Can you make complete use of Hardware

I have in the last few years spend a lot of money on technology and found that technology changes fast and you are unable to really avail of the full potential of the hardware you have purchased, by the time the software that can do so is released, the hardware is obsolete.

Here is an general review of things that I have purchased and how the companies have not supported them anymore.

In the late 90's there was a company called DaVinci that created monochrome ogranisers that allowed adding more software to the device via a synch cradle, similar to the Palm Pilots. This was an amazing device and quite well priced, but the lack of software and SDK crippled it and soon killed it. I however believe that it relied on VB3 for software development.

Then Microsoft had Compaq (Which was then a separate company and a competitor to HP) release the Aero and the iPaq range of devices that used the Microsoft Pocket PC operating system. There were a lot of enthusiasts that worked on software for these devices, this could have been what iPhones are today, but somewhere, Microsoft missed the point in realising what they had, there was good support in terms of Development Software, you could choose between Embedded VB and Embedded C++ to develop. A lot of sites grew around this system and these were upgraded to Pocket PC 2002, then It was soon called Windows Mobile when they introduced phone functionality. Earlier I was using the iPaq as a phone using a CF Card cradle and a Nokia PCMCIA Card that allowed me to make calls. It was a bulky device but it was a colour touch screen smart phone. When Nokia was still releasing the 7110 WAP phones. With Windows Mobile, the devices sold a few but did not take off like hot cakes, infact they died down a bit, due to the frequent updates and the inability to upgrade an previous version to a current version of the Windows Mobile OS.

Pinnacle had a wonderful PCI internal bridge that allowed for capture of analog video and capture it in MP2 format and if some one had a DVD writer (just being released) you could burn a DVD. This was the first iteration of the software, in about a year the software had changed to a latter version 3 or 4 (I guess) This was made to function with Windows 98, with 2000 it had issues and when upgraded to XP around 2002 the software would not support the hardware and the PIC card would fail to function on the new mother boards.

More recently, Pulse introduced the Pulse 2GB pens and these were good, they captured text and recorded sound but soon there was a newer version 4GB that did not use the cradle used in the earlier versions and used a mini usb port for connection. Thereby nearly rendering the earlier pen nearly useless. It still does what it is supposed to and the software supports it, but there is new functionality with the 4GB.

I had purchased an iPaq from HP the RX4500 where I saw some use of mobile apps for a client, It cost me a bit and it ran Windows Mobile 5.5 and the inability to upgrade it to 6.0 or 6.5 rendered it near unusable for development.

I got an iPod Touch, the second gen and now Apple has decided to discontinue support for the iPod 2 Gen, the iPhone 3G, and so on..

The idea is that hardware does not come cheap, and given the lifespan of the devices, it is a bit of a blow to the customer that are early adopters. It is because of them that the software/hardware is adopted by the masses, but when the manufacturer make them redundant, it is a blow to the customers confidence. There should be a law that almost should expect the manufacturers to indicate the life cycle of the product and provide an option to the customer to upgrade the hardware with the latest version at a minimal cost (more so like a buy back) for being an early adopted of the technology.

I am not sure how many agree with this but it did cost me in excess of $50,000 when I look back to add up the cost of all hardware that I must have purchased and were not used efficiently and were made redundant. Not to mention the countless gaming devices, ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, Sega Saturn, PS2, XBOX 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo Cube, iPads, iPods, MP3 players, etc... and games for most of these consoles.

Is this a small price to pay for being up to date with technology?