By Andrew Eisner

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There’s nothing more frustrating than returning home with your latest gadget only to discover a newer version was released the week before. In the consumer electronics world where new products are introduced at a blinding pace, this scenario is all too common.
Retrevo has a brand new feature to help consumers avoid this problem. Retrevo’s “real-time,” reviews include a graph representing a product’s lifecycle. The lifecycle indicates whether a product is a hot new gadget, “over the hill,” or somewhere in between. Retrevo can tell you if a product is receiving a lot of “buzz,” or if it’s going to be obsolete soon. Retrevo’s AI-based technology analyzes millions of data points including level of review activity, pricing, demand, and the age of a product to place the product on the lifecycle chart.
In addition to lifecycle analysis, Retrevo’s new kind of product review indicates overall sentiment from expert and user reviews, overall value, key features, and more. Other review sites rely on humans to track and evaluate products. Retrevo watches activity, pricing, and other data on a daily basis and adjusts the “real-time,” review as needed. Only a sophisticated AI-based analysis system can handle this amount of data for the enormous amount of electronics products on the market. Humans could never come close to evaluating these many products on a daily basis.
To make it even simpler to tell if a product is a good buy or not, Retrevo reduces all these data points down to a single recommendation along with a qualifier for a type of purchase or buyer i.e “buy with caution,” or “look elsewhere.”
Try it yourself! Pick a category like Digital Cameras, HDTV, or Laptops and browse to a product you’re interested in or search for a product and check out the lifecycle analysis on Retrevo’s Real-Time Review.
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Bleeding edge isn't cost effective

I've got nothing against people who have more money than they need and can indulge their egos by buying things that make them happy. God bless them, I wish I were one of them.

But I'm not. When I purchase something it's a balance between necessity and not wasting limited resources. In the case of high-technology items, that means recognizing the difference between something not being the latest model and being obsolete. Obsolete means that something no longer serves a useful purpose. A radio that picks up multiple radio bands including the audio from analog VHF TV stations would now be of lesser use, but would not be obsolete unless receiving VHF analog TV audio was your only purpose for having it.

I'd argue that the best time to buy SOMETHING YOU ACTUALLY NEED is a compromise between having something that does what you need just before you need it, getting the best possible cost and getting features and/or capacities you won't ever need. With technology products this isn't on the uphill side of a product's popularity; it's on the downhill side; often it's just before a model becomes unavailable. Sometime it's after a model is only available refurbished or used.

PCs are one example. A new PC may have much more memory and be much faster than one that was produced 2 years ago, but may be much more expensive than one built 4 years ago that is being "dumped" to clear warehouse inventory and is more than adequate for your purpose. Another example would be a standard DVD player, which will continue to deliver the same performance and have a useful life of several years until standard DVDs are no longer available.

A third and more timely example would be a large screen flat panel analog TV receiver. The remaining stocks of these are being dumped for very low prices, yet a person who has cable or satellite service could get the same quality programming as before the broadcast conversion of June 2009, and a broadcast user could get more and better quality programming by using a converter box at a lower cost than buying a similar size digital flat panel.