Consumers prefer receiving software updates to buying a new phone

In the old days, when carriers would subsidize the purchase of a new phone every other year, smartphone users were on a defined two-year cycle. But now, with consumers shouldering the cost of buying a new phone themselves, people are treating their handsets with kid gloves. Instead of buying a new phone every two years, consumers prefer to receive timely software updates that add new features to older handsets.

According to Jan Dawson, founder and chief analyst of Jackdaw Research, consumers are changing their behavior. "We all know people still carrying around a 4- or 5-year-old smartphone and see no reason to upgrade," Dawson says. But moving away from this two-year cycle isn't necessarily good for smartphone manufacturers.

Chetan Sharma, CEO of Chetan Sharma Consulting, says that the Apple iPhone X could put consumers back on the cycle. Sharma says that it might take a "dynamic" new product from a major manufacturer like Apple to get people reaching for their wallets every other year. Some manufacturers have started programs that allow consumers to buy a new model and trade it in for the next new one when it arrives, roughly a year later.

While carriers say that they no longer lock subscribers in with a two-year contract, the truth is that if a customer is paying for a phone in 24 monthly installments, he/she is stuck with the same carrier for two years unless the subscriber feels like paying the remaining balance on his phone immediately. Some carriers offer lease packages that allow customers to upgrade to a new handset after 12 to 18-months of payments, but a lease is not a purchase and requires that you keep the phone in nearly pristine condition.

With manufacturers and carriers trying to get smartphone owners to restart the habit of buying a new phone every two years, their customers would now rather install an update that keeps their current handset feeling fresh, if not cutting edge.

source: NYPost

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120 Comments

1. jphillips63

Posts: 253; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

That’s the nice part of owning Apple products. We get OS updates for a few years after our purchases. Unlike many of the androids that get left behind after a year of ownership.

2. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Exactly, which is why I say the only phone justifiable at $1000 (closest to being justified, not justifiable) is the iPhone X. All other Android phones around that price will be lucky to get 2 OS updates, while the iPhone will guaranteed get 4-5 years of support.

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7219; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Well duh, of course we want to get every update. However some updates require new hardware. Look at the iPhone X with it's new OLED display, and FaceID, plus selfie portrait mode. All require new hardware. There there is new SoC's which add faster CPU's, GPU's, and more ram or faster types of storage. It's like saying I want my original Nexus S with it's single core 1 GHz CPU to run Android 8 Oreo. You can do it, but is it worth it? The same is true for Apple and it's hardware. Even though Apple updates it's iOS, there are features missing from previous iPhone devices. With Android as long as the play store is supported, then you will still be able to use all the apps, including new apps. This is where project treble that started in Oreo is going to help with updates.

32. Papa_Ji

Posts: 839; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

I don't know what are you talking about????? My 3.5 years old Redmi 1s is still getting updates every month... which cost me even below 100$ (in may 2014). I am sure it will get more updates. (5+ years of support)

99. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@Papa_Ji LOL! Check the OS version of your redmi 1s. Is it running on marshmallow? Or even the nougat? Those updates that you've mentioned only exist for the apps. Not the firmware.

113. Stappy3

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

OEMs who heavily skin their OS do not get over 3.5 years of major updates. Maybe some security, but I don't think you're on the Oreo/Nougat train.

46. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Except, almost EVERYTHING you'd require a whole new OS update for on iOS is seamlessly updated via the app store on Android, making the need for a whole new OS next to pointless. Be it my Note 8's S-Pen Air Commands, Edge Screen, Always on Display, Bixby, Car Mode, Theming engine, Webview engine, Camera, System fonts, Screen Capture, Web Browser, Samsung Pay + Notes + Keyboard + Health+ Calendar + Connect + Email, Calculator, Messages, Home Screen Launcher, the App Store itself, etc. They all periodically get stability/versatility/security/compatibility updates via the Play Store or Galaxy App Store, independent of the OS. So, a whole new OS update would merely be a firmware number change, no significant added uses...I don't know about you, but I much value uses of my tools over merely their firmware number.

56. Peacetoall unregistered

literally this mr. shazam nailed it perfectly.

96. PhoenixFirebird

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

But iOS is easier. Just think of Bixby and Siri. Apple upgrages its Siri but Samsung doesn't even give to older ones.

98. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Easier in what way? My average joe mum in her 60s has no problem operating and utilizing a OnePlus 5, just as she did a OnePlus One earlier, and an iPhone 4 even earlier. iOS being crazily restricted and requiring a jailbreak for even stuff dumb phones were capable of make it frustrating for me to use. There hasn't been anything specially easy about iOS since Privacy Guard appeared on Android on the OnePlus One... As for your Siri vs Bixby statement, Siri, which was merely an app store app that got bought and integrated into iOS by apple, wasn't made available to devices earliwr than the 4s either. So, not sure what your point is. Besides, even that "upgraded" Siri is already a dated joke compared to what Bixby, less than 1 year old, is capable of, so, what exactly was "upgraded" compared to the competition? https://youtu.be/kAaA9w_VY_8

97. PhoenixFirebird

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

But iOS is easier. Just think of Bixby and Siri. Apple upgrages its Siri but Samsung doesn't even give to older ones.

100. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@ MrShazam How do you get those "stability/versatility/security/compatibility updates" if it only exist for the apps? What about the firmware and the OS update? Did you know that "As the app gets updated. The memory usage itself is also increased". 5 years from now on. Don't you think that your note 8 is gonna be slower since the app itself has been updated for higher version of android, while your phone is 3 updates away? "no significant added uses". The ios 11 brings Augmented reality to all iphones and ipads with A9 processors and above. Ever since anyone with iphone 6s and above, and ipad pro owners are updated to ios11. All of them are enjoying the AR apps that was designed for their device! Meanwhile, for the android. From all the OS updates it went on. The only thing that has change is the UI. Tell me. when android announced the ARCore. How come it's still in development phase untill now?

110. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

"How do you get those "stability/versatility/security/compatibility updates" if it only exist for the apps" Welcome to 2010, Android apps have long been able to integrate deeply with the OS. "Did you know that "As the app gets updated. The memory usage itself is also increased"." What a load of BS. Apps can get updates that make them more memory efficient, or in other words, more optimized. "5 years from now on. Don't you think that your note 8 is gonna be slower since the app itself has been updated for higher version of android, while your phone is 3 updates away?" This isn't iOS, vast majority of Android apps that were compatible with my OnePlus One running KitKat 3 years ago, still run fast and smooth on Marshmallow today, even though they're already compatible with Oreo. Nova Launcher, Tasker, Total Commander, Titanium Backup, and FolderSync are a few of many examples of such apps. This video completely matches my iOS/Android update experience: https://youtu.be/x0JxHq-nR98 Besides, since this isn't iOS, if an app dev ruins the app with some stupid update, I can easily restore to an earlier version of the app I have backed up on my MicroSD card via Titanium Backup.

115. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@MrShazam "Welcome to 2010, Android apps have long been able to integrate deeply with the OS.". And how would you say that if those android apps are designed for those running on latest android version or even a specified processor? Let's say that your processor is an old mediatek. How can you be sure that you would get a stable and versatility usage if its taking too long to respond? "What a load of BS. Apps can get updates that make them more memory efficient, or in other words, more optimized." LOL! I have an android tablet that still runs on android 4.1.1. And FYI, it uses tegra 3 processor. And the tablet is acer A210. Ever since a year ago. My tablet response is very sluggish. And most of the time. It would froze. Even my uncle who has the samsung galaxy tab P7310 has experience problems especially with youtube. Even with a good internet reception. When typing on the search bar. Every letter he type has delays in displaying the letters. So when it comes to experience. I held android since. So what experience do you have when it comes to lag if your phone is the note 8? Chris Pirillo from the youtube is explaining the problems with the ios 11. Especially with bugs. So if your ios device is still on 10. Would you encounter bugs and errors? BTW. Even if chris said that the ios is getting worst. Apple is doing a lot of task to improve the ios 11. Unlike android which takes months for a new updates to be released. And would take years for the update to reach on the android device if its locked on carrier. Btw. That video you've posted isn't related to my comment about 5 years from now. Your oneplus one phone would still run fast and smooth because it's only been 3 years! So what about those other android device 5 years ago. How fast and smooth they are if they're from the years of gingerbread to honeycomb?

116. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

How do you install security fixes? You know security, that thing that keeps your phones protected against things like Stagefright or QuadRooter?

118. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

My Messaging app, the source of stagefright attack, got security patches independent of the OS. Quadrooter, that's a once in a blue moon security threat that requires OS security patch, and likely hood of getting a malicious app exploiting it is very low...

119. Leo_MC

Posts: 7216; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Your Messaging app fixed Chrome? Because if it didn't, you're still vulnerable to Stagefright (2.0).

120. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Didn't even have chrome installed on my device, but nothing stops google from sending out an update to patch chrome themselves just like my messaging app did. No need for a whole new OS update...

3. Wickedsamaritan

Posts: 79; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

You are right, but you should also be mindful that most IOS updates aren't actually real updates, they are mostly bug fixes, security patches, battery maintenance, in fact I get the laughter of the Year when I see apple fan boys on YouTube making videos on new features on iOS updates.. cos iOS has remained the same since IOS 6, of how many years ago? 10 years ago? Correct me if I'm wrong

5. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Right, because the difference between Nougat and Oreo was so significant compared to 10 and 11?

17. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

iOS 11 is a major update, please read before you say stupid things like that... It's a major major update compared to Android 8 Oreo. Every year Apple is adding so many new features and functionality to the iOS and improve the user experience.

26. sgodsell

Posts: 7219; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

iOS is still mainly a task switcher, with the same grid of icons. It's notification system is a hobbled Hodgepodge of an older notification system, that still needs a major rewrite in order to be useful. iPhones still have no real multitasking or split screen multitasking. As soon as you leave one task it halts the task you left. For Apples ARkit it not only requires the cameras, but the OS has to be updated. Where as Android and ARCore requires the cameras and Nougat and above, because Vulkan graphics is needed which is in Nougat and above.

82. c.m.s

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

This "not real multitasking" is such old and in my eyes ridiculous argument. You can listen to music, use navigation apps and surf the web all at the same time on your iPhone, if you want to. There is a number of background tasks that you as a developer can use to run a process or finish it in the background (depending on the type of process). For the vast majority of users its the experience that counts, not if it is "real multitasking". That is just for people hanging in forums like this, arguing which phone/OS they think is the best ;)

90. midan

Posts: 2723; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"That is just for people hanging in forums like this, arguing which phone/OS they think is the best ;)" You couldn't have said it better

114. sgodsell

Posts: 7219; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Clearly your not a developer, and you proved that with your examples of multitasking. With a REAL multitasking OS you don't have to code Jack in order for your task to keep running. On Windows, Linux, Android if you leave a task/app then your app is still running, and it will continue to run. Where as iOS you have code specifically to make your app continue to run in the background. Otherwise iOS will halt your the app you left.

101. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

@piyath Lets not forget the Augmented reality feature on the ios 11. Since anyone with A9 processor and above ios device can enjoy the AR wherever they go.

4. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Android flagships gets at least two major software upgrades and keep getting monthly security updates. And even the iPhone X is suffering from new glitches with every update Apple pushes, let alone the 2 year old devices. Not to mention that Apple releases "new" features that has been found on Android for at least two+ years. Anyways, I will gladly take quality over quantity when it comes to updates.

7. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

"Android flagships gets at least two major software upgrades and keep getting monthly security updates" At least? Aside from Nexus, no other device has received "at least" two major updates (Pixel isn't old enough so it doesn't count). "And even the iPhone X is suffering from new glitches with every update Apple pushes, let alone the 2 year old devices." Fair, but that's expected when you receive weekly updates. In contrast to Android where you're lucky to get one a month. "Not to mention that Apple releases "new" features that has been found on Android for at least two+ years." You realize that goes both ways, right? Who had PiP first? Notification badges first? Who's trying to copy iMessages with Allo? Not Android!

11. g2a5b0e unregistered

I think you're confused, man. Most Android flagships do get at least 2 major updates. Here's your example. The S6 debuted with Lollipop & was then upgraded to Marshmallow & Nougat. This is not the norm, but it is also slated to receive Oreo, it's third major update.

23. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

S6 is getting Oreo? Hahaha definitely not. Yes, I'm aware some random uneducated person on Samsung's live chat support said it will, but that's far from confirmation. Until Samsung themselves say otherwise, it's stuck on 7.0.

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