Sara's Column: Cellphone hype is a force to be reckoned with

If I spend $600 on a sofa, I expect at least 10 good years of use out of it. If I spend $600 on a phone, I feel lucky if I get two years.
Sep 5, 2013

I have to give serious kudos to the cellphone manufacturers.

They know how to build the hype.

Recently, I upgraded from my trusty Samsung Galaxy S2 to the much-lauded Samsung Note 2. I’ve had it for a couple weeks now, and I absolutely love it. As a reporter taking quick notes, photos and videos while Tweeting and posting to Facebook, it meets my needs perfectly.

Which is why it makes no sense that I was inordinately crestfallen when I heard the Samsung Note 3 release date is imminent.

The announcement came out the day my return period expired for my Note 2.

While I won’t repeat the phrases that came to mind when I realized that, I will say I was really not pleased.

Truthfully, I don’t need the Note 3. The Note 2 does a fantastic job for what I use it for.

But it’s newer, so it must be better.

I never understood people who would constantly shell out more and more money with each new device that comes out, taking a loss on phones that still had considerable amounts of life left in them, just so they could see what all the hype was about.

I think I understand now.

With the constant churn of new technology and new devices, we’ve become programmed to expect those new devices to quickly become obsolete. There’s this need to feel like we have to stay ahead of the curve so we can get the maximum value for our investments.

If I spend $600 on a sofa, I expect at least 10 good years of use out of it. If I spend $600 on a phone, I feel lucky if I get two years.

I used my Galaxy S2 for more than 3 years, and I was ready to put it in a museum.

The problem with this impulse to say ahead of the curve is that we’re actually helping to shorten the curve, which is great for advancing technology, but not so great on household budgets.

And sometimes when I look at the specs on the latest and greatest of new devices, I flash back to college. Inevitably, every semester when I’d go to buy my textbooks and I’d scour the shelves for the last used book – which would often mean a difference between $200 and $100 for one book – I’d realize the required text was a new edition.

And often the primary differences between the new edition and the old edition were the cover and the price.

The really sad part about all this is that even knowing this, I still really want that Note 3.

But since I’m not about to shell out more than $600 for a new phone that will be ready for retirement within three years, I’ll stick with my now-formerly-much-lauded Note 2.

Sorry Samsung, but kudos nonetheless.


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