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Smartphone Upgrade Cycle – Do We Need to Upgrade Every Year?

It’s true that we love our smartphones. We love our iPhones/Android phones to a degree that we can’t even put it down while we are cooking, talking, showing, watching tv, and sleeping. We don’t know about you but, it happened to us too many times, we dropped our phones on our faces when we fell asleep at night on the bed. It’s not healthy and we know that but it’s just too convenient to have one almighty gadget on hand that we can do almost all sorts of things we’d like to do. Some people might think that this is a new behavior (using smartphones while we are ready for bed) but it’s just a substitute for a few things we did before the smartphone era. For instance, before the smartphone, we still read before bed (on the bed), we still watch tv before bed (on the bed), and we still talking over the cellphone (or landline) before we fell asleep. The smartphone just a great gadget which has the ability to perform all of those above tasks for us. Just like all the successful products dominating their own categories – The conveniencethe focus of making people’s lives easier brought them to the top of their fields.

Hardware Has Caught Up

After 10 years of the first smartphone (iPhone) inception, the hardware components of smartphones have finally caught up with the software’s ability

 

The annual new product (smartphone) release from every single smartphone maker cannot exude any extraordinary magical feelings and cannot create too much excitements for customers to expect.

In the early days of the smartphone, software was waiting for hardware to speed up in order to play in the same playground to make devices better. After 10 years of the first smartphone (iPhone) inception, the hardware components of smartphones have finally caught up with the software’s ability. Therefore, it runs faster and better. Also, all the magical tricks that software can give to hardware are starting to be given to most of the smartphones from mid-range to the high-end devices. The annual new product (smartphone) release from every single smartphone maker cannot exude any extraordinary magical feelings and cannot create too much excitements for customers to expect. There isn’t any revolutionary “the next big thing” exists anymore. Every product release has been an incremental hardware update or, even, just a software refinement or trick (like the animoji and AR Emoji).

 

There isn’t any revolutionary “the next big thing” exists anymore. Every product release has been an incremental hardware update or, even, just a software refinement or trick (like the animoji and AR Emoji).

 

Platforms Don’t Matter that Much Anymore

As we mentioned that the hardware advancements along with the software improvements on the smartphone turf let the leading mobile platforms merge in the middle of the road in a sense. iOS has been dominating in the high-end smartphone segment and the hippie circle as well as fashion target segmentations even though it lacked in features (hardware) and functionalities (software) in the early days. Android has been thriving across the all segments thanks to its strategy similar to the early days of the PC vs Mac war time. Although android has been taking market shares all across segments, it fails to really get into the core high-end device users. Sure, those users buy and try flagship android phones but they don’t use android phones as their daily drivers. Worse, they used android phones because their beloved iPhones couldn’t do a few certain things that android devices could do.

Now, what android has, hardware-wise, iPhone has as well. All the advanced hardware enabled the software to stuff all the functionalities that android phones had but iPhone didn’t into both platforms products. iPhone users are no longer needing to carry an android phone for some features only android phones possess. For android users, iPhone has become more like its twin brothers/sisters that not only they alike but act alike (gesture control on both devices). The smartphone war is over to the eye of consumers because it does not matter which platform they choose, the switching cost is being cut to a minimum.

 

Price is Rising

Do you miss the old days when a subsidy iPhone only cost us about $99 USD or the most expensive one was only $399? We do miss those days. However, those good old days were over for a while (thanks to T-Mobile); nowadays, an mid-range smartphone will cost you as much as the premium devices used to cost you during the smartphone subsidy model time. If you want to get a flagship device from big name brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Google, you’d better get around $1,000 USD cash ready for the device. Even from so called “Flagship killer” brands such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, the cost of devices from those companies are about $600 USD. It’s a lot of money to shave from consumers to get only a minor upgrade device compared with the model a year earlier.

 

Note:

Even though T-Mobile was the main contributor to put the smartphone subsidy model to the graveyard, it also brought a few great products to the market. For instance, smartphone leasing model, annual upgrade model, affordable pricing model, and entertainment channel partnership model. Consumers should also give them the credits for all those good stuff as well.

 

Decisions – if you are (Blank), you should (Blank)

As we mentioned that smartphone industry already reached the mature stage in terms of the hardware plus software innovations from about 2 years ago. The annual new product release is just a minor hardware upgrade along with software marketing tricks. However, it’s another 1000 bucks buy if you decide to upgrade your phone. Therefore, we have our measurements to give to decide if you should upgrade your device every year or not.

If you are a parent and you take tons of photos and videos of your kid then …

You should upgrade your phone every year. Of course, the give-in here is that we assume that 1000 bucks won’t break your bank.

Really, it’s not because of the photo or video qualities are going to be extremely different if you upgrade your phone to the newest and greatest smartphone. It’s the psychological feeling that if you don’t have it, you won’t get the best of  it when you take photos or videos of your kids. That feeling really can make a huge impact on some parents’ minds. Therefore, if you are a parent, you should consider to do so.

 

If you do NOT take tons of photos and videos but do everything else then …

You shouldn’t upgrade your phones every year even if you have the money to do so. Really that why spend $1,000 USD to buy a phone with some image improvements that you cannot even tell? Or shave 1000 bucks to upgrade your phone for a different design of the screen (top-notch or slightly more curved)?

Seriously, you should just use that 1000 bucks treating yourself for something better such as to hit to the Vegas for the weekend or just to go to a good restaurant for a night out. You really won’t care the difference between the new iPhone and the iPhone you just bought a year ago if you aren’t the fanatic of the smartphone. So … why do it?

 

 

Therefore, the decision really goes down to the mind of consumers. If you psychologically will feel you are in an inferior position if you don’t have a most current smartphone in hands, you should spend the money and just go ahead and upgrade your device. If not, you should happily use that 1000 bucks somewhere else 🙂

 

If you psychologically will feel you are in an inferior position if you don’t have a most current smartphone in hands, you should spend the money and just go ahead and upgrade your device