Old phones, planned obsolesence, and you.

Started a twitter conversation about iPhone vs. Android that is gonna take more than 140 characters…

My wife got an iPod touch well over 2 years ago. She got an iPhone 4 maybe a year ago.

Meanwhile, I’ve had some smart phone or another for years, the latest being the Motorola Droid (sometimes called Droid 1, I suppose, but whatever – it was the original, introduced as the first Android phones were coming out).

I totally get the fact that no piece of technology will be as cool and super as the day you unwrap it. I fully expect that within months (or weeks) of me receiving an iPhone 4S in late October they’ll unveil an iPhone 5 that will do stuff my phone I haven’t gotten yet won’t. This is the business model that has prevailed in western civilization since the ’56 Chevrolet Bel Air was replaced by the ’57 (and probably before that).

What I’m not cool with is this – whereas my wife gave her 3 year old iPod Touch to one of our kids and it’s still perfectly usable, albeit limited, my 20 month old Droid can’t handle apps at all anymore. Even major ones, like the FB app, seem to cause it to have conniptions after the latest update. The Android operating system (at least the one I have) seems vulnerable to problems that persist even after you uninstall apps that it turns out the phone can’t handle. I don’t know if it’s leaving hooks in the base configuration, or what, but twice this year I’ve had to do a hard reset, which is an hour long process involving a call to Verizon for mojo incantations each time (yeah, even Verizon’s auto-activate calling baked into my phone is broken now). Until my iPhone arrives, I’ll neither install nor update any non-essential apps and pray I can continue to handle calls, e-mails and text messages in the meantime.

That, to me, is a broken user experience, and it’s why Android is slowly losing market share. A comparable problem plagues the tablets. Apple has the iPad; everyone else has a hacked-together bunch of bits that retailers don’t know how to display or sell. And let’s not even talk about the HP tablet debacle…

I hope they can fix this, and I realize that as an early Android adopter I may have experienced issues that Droid 2 or 3 users, for example, may not face until their phones or tablets are 2 or 3 years old. And I will also add – at 2 or 3 years old I fully expect that if the hardware’s not shot, the usability will be, in that many apps will be out there that don’t play well with an older piece of equipment.

I just think that at 12-18 months, I was experiencing way too many of those glitches, and that’s why my next phone is an iPhone.

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