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Three reasons why Americans arenít upgrading their phones

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Three reasons why Americans arenít upgrading their phones

Old 05-17-19, 11:00 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Three reasons why Americans arenít upgrading their phones

I guess the trope about everyone always buying the newest phone every six months has become outdated.

Last month, Verizon and AT&T made official something youíve probably been aware of for a while: American smartphone owners are upgrading a lot less than they used to. In fact, theyíre hitting record lows at the two biggest US carriers, with people apparently more content than ever to keep hold of their existing device. This is a global trend, as the smartphone market is reaching maturity and saturation in many developed nations, and yet itís most pronounced in the United States for a few reasons particular to the country.

...

Satisfied existing customers, a failure to deliver innovation to price points where people would be ready to upgrade, and the almost total absence of Chinese competition have sapped the US phone marketís vitality. Smartphones are still fun, exciting, and full of novel features, but you might have to go outside the United States to find one thatís both compelling and affordable.

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Old 05-18-19, 12:20 AM
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Lack of a 3.5 mm audio jack on Apple and Moto flagship phones... yup, killed the market.

Or maybe it was that $1000 price point...

Frankly, I keep my Samsung S5 because it has an audio jack, removable battery, expandable micro SD, is water resistant to 3 feet, it works well, AND still fits in my pocket. I see no compelling reason to "upgrade" to less.

Now if something came along, did all the above, and had some magic battery that lasted a week.... then, yeah... OK.
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Old 05-18-19, 01:24 AM
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I got as high as a Galaxy S8, but due to the lack of durability of the S7 and S8's glass edges, I returned to using the Galaxy S6.
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Old 05-18-19, 01:25 AM
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I've been looking for a new phone for 2 years. I need a headphone jack, a removable battery, and a non-Android OS. Or at least an Android phone that can be rooted clean.

Until then, I continue on with a 2013-vintage BlackBerry 10 device. I need a phone, maps, and basic web-browsing. So far, so good. If I accidentally drop it in the toilet, I can Ebay another one for about $50.

Am I going to pay $1,000 for a cell phone?? Ha: never. And I ever going to conduct any kind of financial transactions via. a phone or any form of portable device?: Never. Besides, bike shops love cash. Just love it; all the best deals are negotiated over a thick wad of bills.

I have no need for appallingly insecure and vacuously time-wasting apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Or seemingly innocuous Trojan Horse games that require access to your cloud files, camera, microphone, contacts, etc.
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Old 05-18-19, 01:58 AM
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Hmmm...

Is that the reason phones are now being made almost solid glass.

Glass fronts
Glass backs
Glass edges.

Oh, and batteries that take an act of GOD to get out of the glass phones.
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Old 05-18-19, 10:26 AM
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Old Guy, Late to the game ..
A more savvy friend helped me pick , S8+ and the protective case* arrived before the phone..

*Otterbox ..

Phone travels in a Pannier .. I don't Do Selfies...
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Old 05-18-19, 11:10 AM
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I've had 3 cell phones in 25 years. My first had a red LED display, My 2'nd was a flip phone. The only reason I stopped using them is because they wouldn't work on the next generation network formats.

My current Motorola Moto E phone I've had for 5 years, and plan to keep it another 5 at least.
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Old 05-18-19, 02:25 PM
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Same thing happened to microwaves. Only difference is, a new microwave costs less than the one you bought last time. There seems to be no real ceiling on phones.

They have a 55" LED TV at WalMart for $228. The most expensive countertop microwave they carry is under $300-- and the "best seller" is $45.99. Meanwhile, a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is $1,300.
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Old 05-18-19, 05:00 PM
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I depend on members of my family upgrading. All my iPhones have been hand-me-downs. Never spent a dime on an iPhone. I'm good with that.
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Old 05-18-19, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Same thing happened to microwaves. Only difference is, a new microwave costs less than the one you bought last time. There seems to be no real ceiling on phones.

They have a 55" LED TV at WalMart for $228. The most expensive countertop microwave they carry is under $300-- and the "best seller" is $45.99. Meanwhile, a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is $1,300.
Phones in that price range are fashion statements, like expensive wrist watches.

Practically went out the window with the drive for "thin."

