10 Technologies That Used to Be Expensive
Gadget hounds like me pay a hefty premium for being the first on our block to own the latest gizmos. Life on the leading edge can be expensive, but what about some of the technologies that have been around awhile? Let’s have a look at a few things that we can get for a (relative) song compared to when they were first introduced. Here is a list of 10 technologies that used to be expensive, but now, not so much:
- Calculators – When I was in high school, I remember having to learn to use a slide rule in my freshman year. Yes, I’m that old. Then calculators hit the market just in time for my sophomore trigonometry and physics classes. Trouble is, they were featured in upscale stores, starting at $100. Now you can buy a calculator watch with more functions, for little more than the cost of the battery that powers it. Speaking of which …
- Digital Watches – I read somewhere that the average modern-day digital watch has more computing power than the entire Apollo space program. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that I can probably buy one for less than a glass of Tang. Those early ones were priced right up there with the calculators.
- Computer Printers – What used to cost in the hundreds of dollars to own now often leaves the consumer pondering, Would it be cheaper to replace the ink or the printer? Fact is, an all-in-one printer often costs little more than the price of a full complement of cartridges.
- Security Cameras – It could easily cost you thousands of dollars 20 years ago for a quality surveillance system. Today, for a fraction of that, you can purchase a complete system with several high-resolution cameras and color monitor.
- MP3 Players – As recently as 4 years ago, a 30GB player could cost between $300-400. Thanks at least in part to the proliferation of smart phones that serve the same function, MP3 player prices have dropped significantly. Still not exactly cheap, but getting there.
- DVD Players – Another example of legacy technology that has gotten less expensive with the advent of NexGen tech. The arrival of BluRay high-definition DVD has resulted in drastically lower prices on standard DVD players.
- Mobile Phones – In its infancy, mobile phone technology meant carrying around a veritable briefcase (remember the “bag phone”?) and spending like the corporate big-shot that you wanted to look like. Mobile wasn’t for everyone back then, and high end smart phones can still be pricey; but nowadays you can find deals on some phones for under 25 bucks.
- Video Conferencing – Not long ago, it was a considerable business expense. Thanks to free services like Skype, there’s no need to shell out the big bucks to set up online conferencing any longer.
- Night Vision Optics – Early versions of this technology cost in the thousands of dollars, which left them mostly in military hands. Today, a Generation 1 night vision scope or monocular can be purchased at WalMart for as little as $100.
- External Storage Devices – It used to be that if you wanted to store data away from your PC, you needed to invest in an expensive external drive. You now have the alternatives of not only significantly less costly drives, but USB flash drives that allow you to store gigs of data on a device that can be carried on a key chain – and for under $20.
As technologies become less expensive to mass-produce, lowering the cost to the consumer, one thing becomes clear. If you’re willing to wait until a tech gadget’s been around a bit before taking the plunge, you can save a bundle.