Wednesday, 4 January 2012

My 5 year phone challenge....eeek!

I'm not sure whether this latest confession will demonstrate my inner lunacy or permanent state of wishful thinking, but eh oh, I'll show and tell and see what comes.  I'd be interested in the debate.

The thing is, I've just got a brand new spanking smartphone, an all singing and dancing top model iPhone.  It's been on my geeky-gadget list for the last 18 months and as my old phone began to fall apart / regularly freeze / randomly self-boot .... along with many other tedious failures, the seduction of the iPhone became more and more tempting, so much so that it looked as though finally it would make it to my Christmas list for 2011.

And hooray, it actually did arrive, but not quite as I'd expected (there'll be more on that later).  However, with such a frivolous addition to my gadgetry, it arrived with a new personal goal that will definitely challenge the way I think about about new technology, especially mobile technology.

You see, I am a bit of a gadget girl and since the introduction of smartphones that don't just keep you connected to the whole social-media universe out there, but come packed with video functionality and access to multimedia entertainment, I have found it harder to step back to the days when a phone was simply a phone.  I have wanted to keep pace with all the shininess that such a mini-computer in one's pocket can bring. 

My new iPhone will be the third smartphone I've owned in five years - although admittedly the first one only gave up the ghost as a result of it being in my jeans pocket, when I saved my youngest son from a potential drowning incident a few years ago.

The second phone, its replacement, has been causing me nothing but bother for the last 15 months, mainly though collateral damage, but has also developed a very clunky feel about it compared to other touch screen technology.  Consequently, my shiny new acquisition already offers much hope of a more streamlined and much more enjoyable experience in keeping me connected to the outside world of work, rest and play.

But the challenge I've set myself is to try and keep hold of this phone and keep it functioning for FIVE WHOLE YEARS!

I know I've not set myself a very good track record so far.

But aside from my accident-prone ways and technological desire, I hope this self-imposed challenge will not only encourage me to focus on the longevity of possessions, but will also bring into focus the challenges we, as consumers, have in a constantly fast-moving technological world.  And this challenge is not new. For decades, built-in obsolence has been a key consumer issue as have opportunities for exciting applications only being realised as a result of hardware innovations becoming available.

And let's face it, I am grateful for such advances in technological science.  After all, watching movies on our smartphones would not be so gratifying if we had to plug in a portable DVD player to do so.

Of course, opinions vary.  There are many friends who have told me that I've got no chance, mainly thanks to Apple's proprietary systems as well as the company's speed of innovation and all round creator of consumer desire.

But then, there are others who say that this iPhone, with all its latest technology and mod cons should see me through the five year period quite easily. 

So I guess the proof will definitely be in the pudding -or rather the apple pie -  and I'll just have to wait and see.  But I am going to try damn hard, against a world of high-speed technological change, to remain satisfied and keep hold of this phone for five years.  And I will be delighted if I can do it.

But for those who know better than me, or indeed know me better than myself,  I'd love to hear what you think.


Disclaimer.  In the spirit of blogger openness, I feel it right to declare that my lovely new phone was a surprise thank you gift that came out of the blue from the folks at O2, as a token of appreciation for the free-time I dedicated a few months ago to brainstorming a whole host of campaign ideas for a phone recycling project that's coming up soon.  There will be more on that next week, when along with other bloggers who have now signed up for the campaign, I will be relinquishing my old phone for recycling and tracking to see where it goes.  And would you believe, for many reasons, I have never recycled a phone before.  So watch out for all that comes with that next week!


Martin Campbell said...

If you have an old Android phone, one way to keep it up to date for another year or two after the manufacturer has abandoned it is to switch to CyanogenMod.

Click here to see if your old Android phone is supported.

Richard said...

That's exactly my plan!

I made my last phone (Nokia N70) last 5 years before upgrading. It still works almost perfectly. But then I treated myself to a Samsung Galaxy S in 2009, which I use now.

A few lessons:

1. Get, and use, a decent case.
2. Buy the best phone you can afford. The iphone is probably a good choice on that score.
3. Be prepared to get a new battery. This is where the iphone falls down as it is built as disposable technology and to my knowledge you can't easily replace the battery.

Susan said...

I have an iPhone 3G which is 3.5 years old now and still going strong. the only issue I've had is that the software updates are designed for the newer models and so my phone is a bit slow sometimes. also some of the newer iPhone apps aren't compatible with my "old" phone so I'm not able to download them.
I'm tempted to buy a new phone but frequent technology upgrades are so wasteful.... I'm sure an iPhone can last 5 years, the challenge is more in resisting relentless advertising of shiny new gadgets rather than the technology not being able to last that long... Good luck!

Unknown said...

My old phone is 3.5 years old too an iPhone which I love. It's getting pretty battered and I can't do many apps - which is lucky as I am not really up on apps. I hope to make it to 5 years old when I will hopefully be able to upgrade.
It is difficult to keep things such as gadgets for long. I already need to upgrade my computer after only 18 months! It doesn't have emough memory forthe latest windows appliation!

Almost Mrs Average said...

@Martin - thanks for those links. I bet there are many Android phone users who don't actually realise that a few extra years can be added to a phone's life. Well not the average user anyway. It's incredible what you discover when you start to look more closely. :)

@Richard - top advice, thank you and great news on the Nokia. I've been less successful with my N97. It was my local O2 store that raised the issue with me that battery lifespan could be an issue, but hopefully I could get it replaced for a small cost (well small cost compared to a new phone, that is) :)

@Susan - that is really encouraging that you've had yours for so long. Gives me some hope, but it definitely seems that it's the apps that could be the killer and my patience of course. This will definitely become a battle of my temptation as well as a technological one. :)

@TattieWeasle - you too are so encouraging and pushing for 5 years. You'll have to give me an update when you hit five years, and help keep me going. Damn technology eh! My laptop seems to be slowing up at the moment, that's only 15 months old too (although I know I need to do some maintenance to it really). It's the battery that gets me though. It used to manage somewhere towards 11 hours when new. Now it's 3-4 hours if I'm lucky. :)


Built in obsolescence will ensure you fail but nice idea.

Almost Mrs Average said...

I think you're probably right, gosh 2017 feels like a long way away ;)

Plastic-free Beth said...

Wow. Good luck with that. I'm rooting for you. I have not been able to keep my phones running for that long, and it's just so irritating. Also, like Susan said, the upgrades will eventually not be compatible with your phone. But this will be a great experiment to see if it can be done, for sure.

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