Fashionistas and fanbois will continue to buy them. The rest of us have reached a point of saturation... like the red stapler. Nice, but not a necessity.
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Old 05-18-19, 05:46 PM
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Wow... Glad I stopped needed the newest phone after my Razor died ('twas a sad, sad day).
My newest phone is a $125 LG android from Target (you can pop the back off and replace the battery in about a minute).
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Old 05-18-19, 06:00 PM
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I tend not to do premium stuff apart from headphones as I'm very fussy about sound quality. On a scale of £30 (very budget smart phone) to £2000 (top premium phones) my phone would likely be about £50, just up from bottom so it actually works well without any horrible compromises just more acceptable compromises. I've seen people pay perhaps £1,000 over a couple of years for with their contract for an entry level Apple phone with limited storage and the phone seems worse than my budget phone which is dual sim with a micro SD slot (takes up to 128GB, I use a cheap 64GB card). They had more limited non-expandable storage and it caused a lot of problems putting everything on the phone and constantly moving stuff they wanted onto the phone.

I think the most popular phones in China are phones that cost about $40. A basic smartphone has a factory door price of about $10-15 and for me about £100 would be my limit for a phone. I just wouldn't need anything above that price. That would get me a phone with 2-3GB memory, 32GB built in storage and probably a 8 core chipset with a good screen and features. It's all I personally would need. Why would I waste up to £1900 extra on a phone that doesn't deliver anything much better. Maybe a slightly sharper screen, a few novel gimmicks, a bit quicker. I'd rather have the £1900 and can think of many better uses for that £1900 which I would enjoy more plus that £2000 phone could be easily stolen at some point.

I'd like to think people are coming to their senses and not over-reaching with their finances just to get a slightly better smartphone than their friends and workmates.
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Old 05-19-19, 12:31 AM
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I agree with the article; if I was in the market for a (brand new) phone today it would be the OnePlus 7 or the Huawei P30. One of those will be available from one carrier in the US. For the most part all that's on offer is Samsung and Apple. And they've mostly been doing incremental upgrades.
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Old 05-19-19, 02:38 AM
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I'm in the process of upgrading from Samsung S4 series to Motorola Moto Z3 series. Just have to get my SIM card upgraded.

Personally I'm not big on phone apps.
  • Phone Calls
  • Rarely messaging, but occasionally.
  • Internet
  • Strava + a couple of personal apps.

Thinking of my use, an old phone could last quite some time. A few things might drive an upgrade.
  • Old phone broken or wearing out. Dang charging port issues.
  • Battery Life
  • Thinner, bigger screen, etc. But, it depends on where one is on the upgrade paths. One can only change format so many times
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Old 05-19-19, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm in the process of upgrading from Samsung S4 series to Motorola Moto Z3 series. Just have to get my SIM card upgraded.

Personally I'm not big on phone apps.
  • Phone Calls
  • Rarely messaging, but occasionally.
  • Internet
  • Strava + a couple of personal apps.

Thinking of my use, an old phone could last quite some time. A few things might drive an upgrade.

  • Old phone broken or wearing out. Dang charging port issues.
  • Battery Life
  • Thinner, bigger screen, etc. But, it depends on where one is on the upgrade paths. One can only change format so many times


Battery capacity and thinner are mutually exclusive. You want more battery... then you need more battery volume. Often, that IS achieved by the consumer adding a case with a battery, thus defeating that whole "thin" thing.

Although, as a fashion accesory, I suppose one could have a thin phone in a fat case for daily use, and remove the case for dressy evenings out. Sort of the phone equivalent of "the little black dress."
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Old 05-19-19, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
*Otterbox ..
+1, my Samsung S6 has lived in one since 2015, great case and protection and supports induction charging.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Battery capacity and thinner are mutually exclusive. You want more battery... then you need more battery volume. Often, that IS achieved by the consumer adding a case with a battery, thus defeating that whole "thin" thing.

Although, as a fashion accesory, I suppose one could have a thin phone in a fat case for daily use, and remove the case for dressy evenings out. Sort of the phone equivalent of "the little black dress."
Not exactly.

99.9% of the new phones are more compact than my old Motorola Flip Phone, and far more powerful.

But, there are a few things that are changing. For example, a small battery taking up say 40% of the area of the back of the phones, and new batteries being large and flat, covering 90% of the area of the back of the phone.

Screen area is also slowly increasing, also giving more space for batteries.

When most of the batteries were removable, how many were actually ever removed and replaced? For quite some time, buying batteries through mainstream sources has been expensive, although slowly dropping.

But, now, most of the high-end phones have non-removable batteries. There are a few benefits of this to the phone companies. First of all, it is easier to make the phones weather resistant when the backs don't come off. Also, less likely the power conks out whenever the phone is bumped. One can also guarantee the battery quality when it is controlled by the company.

