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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Gateway Technologies

Gateway technologies entice curious onlookers who are afraid of the ramifications of using or purchasing new technology because of the possible side effects of doing so [just like gateway drugs]. They're usually smaller both in size and cost to their big brother counterparts and this "smallness" is the major enabling factor that gets new users to try them. But once the curious onlooker takes his first hit of the technology he's hooked and wants more.

Case in point, Apple.
With their new Mac Mini their marketing department accomplished two major feats at the same time.
  1. Decreased the size of the machine so it's not as big and looming - psychologically meaning there is little impact to the users environment since the machine is so small and quiet.
  2. Decreased the cost to own the machine by pricing it at $499.
Those two items will entice people like myself to purchase them because I'm not putting out a lot of money and the machine isn't going to take up much space on my work area. So even if I hate it I can still live with it without it taunting me every day because of it doesn't have an enormous presence in my environment. So if I like the machine and it outperforms my Windows based machines then I'd definitely consider purchasing a larger more powerful model. But if I don't like it then it's really no big deal because now I just have a small machine that looks cute and Shannon will still like it even if I don't.

Example 2: iPod Shuffle
Same song and dance as above. They introduced a low cost item with "flavors" of the functionality of it's big brother, the iPod, but without all the costs associated with it. So now people afraid of buying an expensive iPod and not knowing if they'll like it can spend $99 and try the iPod Shuffle. If they like it then they can always buy the iPod and another user is created.

My Predictions
We'll be seeing lots more in the way of small form factors and low prices enticing folks to use their "gateway technology" products. I chose to look at Apple because of the amount of press their new products are getting and knowing it's something everyone can relate to, even those who aren't already users.

By Jason Dowdell at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

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