Enough With the New Cell Phone Models, Already
It's true that the majority of consumer-level technical advancements in recent years have come in the cell phone space. It seems that every day there's a new "got to have it" phone. The carriers and the manufacturers think that this rapid development and release cycle will encourage consumers to buy new phones more often. What it seems to be doing, though, is desensitizing everyone.
My current phone is a couple years old. Most of my friends outside the tech industry replace their phone every two years - when their cell phone contract comes due and the discount on a new phone is greatest. I've written before about how ridiculous this idea is, how we should adopt the European cell phone model. Most people only need a phone that's "good enough." And refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on an iterative upgrade.
The industry isn't helping this attitude. By continually developing new models that are claimed to be much better than even the recent versions, it creates a perception that a better unit will always be a few months down the road. Thus, why would someone buy an upgrade phone without a new-contract discount? These phones are expensive and "obsolete" in just a few months.
The recent Samsung Galaxy S3 announcement is a great example. Samsung spent weeks getting the tech press hyped up on this upcoming phone. When the announcement came, though, even the geeks were left disappointed. This will clearly not be a phone that the average American will shell out hundreds of dollars to purchase. Swing and a miss, Samsung.
As a tech writer I've become exhausted trying to care about these minor developments in the cell phone industry. It's challenging to write about something that even the audience is no longer excited about. Maybe things will change, but it's probably not going to happen until the manufacturers cut back on the phones they produce. No more than four per year per carrier is my suggestion.