course, it won't take pictures as nice as the expensive one.  But it's well worth a try.  I bought it, gave it to Libby, and we'll start using it.  If we absolutely hate the result, our economic loss is not big.  Indeed, the $400 cameras will probably be selling for $360 in 6 months.

That's disruptive technology.  Two technologies that I did not expect and did not seek, came as surprises and completely undermined my plan to buy a $400 camera.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure what kind of camera your looking for but check out the Canon SX30IS. It is a powershot not an SLR but the zoom is absolutely amazing for those long distance shots. I'm not affiliated with Canon, I just bought one and our friend who is a photographer, says it's a great camera!

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