Matthew Broderick as the crime-solving Inspector Gadget with his numerous bionic devices might not feel out of place if he were to hang out with today’s youngsters.
According to a Euromonitor International study on consumer electronics in India, young Indian customers are clued in when it comes to the latest developments in technology.
The report says, “They (youngsters) want to be equipped with such products and possess the latest technology. Such traits continue to drive the success of new launches.”
Take the case of Jithesh E.J. who owns about 10 gadgets. “I own a Lenovo P780, Blackberry Curve 8520, Nokia 100, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle e-reader, PlayStation 3, Dell Inspiron N4110, Raspberry Pi, Cubieboard 2 and many Arduino boards,” says the 25-year-old who takes care of his family business.
But what does one person do with so many gadgets? Jithesh explains, “Lenovo P780 is my primary device, Blackberry holds my Bangalore SIM and the Nokia 100 is a backup phone. I use the Kindle e-reader to read fiction and fantasy books; the Kindle Fire for technical books, the PS3 for gaming, the Dell for coding and circuit design, Raspberry Pi as a media centre and Cubieboard coupled with Arduino boards for electronics projects.”
Sreekanth Moses Oggu, a student, is an Apple fan — he owns an iPhone, iPad and a MacBook Pro. “The iPhone is for calls, messages and music, the iPad for books, photo, videos, mini presentations and emails, and the MacBook is especially for editing and presentations and personal content storage,” he says.
India has approximately 20 lakh registered iPad users and 55.48 crore mobile phone owners (Ministry of Statistics 2013 report). With Android smartphones and tablets becoming more affordable and accessible, more new users are slated to join the bandwagon.
Aishwarya Hariharan (22), a content marketer, can’t do without her Nexus 4, Kindle and MacBook Pro. “I use the Nexus for pretty much everything; I pocket articles to read. I also use the Amazon Kindle app on journeys when they switch off the lights on buses! Aside from reading, I browse, text, keep in touch with official emails and use the productivity apps,” she says.
Although most of these gadgets have overlapping functions, these have found a way to use each device for one specific purpose.
“Every gadget is best at something and average at many other things; none of them is good at everything,” says Jithesh. “The Kindle e-reader is the best for reading normal books in .azw or .mobi format. But the refresh rate is too slow for graphic novels or any document with a lot of pictures or diagrams in it. That is the reason I got a Kindle Fire HD, which is primarily a multimedia device.”
Aishwarya does all her reading on the Kindle. “It’s easy on the eyes and it has enormous battery life: I have to charge it only once in a couple of weeks. The MacBook is where I do the bulk of my browsing and writing; I also listen to music on Grooveshark and Spotify,” she says.
With a wide range of choices available in the market for every perceivable type of gadget, narrowing down to what works for each of them takes a bit of research. While it’s easier to select an e-reader, phones can pose a bit of challenge. “I was a tad overwhelmed when it came to shopping for a phone but luckily I have a colleague who’s a bit of an expert; he helped me narrow down which phone would suit me best with my budget,” says Aishwarya.
Others, like Sreekanth, find it easier to stick to one brand. “I use only Apple products, so I know exactly when the next launch is going to be,” he says.
So what do they do when their gadgets have run their course? Aishwarya upgrades her phone every year or so. Sreekanth upgrades his gadgets only if he finds the latest offering to be really impressive.
Jithesh agrees with that sentiment. “I usually upgrade when I feel the absolute need to. My current phone is the third Android device; I got the first one four years ago. I’d have waited for another six months to buy a new phone if I haven’t given away the old one to my brother.”
As for the phones he can’t give away, just for fun, this electronics hobbyist strips them down to their components.