Will it ever end?

If you’re looking for a quick answer to the above question then I would say “no”. A slightly lengthier answer would be “probably not”. So what am I on about I hear you ask? I am talking about the constant stream of new devices in different shapes, sizes, colours, slightly different hardware changes, new processors, etc etc.

When I bought my first phone; a Nokia 3210 it lasted me for a couple of years, a slightly different shell or case would keep me amused for months. Now I feel imprisoned in a two year contract with a phone that I sold on eBay months ago; a HTC Desire. I am 18 months through my current contract and I have had 5 different phones, each one being slightly better than the previous one. But this is starting to get depressing, after 4-5 months your current device seems slow, the manufacturers cannot be bothered to update it properly and the only way to keep up with latest phones is to spend every weekend researching which custom ROM to install. Companies like HTC and Samsung do not help by announcing new phones every few weeks.

Let’s say today you wanted to buy a new phone. Some people may wait for the next iPhone (whatever they decide to call it), some people may wait for the Nexus Prime (whatever that might look like), some people may get a Samsung Galaxy S2 (before it’s banned in the UK) and some people would be stumped – not being able to make a decision what to do. Do you wait for the newest device that will no doubt cost you more ? Or do you buy an older device for less money? I suppose money is one element that controls what people do, with the price their new device will fetch on eBay after six months being another.

Tablets are equally as complicated, with next generation chipsets being mentioned all over the place and different software versions governing what people do. I was looking into buying another tablet a few weeks ago and the varying answers put me off. Take the recent price drop on the Asus Transformer, my initial reaction “ooh I want/need one of those” and then the doubt set in. Will it get an update to Ice Cream Sandwich (stupid name)? Will it be able to play the latest games in 6-8 months? Will the Tegra 3 chips be way better? Should I save some more money and buy a Tegra 3 device instead? Should I buy an Andypad? Should I buy an Archos 101 from Carphone Warehouse? Should I just not buy a third tablet, will the tablet have a decent developer following, have I got a problem? So there ended my Tablet buying traumas.

Moore’s Law is partly to blame here, with advancements in technology for processors, memory and cameras being the main factors in buying a new device. The manufacturers would be stupid not to want the latest CPU in their new tablet. Which makes me wonder how a certain manufacturer manages to only release one phone and one tablet a year and still manage to stay ahead of all of the competition. I guess they have created a perfect mix of hardware, software and marketing that makes most people not worry about not having the latest and greatest.

Software is also a massive factor that affects your choice. For instance if you buy an older device, will it get the latest updates? Some older Android phones and tablets cannot use the Adobe Flash Player because it does not support older versions of Android. Another example of this is with the Mango update for Windows Phone, people have spent the last few months speculating which older devices will get the update, only to find out they all will (eventually). Every time HTC release another phone it comes with a new version of their skin for Android; Sense. This seems to make people want the latest phone to have the latest version (I hate Sense though). Apple release newer versions of iOS that are supposed to work with previous generation devices, yet we still hear of people who have slow devices after updating. Apple also make sure that each new product has the new software as well, which adds to it’s desirability.

Where will we be in a few years time? What will Apple have created by then? How many small UK companies will have tried to conquer the tablet market with repackaged Chinese tablets? Will Samsung be allowed to sell anything even slightly phone related?

So rant over. It’s just my opinion on the current state of the mobile industry. Let us know your feelings on the subject.

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    • James Pearce
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