Do you remember when you used to shop for a computer and worry about how much hard disk space it had? Do you remember comparing your friends' clock speed to your new computer's clock speed? "Mine's 1.2 GHz," you would boast.
What about RAM size?
I remember when having 512MB of RAM made you king of the tech block. All of this is meaningless now.
Most all technology vendors, whether you are buying a computer, cell phone, scanner, printer or some other device have very similar specifications along competing product lines. If they don't, they're in a leapfrog race of who can be first to market with the latest and greatest.
What you should focus on is "wise" brand loyalty. Ronald Reagan said, "trust but verify". Do the same with your hardware and software vendors. By wise brand loyalty I mean not brand loyalty just for the sake of it - but finding companies who have rock-solid technical support, are there when you need them and provide value for your dollar.
As you shop for technology it makes sense to invest your dollars with one computer vendor. Having 2 computers from HP and 3 from Dell and another 4 from Acer doesn't make sense. You have different support numbers to call, the computers look different, and the differentiating features such as placement of USB ports, power supplies, and other features are going to be different.
While you do want to price compare and ensure you are getting the best value, establishing a relationships with your technology vendors is important. As they get to know you, hopefully you have a dedicated support representative, and the assistance they provide can get getter and better.
The New York Times writes, " "Over the last couple of years, the industry has made a slow lurch away from its engineering roots toward a more shopper-friendly strategy that recognizes that if you make your product simpler to understand, more people will buy it."
For example, in a move away from showcasing price and specifications, Dell has launched a new marketing campaign that focuses on its customers. It looked across the US for great businesses, such as Sew What LinkedIn , Endeavor, and others and made them the featured stars of a new advertising push.
HP, in another example, will continue to push the envelope with new, bold designs at affordable prices - I've seen them and they look good.
Palm, although struggling, continues to give Apple's iPod and RIM's BlackBerry credible competition.
The next time you go looking for technology, don't just look at the specifications and price. Look at the company behind the technology. That's what matters.
Ramon Ray is the editor and tech evangelist for smallbiztechnlogy.com