Sitting on the couch the other night, I saw a commercial that really piqued my interest. Lumia 920 from AT&T – buy one get one free. Holy Crow! That’s just the excuse that I’ve been looking for! Sure I’d have to go on contract again – I haven’t bought an AT&T phone since June of 2010 – but this might just be worth it.
As much as a Lumia 920 would fulfill a good portion of my smart phone naughty dreams, is this REALLY the best time to pony up $100 and the next two years of my life on a new phone? Can the Lumia 920 still be considered a “new” phone? It rather reminds me of a conversation I had with my father about 6 months ago, when he told me out of the blue – “You wanna see my new cell phone? It’s a Blackberry Torch. It’s brand new!” Yeah, uh, dad…not really.
We all know technology is obsolete the day after it hits store shelves. There’s always a bigger fish. But then again, the grass is always greener. Oh look, I ran to the metaphor well once more and it was dry.
I find myself in the quandary in which many technologists often find themselves. Do I go out and early adopt the day a product hits the shelves? Do I wait until the price comes down and the bugs are worked out or God forbid a new OS is released (here’s looking at you Lumia-ends-in-00 owners)? Or do I just say to myself “I thought the Lumia 920 looked like a great phone when it came out 6 months ago. Nothing’s changed.” And run to the nearest AT&T store.
A few things give me pause. It’s not the money. $50, $99, even $199 are relatively insignificant amounts of money, especially considering what these phones cost overseas. What I’m talking about is my contract life. As I mentioned before, I’m off contract on both of my and my wife’s cell phones. It’s not really that big a deal; I’ve been with AT&T longer than Abe Lincoln (since they were called Cellular One); I’m not going anywhere. But buying a phone today means I can’t upgrade for 2 more years. That’s two more Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championships for crying out loud!
Four years ago, this would have been an easy decision for me. How could I turn down a great offer on what is arguably a great phone? In other words, four years ago, I was a N00b.
I fell in love with webOS. And I watched thousands of Sprint users dash out and pick up THE new phone that was going to rock everyone’s world. Many of them never recovered. Is Windows Phone 8 in any better shape? Arguably, Microsoft is doing better than HPalm in the market share war, but 2% ain’t gonna get you the girl at the end of the movie. Can I afford to run out and spend the next two years of my mobile life on an OS that can’t convince Sling or Instagram to give them a shot?
Furthermore, in the last four years, I’ve seen Samsung, LG, Nokia, and every other manufacturer pump out great phone after great phone at an almost dizzying pace. There is always going to be something better on the horizon. In that case, it actually makes the most sense to run out the day a product is released – more bang for your buck (read: contract). Now that I’m in limbo and the Lumia 920 is almost 6 months old, it hard to make a case to upgrade now.
And the rumors of an upcoming Lumia with aluminum body and true “pureview” camera are just about enough to hold onto that upgrade for just a bit longer. But what about after that? What rumor will surface the day after the Lumia Epic 950 Pureview Godphone is released? Where does it end?
Let’s face it. A Samsung executive likely already has specs for the Note 4 sitting on his desk right now. A vendor is probably already trying to figure out how to manufacture 17” screens for the next Huawei Ascend to be introduced at CES 2014.
Now you may have been impressed by one of the offerings at CES 2013, and there were some head-turners there. And if so, I encourage you to camp out at the carrier store of your choice and pick up a new Ascend, or Xperia on the day of release.
Bottom line, for me and anyone else looking to get new Windows Phone hardware, now is not the time to upgrade. There are too many new announcements on the horizon to commit to yesterday’s hardware. I would love to have a Lumia 920. I’ve already updated my Lumia 900 to Windows Phone 7.8 to give me a taste of what I’m missing, but I’m holding out for the greener grass. It just looks so yummy.