All this boils down to this: To avoid being stuck with a platform down the road, it's best to think carefully about a device before buying. But before you rush off to create a spreadsheet comparing processor speeds and screen resolution, take a moment to think about how you'll actually use a device. Do you want something for light email, or to replace your laptop? Do you want a phone with a big screen or one with strong apps? Make those decisions first, and let them guide your purchases.
"So many people get wrapped up in trying to optimize a purchase," Howe said. "My best piece of advice is to try things out and buy things you like. "