Cell phone carriers lock us into two year contracts as we purchase the hottest and coolest phones on the market. We follow the trends and get the most recent, most powerful phones on the market, but as we get more connected, the phones come out quicker and our phones become more outdated with increasing frequency and it leaves the buyer behind. With the quicker pace of new phones, is it time for the cell phone companies to adjust their model to allow the purchase of newer phones?
The first phone to throw this model on its ear was the iPhone. When Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone to great fanfare, people broke their contracts with other companies just to have it. It was the first time that people were really excited about a phone and it became the rare must have phone. Not only were people excited about it, but when the second iPhone was announced a year later, not only did more people jump to AT&T to get one, the people who got the first iPhone wanted to jump to the latest and greatest phone. It was a rarity for people to want to upgrade so quickly before then.
Google countered the iPhone with the Android operating system. While this kicked off a great smartphone war, it meant that any cellphone company could develop new phones without having to spend as much money developing the system software. The first Android phone wasn’t the revolution the iPhone was, but a year later introduced the Motorola Droid and the Google Nexus One, which kicked off the Android revolution. Six to eight months later introduced even more powerful phones, like the HTC Evo, Galaxy S and the Motorola Droid X. Bigger and better phones that out muscled phones that weren’t so old. Even Google conceded that the phones were coming fast and furious and retired the Nexus One after 8 months, admitting that their super phone was no longer the top phone on the market and stopped production of the formerly top phone.
With Android’s open operating system, manufacturers began releasing phones from the most basic to the most powerful, allowing anyone who just wants a phone and internet to get an Android phone, as well as power users to get a high end smartphone who don’t want Apple and/or AT&T. As such, the number of Android phones has overtaken the number of iPhones sold in second quarter of 2010. With the constant deluge of Android phones, people want to keep up with the top phones in their class and have the best they possibly can.
As phones come out better and faster, users want to keep up with the best. As the top phones upgrade every six months to a year, the contract based model needs to be changed. Users need the options they want in a timely fashion, to upgrade their phones as fast and effectively as any other device or appliance they own.