Upgrading hardware for PC enthusiasts is a very simple affair. It’s understood by society at large that it has to be done. The reasons could be something as simple and stupid as bragging rights, to something more realistic as playing the latest game which wouldn’t run fast enough on existing hardware, to the more inexplicable like “just having the need to have the latest and greatest.”
What about mobile phones, though? I know in this part of the world many people buy it just for the bragging rights. I’m sure that’s the case in most developed and developing countries as well. What I’ve realized over the years is that the bragging rights competition is just left to kids. I mean, iPhone is quite easily the most desirable mobile phone on the planet, and because of subsidized telecom plans, pretty much everyone can have one. So what’s left to brag about? iPhone 4S? But, it looks just like last year’s model, so who knows/cares?!
Another thing I have noticed as the smartphone convergence was happening in the my circle of family and friends in the last few years: it’s all about personal taste. Nobody cares anymore if you have the latest dual-core smartphone with 8MP camera and a huge touchscreen. Everybody just wants a user experience they’re comfortable with. I know many people hate iTunes and Zune because of the limitations that puts on organizing your existing media content. On the other hand many love the organization structure presented by these programs. The one thing everybody absolutely needs, though, are the apps.
Games, utilities, social networking, weather and news; no matter what the interest is, everyone needs apps. Free or paid, it doesn’t matter to most as the cost of entry is as low as $0.99 (AED 3.67) so the need for piracy is pretty much eliminated. Unless you consider regional restrictions, but that’s a topic for another time.
The only time people stick to old phones is when the new generation doesn’t offer anything substantial. Like…the iPhone 4S? Or even the jump from Froyo to Gingerbread smartphones? I mean, I get it why people still stick with their years old Nokia or Blackberry phones, because the OS didn’t provide enough of a leap to justify the upgrade. So I guess that means 2012 will be one hell of year, what with iOS 5, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, BB 10 and Windows 7.5 handsets out around the same time. Then I guess pretty much everyone will be upgrading their existing handsets. No one will be bragging about hardware, but more about what their OS of choice can offer.
As for me, my reason for upgrading used to be just a change of pace. Trying different phones and OSs to see which one I like the most; if nothing else, just to stay ahead of the curve. But now my needs are more straightforward. Going back to my PC gamer roots, the only reason I would want to upgrade my iPhone 4 to the 4S is so that I can play Infinity Blade II with the same ease as I can on my iPad 2. Man, those dual-cores real render the gorgeous Unreal Engine frames fast!