Stop! It’s A Really Bad Time To Buy Most Gadgets!

Did you know that your brain releases dopamine when it processes something new? At least that’s what the Internet told me. Apparently dopamine is key in establishing a craving, which could be why ever-updating sites like blogs or Reddit are so popular. There is always something new. It could also be why some people always crave more gadgets. You’re bored with your Galaxy SII and hope the Galaxy Nexus will satisfy that burning desire, which it probably will (unless you’re MG).

But don’t do it — at least not now. We’re officially in a holding pattern. It’s a really bad time to buy most consumer electronic products. This happens several times a year. I know there are some tempting post-holiday offers out there. But don’t do it. Wait a few weeks. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

There are big things on tap the first part of 2012. CES officially kicks off next week, but products will start hitting the wire this week. Then, come February, countless Ice Cream Sandwich phones and tablets will likely drop at Mobile World Congress. Apple generally announces something big in both January and February/early March, too. Last year it was the Verizon iPhone, the iPad 2 and a MacBook Pro spec refresh. Seriously, just take a step back, take a deep breath, and wait for the next generation of product. Even Amazon is said to have a new Fire on tap.

CES 2012 is set to be a huge show. Intel will have a large showing as nearly every computer company will debut several ultrabooks built on Intel’s latest platform. Expect at least some of these Wintel MacBook Air clones to hit within the next month or so. Most of these models will be built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform, which features a more effeicent battery management than the current ultrabooks. Plus, the new models will be less expensive and there will be more to choose from.

Next week’s massive trade show will no doubt play host to several Android tablet announcement. These models will feature quad-core CPUs that will run circles around the current tablet processors. Hopefully the new models will also ship with Android 4.0 although, if these do not, expect the models announced at MWC in late February to feature Ice Cream Sandwich.

Mobile World Congress has turned into the mobile industry’s CES. It’s massive. Last year Samsung announced the Galaxy S2 at the show. Nvidia took the wraps off of the Tegra 3 platform. LG debuted the Optimus 3D and Optimus Pad. However, the trick with MWC is that many of the phones announced at the European trade show will not hit the states for months.

Amazon set the tablet market ablaze with the Kindle Fire. But it’s been said since almost the beginning that there will be two models. It’s doubtful that they will replace or even drop the price on the 7-inch Fire, but there’s a strong possibility that a larger screen model will hit in early 2012.

The main exceptions to this rule involve HDTVs. Now is the perfect time to buy an HDTV as long as you’re not interested in the smart TV nonsense (you shouldn’t be). Retailers are looking to offload 2011 models and most stores will have stellar deals as the Super Bowl nears. Keep in mind, in most cases, an HDTV is simply a monitor for a cable or satellite box. Don’t be swayed by a fancy Smart TV demo. If you want Netflix and YouTube on your HDTV, buy a $200 Boxee Box or a $100 Roku.

Waiting is hard. Hell, it sucks. But right now there isn’t anything new. Cell phones and tablets are rocking hardware available from the beginning of 2011. The current ultrabooks are pricey and limited compared to models set to hit as early as this week.

There will always be something better on the horizon. That’s the problem with this game. However, when you turn around and look at what’s currently available, it’s best to set your sights ahead. There really is something better down the road this time.

[image credit: flickr/thecrazyfilmgirl]