Mobile Agony and Ecstasy
Upgrading mobile phones
My phone died a week into May. I knew it would happen, expected its demise last August under the unwritten rule of planned obsolescence when my two-year contract was up. I started checking out all the new phones when I started getting all the notices that I was eligible for a phone upgrade, and those started coming before my contract expired, in fact.
However, I got caught up semantically. Upgrade meant better, I thought. I could only imagine better equated to a new and improved version of my phone, to which I was rather partial. In the cellular world I suppose I am a relatively late bloomer, having resisted until the end of summer 2010 even getting a mobile phone, and then before I became so enamored with it I had to first learn how it worked.
My grandchildren eventually taught me how to use it, taking pity on me and, I suppose, despite their exasperation with my smartphone stupidity and impatience with my utter lack of intuitive technological competence. We received them all the same day; they got their phones out of the boxes and had made several calls and texts before I figured out how to turn mine on.
With their expert tutelage I was soon able to make calls, text, and read the news with ease and aplomb. Not wanting another mobile learning curve, I had no desire to get a different phone when it was time to, though I started looking for a new improved version of the one I had because I thought it was something I had to do. Turns out I didn’t have to get a new phone when my contract expired or a new contract either for that matter. I kept paying my same rate and checking for a better phone for months. I read the tech blogs and learned my brand was coming out with a new model in October. New: yes. Better: not necessarily or comparatively.
Jelly bean, ice cream sandwich, cutesy clever operating systems were batted around the blogs like investment advice from Warren Buffett. Eager to get upgraded I disappointedly discovered the makers of my phone’s new model had no plans to sweeten its operating system before releasing it in October or possibly November—rumors of a delayed release began filtering in.
My old phone lasted me through the winter, the long and seemingly unending winter, through which I continued to check out new phones, read the blogs, and toy with the idea of a completely different operating system—maybe I should try all three: BlackBerry, Apple, Android. Still unable to make a decision I continued to use my old phone. Then, when it was time—a week into May—I knew exactly what I wanted after researching continuously online and in person for months. I went to my carrier and got a latest-greatest six hundred dollar smartphone for ninety-nine dollars because, luckily, I was still eligible for an upgrade and under no contract. Had I not spent so many hours researching and agonizing over the selection process I might not have gotten such a sweet new smartphone or saved five hundred dollars; and though I adore my new phone I can’t say what it is—I’m not one to kiss and tell.
What I can tell you is the team at Alaska Business Monthly has put together another really great magazine once again. Enjoy!
—Susan Harrington, Managing Editor