1. kgor93's Avatar
    For the longest time, it has always been that your phone was obsolete within 2 years and you needed to upgrade if you wanted your phone to not be insanely laggy. But now phones are coming out that are as powerful as low-mid-range computers and the improvements in new hardware is slowing down. It used to be that performance doubled every generation. Last gen it was about a 50% improvement and this gen it's about 30%. What this means is that older hardware stays relevant longer. Heck, I still know people happy with Galaxy S3's or iPhone 5's.

    In addition, carriers are moving away from the traditional 2 year upgrade cycle and to a 2 year payment plan so you don't NEED to upgrade to get the most out of your money. So what do you think, have we reached the point where people will start keeping their phones for 4-5 years maybe more?
    12-17-2014 11:27 AM
  2. SpookDroid's Avatar
    I don't think so... At least not for the average to geeky user. Although your phone is really still capable after two years, that craving for a new device will always kick in. And yes, I know how consumerist that sounds, but it's the reality of our general society. Sure, there are always folks who are still happy with their 2002 flip phones and don't even consider looking elsewhere, and those of us who are looking for the next best thing every 6 months to a year. I've seen people own four or five different phones in less than a year.

    Moore's law (the one that stated that tech would double in processing performance every couple of years) has reached an impasse this year, and for many, it's just about to 'end' its run.
    12-17-2014 11:48 AM
  3. Rukbat's Avatar
    You could always add a hard drive (or replace the existing one with a larger one) and add RAM to your desktop, change the graphics card, etc. Until recently, when it just got too slow to bear, I was running a core 2 duo 2.3GHz desktop with 4GB of RAM. (And about 3TB of drive space total, booting 4 different OSs.)

    You can't yet do that with a phone. Yet. When modular phones come out, we'll be able to change the 3GB RAM module for a 6GB module, the 32GB storage module for a 128GB storage module, etc. Then we'll be able to keep phones until they just don't make larger modules for that phone. (Although my spare phone is a Motorola V551 - about 10 years old - and it still makes and takes calls, has a limited number of internet apps [browser and email], takes pretty decent pictures. But it's not my main phone.)

    As far as the amount of improvement between generations, there are two things. 1) They're going for more flash (water-resistance, which means nothing, but it sells, "Turbo" charging, which does nothing but kill the battery faster) and 2) there's a point of diminishing returns. Once, all you had to do to double the speed of a chip was shorten the paths and make them narrower. When they're narrow enough, the path is narrower than the wavelength of an electron and, even though it's a conductor, it won't conduct, so you can't get speed that way. That's one of the reasons for multicore CPUs. (Another is that the faster the clock speed, the more heat you have to dissipate and even a CPU designed with high temperature semiconductor material running at 120C would be a bit warm in your pocket.)

    SpookDroid, Moore's law says that the number of transistors in a dense IC doubles every 2 years. People have used the wording changed all sorts of ways - the power changes, the speed changes, every year, every 6 months - but Moore never said any of those things.

    Of course, the speed at which technology increases, itself increases. (The increase in technology is somewhere between a 2nd and 3rd order function.) So it's probably closer to 6 months than 2 years now, but it's the number of transistor junctions that can be packed into a given space - and we're running off the end of the dock. There's a minimum number of molecules needed for a transistor. The next "quantum leap" (no pun intended) will probably be quantum computing, where the spin of a sun-atomic particle can denote a bit.
    12-17-2014 11:55 AM
  4. LeoRex's Avatar
    Discounting the early adopter and tech fiends.... to be honest, the effective window of phones has increased quite a bit over the past couple of years... things started to plateau with the SIII generation. The Galaxy SIII and its peers, paired with Android 4+, were the first Android phones that kind of matured. There are quite a few people on that generation currently (often cuz they're stuck there due to contract nonsense). And while they are really showing their age, the phones that immediately followed are aging really well.

    Around that time (late 2012), mobile hardware really finally hit the point where it wasn't playing catch up. The last two 'generations' focused more on the whole package rather than performance. The Snapdragon 800 (G2, Nexus 5) and 801 phones (S5, M8, G3)... I can easily see those phones being quite good well into 2016. Similar to how the 'spec wars' kind of stopped with laptops, once even bargain units came packing serious horsepower.

    The biggest thing holding them back is the operating system (OEMs tend to have short memories). But for those looking to long haul, they always have the custom ROM community (why not? Its not like you have to worry about warranties at that point).... which can extend a phone's life for years. There are Lollipop ROMs for the three year old Galaxy Nexus, as an example.

    I mean, the Nexus 5, a year after its launch, is still one of the best bargains you'll find (even though they might have stopped production on it). That sucker will get another year without breaking a sweat.... some initial launch bugs aside, I have 5.0 on my wife's 5 and it runs REALLY well, smooth, responsive, you name it.
    12-17-2014 02:08 PM
  5. Inders99's Avatar
    Discounting the early adopter and tech fiends.... to be honest, the effective window of phones has increased quite a bit over the past couple of years... things started to plateau with the SIII generation. The Galaxy SIII and its peers, paired with Android 4+, were the first Android phones that kind of matured. There are quite a few people on that generation currently (often cuz they're stuck there due to contract nonsense). And while they are really showing their age, the phones that immediately followed are aging really well.
    I went through the "gotta have it" phase a little while ago. The current offerings like the Moto's and G3 look really nice but I'm gonna hang with my GS3 for a while. Still functions fine, a bit slow at times but still quite serviceable. I don't play games with it so I don't need the latest and greatest processor speeds and I don't really run any apps that slow it down. Since there's nothing really compelling me to buy it I might as well hang and see what the next generations come up with. Gotta say, the GS3 has been one tough phone, I have nothing but a Elago Breathe very thin case on it, I work construction and my phone gets abused way more than most here ever see...and it's still ticking.
    12-17-2014 04:59 PM
  6. kirksucks's Avatar
    Usually for me after about 2 years the factory resets get more frequent and the hardware just starts to feel like it can't handle newer apps and os.

    There's something to be said for people who are rough on their phones. Not saying irresponsible but normal use, drops and what not. The internals just seem to not work as well after being banged around for 2+years.
    12-17-2014 05:01 PM
  7. andyhurley's Avatar
    I've always been happy to keep a phone 2-3 years after which time there tend to be physical problems rather than technical ones that prompt a refresh. All this trend means for me is that I don't feel so left behind.

    I just lent my old Pre3 to a work colleague this week after his phone broke while he awaits a replacement and it surprised me just how functional it still is. Sure there are lots of things it can't and won't ever do but all the core tasks are there (google contacts, calendar and email in the case of my work colleague) and the gui is still as snappy as the day I bought it. I hope I will be able to say the same about my Nexus 5 in 2 years time.
    12-17-2014 05:23 PM
  8. jpr196's Avatar
    I think we are reaching that plateau. The deciding factor for me is what advantages does upgrading my advice give me that my old device doesn't. My 2012 Droid Razr Maxx HD is still a phenomenal phone for my needs. Runs everything any newer phone can, perfect size for me, great battery. Only problem with many phones is there's no easy way to upgrade the OS as new iterations are released. So I'll be stuck on Jelly Bean for as long as I keep the phone. That and the camera is mediocre.
    12-21-2014 01:01 PM

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