Sgamen Personal Tech

Luxuries Are the New Necessity - Personal Gadgets and Entertainment Devices Top Must-Have Lists

Brown is the new black, 40 is the new 30 and luxuries are the new necessity. While the down-trodden economy has the general public scaling back on budgets and kicking many fun and non-mandatory expenses to the curb (family vacations, golf lessons, dining out and acrylic nails, just to name a few), items like big screen LCD televisions, multi-function cell phones and assorted tech gadgets are proving to have real staying power.

Although personal electronic items took a small hit in 2009 (sales were roughly 8% lower than in '08), the industry didn't see the degree of recession related damages that plagued the U.S. automobile market, apparel retailers or even real estate. Apparently as long as your friends can get in touch with you on your iPhone, a permanent address might not be entirely essential.

Many employers, conscious of the environmental and financial benefits of encouraging work-at-home options for many staff members, all but demand the use of versatile smart phones. Their multi-function capabilities allow professionals to maintain constant contact with headquarters and facilitate seamless communication with co-workers.

Despite the many assorted consumer budget cuts, it's estimated that smart phones may rake in close to $18 billion in sales over the coming year, taking over approximately 17% of the market share according to Forrester Research and AdAge.

If consumer trends play out according to plan, 2010 should see the consumer electronics industry raking in an estimated $165 billion. While this figure doesn't rival the record $178+ billion that was sold in 2008, it's an impressive figure nonetheless, and a slight improvement over 2009 numbers.

When it comes to personal technology, cell phones and big screen TVs included, the U.S. consumer is all about the next invention. We've seen folks stand in line and shell out close to 1k for the newest phone, just for the chance to be the first one on their block to show off the latest and greatest high-tech item. Keeping up with the Joneses means being able to call, text, email and Google them anywhere, anytime, on one sleek little device.

Of course, if we're cutting out extravagant excursions, regular jaunts to the movie theaters and pricey holiday trips, we'd better make the most of our at-home entertainment with a large screen TV. The bigger the better! Along with the return of family entertainment at home, many people are rediscovering the television as a form of education. Especially when paired with comprehensive satellite TV packages, people can learn how to sew, cook, train a horse, paint the house and just about any other imaginable endeavor short of neurosurgery with the help of televised instruction. Modern day TVs are really more of a lifestyle item, transcending the category of luxury or extravagant add-on.

What to watch for this year? This summer should see Sony 3-D TVs available by late June. Costs will reportedly be only incrementally higher than the 2-D predecessors. Naturally, 3-D Blue-ray players are on the way as well. Sony will also introduce the "Dash"; this table top web browser makes online searches almost instantaneous. Computer trend-setter Apple is unveiling a small, thing tablet computer - the next innovation in more compact netbook technology.

When we really look closely at the costs for travel, theater tickets, restaurant meals and the many multi-layered benefits of smart phone technology and versatile at-home entertainment, the latest technology could prove to be a money-saver in the long run. Add in the fact that families who take advantage of these items are better able to optimize communication and spend more quality time together and the far-reaching benefits may well be priceless.

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