Hey Google: Your Phones Are Too Damned High!

Planned Obsolescence: An Fu you move to consumers

Obsolescence for the desktop computer has historically been two years. Currently that cycle has come to a screeching halt. Innovation is at a standstill. Smartphones are the center of computing for most. They now have a two-year cycle.

Google’s once standard bearing phone, the Nexus 6, is at the end of the line for updates. After two years on the market, no more operating system updates is the hard and fast rule.

A scant two years after release and it is history. It works very well, but Google says two years of OS updates only.

From my vantage point, this is all about forcing you to shell out more cash for a phone you do not need, or may even want. Has technology advanced so far so fast that two years is it for a handheld? Is this necessary? I am not convinced that it has this way, unless you want to perpetual live on the bleeding edge of technology.

Over time, phones have gone from having replaceable batteries to those that no longer have this option The one element that can be replaced easily is no longer so. The unsaid concept is that phones are a disposable commodity. You are supposed to get sick of them after two year.

High-end smartphones cost as much as some desktops, some even more. There is considerable expense involved keeping up with the tech crowd. There are also enormous profits for phone makers.

What is truly awful about this “ticking time bomb” approach to technology is that newer versions may not be as fully featured as their replacements.

I have a case in point.

The Nexus 6 is still a great device. I liked it from day one, and enjoy every moment I use it. It has the same charm as the day I turned it on.

Nicknamed “Shamoo” for its massive nearly six inch screen, it is big, but it can rest inside of a standard pocket. Of all of the handhelds I have ever had, this is the only smartphone I have ever owned that did not need a system reset, ever. I can install, uninstall, and this phone performs like a champion. Everything works, and the stats are still impressive.

In what has to be a true “bone headed” move, the follow up, The Nexus 6P, was smaller than the Nexus 6! The new version offered only 5.7 inches of screen real-estate.

Why the shrink? I have no idea. There are many out there smaller. If this was not bad enough, the most current replacement for the 6P are the new Pixel line. They come in at five inches. Why is smaller better, and why no options?

The new Pixel is not exactly inexpensive either. If there is an unlocked Pixel, I have not seen it. When you look to purchase, the adverts show it as a Verizon phone. Verizon is not exactly a discount carrier.

While the arena of smartphones is a highly competitive industry, smartphones still command high prices. Price wars are non-existent. If you want a reasonable phone, you are looking at a flagship or something close. You can opt for lesser models. That is an option. However, from what I have seen, discount smart phones are glitchy, slow and frustrating to use.

Pixel? After years of Nexus now Pixel? Why change the names, they all more or less look the same.

While a PC can still be functional and not be at the top tier, smartphones exist in an all or nothing world. You pay a little, and get a lot less. The features most of us want are in higher end phones. Sadly, that comes at a cost.

Let’s say you bit the bullet and fork over five or eight Franklins for a phone. What you are looking at is a device that will be rendered old fashioned and non-supportable in a scant two years. If you are willing to play the “I must have the latest,” you are looking at $ 400 or so every year in addition to the already obscene cost of service.

What I do not see with smartphones are any new exciting features. What more can be added that makes new versions so expensive or even desirable?

Phone designs are clones of each other. Without the logo you can’t tell them apart. The mantra is thinner, and thinner. What no one is apparently concerned with is making them better, or less expensive.

Why can’t we have a high quality DSLR camera married to smartphone that is not uber expensive? Even if it means violating the holy grail of mobile phones and be a bit bulky, why not ask the technologically advanced to make it so?

Once upon a time, I was one of those, “trash the pc” every two or three years to be current. Now ,with the new economic reality of America, I cannot afford to do it. The sad face of computing is there is nothing out there that gives me a compelling reason to think upgrading. Whatever gains come, they are not worth two grand. As a side note, I reviewed a truly high powered PC and it was not so much better than my current system.

I feel the exact same way about smartphones. Google has not only given me no compelling reason to get a Pixel phone, it is giving me compelling reasons to keep my trusty, wonderful Nexus 6 until he passes away. Shamoo, your big screen is still beautiful to behold. I promise to keep you until you can compute no more.



Artist and Writer in Phoenix, AZ

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