Is "4G" making holiday shopping difficult?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| Published: December 10, 2010

As we approach the new year, the banter about “4G” is becoming more and more abundant. On top of that, nearly every week we hear rumors of new 4G-capable devices coming out in “early 2011.” All of these different topics are just constant reminders that the technology we buy now has a limited shelf life. While I'm definitely excited about the technology to come and having faster-than-home-Internet speeds on my phone, it does make buying for the holidays a hard knot to swallow.

Christmas is approaching (quickly) and phones and tablets are hot ticket items for gifts this year. We have seen some pretty impressive phones and tablets hit the shelves, and we plan to see a lot more as we head off 2011 with CES. The current devices would make great presents for most, and I'm sure nobody would complain of they unwrapped a Galaxy Tab or iPad on Christmas morn'. But in a few months, there will be the successor to said device, one that is likely to be capable of 4G speeds and leave the “old news” in the dust, which also leaves those giftees wanting more.

Think about it this way, your husband, an avid tech fiend, wants a new phone, an Android device. You could go into a Verizon store and get him a Droid Pro, Droid 2, Incredible, or even a Droid X. He would probably jump up and down like a child when he unwrapped it, but soon thereafter when the Incredible HD (the LTE-capable device he really wanted) hits the market, he goes back into his wanting phase. This whole 4G marketing campaign has disrupted the holiday shopping season quite a bit for a lot of people. Sure, everyone could give IOUs and rain checks for Christmas. That would be great, wouldn't it?

This is a prime example of the market getting way ahead of itself. We've seen far-off launch dates before, but they typically come at the beginning or middle of the year and try to make it in time for the holiday season. And while there are some 4G phones out there right now on some carriers' networks, there are rumors circling about some more advanced device with a faster processor and a better camera launching sometime between January 1 and April. I've said it before, phone manufacturers are making too many phones way too quickly, but in this case they're now moving too slow because they let word of an unreleased device get out too soon. What about you guys? Are you waiting for the onslaught of 4G devices, or are you gifting 3G phones and tablets this year?