Phones and Obsolescence

On January 10, 2011, in Uncategorized, by scott

How crazy is it that phones have become the new computers? I’m not talking in the sense of what they do, but a sense of how the technology is progressing.

I remember a few years ago when it cost almost $1,000.00 for a processor! Yeah, just the processor, not the mother board, not the video card, not the RAM, just the processor. Oh, and when you assembled your computer including said processor, and spent almost $2,000.00, it was obsolete within two months. Software would inevitably be written that would outdate everything on which you had spent money and created.

If you wanted a discount laptop/notebook, you were looking to spend about twice what you would spend for a desktop system.

Today, that $1,000.00 could buy you a very nice machine that would likely not be obsolete for at least three years. Odds are, that computer would be able to run basic applications for at least five years and possibly beyond. (And that’s a notebook!)

This brings me to phones. The technology seems to currently be accelerating at the rate at which computers used to be. The recent increase in money and advertising in the Android operating system seems to have helped this exponential growth.

We go from the cell phones that cost $0.50 per minute that required a separate battery and external antennae to the current iPhone/Android phones. WOW, what a difference 10 years can make.

We now have phones that fit into our pockets that can access any information we desire within seconds at any time and at any location, so long as we can get a signal and have battery power to do so.

This brings me to the idea I began this rambling with. Tomorrow, 1/11/11, supposedly Verizon is going to announce a deal with Apple and bringing the iPhone to their network. Suddenly a whole new market that hasn’t had access to Apples little gem will have access to the best selling phone of all time. Which version will this be? Will they announce a new version? Will Verizon users get a remade version of the iPhone 4, thus possibly becoming obsolete in five to six months with the update that Apple annually seems to provide?

Look at the Android phones. G1, Droid, Droid 2, Samsung Epic, Motorola Atrix, and the list will continue. How far these devices have come in such a short amount of time is amazing.

How are phones the new computers (besides the computer power?) If you look at the long list of Android phones that have come out in the past five years, ask how many of those phones are more than three years old can run the current Android OS. Can the original G1 run Android version 2? How well can the original Motorola Droid run v2.2? (From my experience, it runs, but a bit slow and lacking on the app memory space)

It’s an exciting time for mobile computing with phone hardware included. I am really looking forward to seeing where the technology is headed, however, I fear that as the technology improves, carriers supplying this technology will only increase the cost to us, the consumers, in a market where our brand new phones are soon to be obsolete.

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