Then, over the years, the batteries degrade, so after 3 or 4 years, the battery capacity starts decreasing, significantly. Time for a new phone rather than a new battery.
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Old 05-19-19, 08:49 AM
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Cellphones are easily lost and damaged. My limit is $30.
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Old 05-19-19, 11:36 AM
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I upgraded from an S6 to a Note 8 earlier this year for work. It wasn't very expensive because somebody else had owned the N8 before me. It's a huge upgrade. Cell phones are the computers most people use most often these days, outside of work.
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Old 05-19-19, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Cell phones are the computers most people use most often these days, outside of work.
Yep....most of my stock trading are done on my phone too. Buy high, sell higher....
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Old 05-19-19, 01:54 PM
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I recently purchased an iPhone Xr. Prior was an iPhone 5. I buy what I need and use it till it's dead. In the case of the iPhone 5, I replaced the battery twice and would have kept replacing batteries but the volume buttons went nuts and could only manage volume via settings. GPS went out too, so maps and navigation were dead. All told, I feel like I got my money out of it.

The Xr is way more than I need. The battery lasts me about 4-5 days at a time quite easily. I'm not into any social media and really only use it for practical purposes like email, texts and calls. I might consult a map every so often or use the camera once in a blue moon. As long as the hardware holds up, I doubt I'll be in the market for another device for many years.

One thing I do specifically is avoid software and app updates as much as possible. Some university did a study and found that Apple phones performed worse with each update. My wife is more into 'latest & greatest" and I have noticed that as she updates her devices they do tend to become more sluggish and unstable. Apple was caught intentionally slowing older phones via software updates but tried to claim it was for "better user experience" or some such baloney. I could never understand why her devices slowly became more and more unstable and eventually unusable when all she ever did was install recommended updates. Apple is very persistent and more than a little sneaky in trying to force the updates, but I've managed to avoid them. I suppose there's a virus or hacking threat by avoiding the updates, but I don't use my devices for anything sensitive. I dunno.

Another thing Apple does is prevent users from returning to older iOS versions. When the device is first purchased it's plenty fast and very stable. After several OS updates, the device (and many of the apps) become almost unusable. There's no way to format the thing and go back to its original state. Oddly enough, the only solution is to buy another device. Funny how that works, huh?


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Old 05-19-19, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Not exactly.

99.9% of the new phones are more compact than my old Motorola Flip Phone, and far more powerful.

But, there are a few things that are changing. For example, a small battery taking up say 40% of the area of the back of the phones, and new batteries being large and flat, covering 90% of the area of the back of the phone.

Screen area is also slowly increasing, also giving more space for batteries.
Plus newer hardware and software uses less battery.

I recently upgraded from an s6 to an s10+. As something that I will use heavily every day for years, it's worth a grand. Same reasons I buy good car parts and nice toilet paper.
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Old 05-19-19, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Phones in that price range are fashion statements, like expensive wrist watches.

Practically went out the window with the drive for "thin."

Fashionistas and fanbois will continue to buy them. The rest of us have reached a point of saturation... like the red stapler. Nice, but not a necessity.
I bought the red stapler because I found a nearly full box of the staples for like a quarter.

All of my phones are a slave to the wall jack and I prefer to take a little radio with me on my bikes.

The only thing having the freedom accorded to a mobile phone has done is to allow everybody to hide behind it in voicemail.

PS If the world is about to end won't I hear an EAS alert interrupting Tommy James?
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Old 05-19-19, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Same thing happened to microwaves. Only difference is, a new microwave costs less than the one you bought last time. There seems to be no real ceiling on phones.

They have a 55" LED TV at WalMart for $228. The most expensive countertop microwave they carry is under $300-- and the "best seller" is $45.99. Meanwhile, a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is $1,300.
Difference being...phones are now pocket computers and internet terminals, that can do almost anything--particularly when they can interface with other gadgets (IoT, car headunits, TV remotes etc.). That doesn't mean that costing more than a mortgage payment isn't unreasonable, ofc.

Whereas a microwave (or most any other appliance), is always and will forever just be something you cook food with that does an unglamorous job....unless you spring for stainless steel enclosure--then it glamorously does an unglamorous job
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Old 05-19-19, 06:32 PM
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I can find the kind that go over the range and regular ones FREE on Craigslist. Why bother?
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