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Re: How long will the s3 be relevant?
My last phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, I bought in March of 2011. At the time, it was the first VZW 4G LTE phone, and the specs were above and beyond anything else out there. In late August of this year, I picked up the S3, and while my Thunderbolt was still "usable", the S3 obviously blows it out of the water. 18 months. By next next spring when that phone turns 2, it will be completely left in the dust by ANYTHING out there.
Originally Posted by Targon
It's hard to judge what resources a phone will NEED based on CURRENT technology, which is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. For sake of argument, let's define "needing" as minimal recommended requirements to run the latest Android operating system, and "relevant" as a phone that meets those criteria. I'd say as early as next summer and definitely next fall we'll already be seeing phones with 3GB+ RAM -- which will probably be the standard for running whatever the next iteration of Android is, whether it be KLP or something else. I don't disagree that the S3 should still be able to handle at least 1 more Android version upgrade, but after that history is not on it's side. There's also other hardware variables to consider, most importantly the processing power.
Bottom line? In my opinion, 12 months is about what you should expect for a phone to remain "relevant", i.e. able to be upgraded to whatever the current Android version is (though there's never a guarantee your device will get an official upgrade), and then probably a 6 month usability window past that... 18 months.
The S3 came out for Verizon in July, so... it should be a capable device through 2013. After that, and it will be pretty much obsolete -- not that you wouldn't be able to use it, but it will be lagging behind current technology. Keep in mind that by my own criteria, most people do use phones well after they've become obsolete...that's just the nature of the 2 year contracts we're forced into...
(And for what it's worth, I do actually believe the S3 is a powerhouse that will actually defy the normal limits of becoming obsolete...but it will happen)
If you were to buy an S3 now, you'd probably be content with it through until your next upgrade -- and let's face it, you can play the "Should I wait for xxx device rumored to come out soon" game for the rest of your life, but there are certain specific times of the year when new phones get released (i.e. Black Friday), so if you're coming up on an upgrade, waiting for a few weeks may not be a bad idea.
So...if you're thinking about getting a new phone *right now* and not 100% sold on the S3, *and* if you're a bleeding edge tech guy like I am... you're probably thinking that as we are already in November it may be best to wait to see what new devices the Christmas shopping season has in store. At the very least, the price of S3 is probably gonna drop a bit once the new phones like the HTC DNA force it off the top of the pedestal.