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Grow Your Business Technology

Want a Gadget? Online Service Tells You to Buy or Wait



An online shopping service promises to take the worry out of buying mobile phones for your business. All you have to do, the company says, is follow their predictions on pricing and new model releases to avoid getting the wrong phone at the wrong time and suffering a case of buyer’s remorse .

Decide.com, a 25-person startup in Seattle, opened in June using proprietary data and predictive algorithms to help buyers purchase laptops, televisions and cameras by predicting future model releases and price changes. Today it added mobile phones to the list of consumer electronics products it covers.

"Like wristwatches a generation ago, mobile phones are the gadget status symbol of our age and making a bad purchase decision can be devastating," said Mike Fridgen, Decide's CEO. "Shoppers can now check decide.com to know when to buy phones before getting stuck with a two-year contract."

A survey conducted by Decide showed that almost half of buyers said they would wait five months for a new phone model to be released—the longest "willingness to wait" of any consumer electronics product category.

Decide's predictions are based on price data, model data and news and rumors, Michael Paulson, Decide's vice president of product, told BusinessNewsDaily. The service uses price prediction algorithms that sort through billions of observed price movements and more than 40 distinct factors. Decide examines the history, patterns and trends of  device models and mines the Web for gadget news and rumors. By applying advanced machine learning and text mining algorithms, it predicts future product releases.

Decide also provides a confidence rating for both its price predictions and model release predictions, Paulson said.  It summarizes its prediction in the form of simple buy or wait recommendations and allows users to get alerts for price or model updates.

Conventional wisdom about consumer electronics is that prices drop over time, which is generally true, Paulson said. What is less obvious is that prices fluctuate on a daily basis 20 percent of the time, and 50 percent of the time prices go up, not down.

Decide thrives on a climate of such rapid product model cycles and price volatility, he said.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.