Stop Constantly Upgrading, Hang on to Your Smartphone

We're at 'innovation plateau,' and latest isn't that much better: Farhad Manjoo

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2014 11:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the cost of our smartphones often built into carriers' contracts, it's easy to forget how valuable the gadgets are. And these days, new generations of iPhones and Samsungs aren't necessarily vast improvements over their predecessors. So why not make our phones last longer—if not for ourselves, for future users? Farhad Manjoo offers suggestions in the New York Times:

  • Don't rush to buy the next model: Top phones have reached what Manjoo calls an "innovation plateau," meaning that "the latest and greatest phone won’t be all that much better than the one you’re using now." So keep using what you've got. Battery fading on you? It's easily replaceable on a Samsung Galaxy; replacement is possible on an iPhone, too, with the right tools.

  • If you do want a new phone, sell your old one to a company like Gazelle. A 2-year-old iPhone can get you $150 from the company, which often sends your device to Asia. It gets spruced up and sold at an affordable price. "In many countries, a new iPhone can cost a thousand dollars," says Gazelle's CEO. "We’re providing the equivalent of a certified pre-owned BMW, for less than half the price."
  • You, too, might be better off buying your next phone used. An iPhone loses half its value in the first year—so why not buy it then, as Apple is releasing a new model? Use it for two years and trade it in, and you'll get significant money back. "Ultimately, this strategy will let you save about $20 a month per phone," Manjoo writes.
Click for his full piece.

In this Feb. 25, 2014 file photo, the new Samsung Galaxy S5 is displayed at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
In this Feb. 25, 2014 file photo, the new Samsung Galaxy S5 is displayed at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
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