For years now, we’ve been conditioned to buying a new cell phone every two years. Why? More features, longer battery life, cooler design, status, etc. And mobile companies have sure made it easy for us to do this. In return in for agreeing to a another two-year contract, we get a state-of-the-art shiny brand-new smartphone for a relatively low price. The service carriers subsidize the price of new phones by having us subscribe to contracts that promote high-margin services.
With the above in mind, let’s consider a rather radical idea espoused by Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times. If Manjoo’s ideas are accepted, there will be a substantial impact on our smartphone purchase behavior — and on service providers’ bottom lines.
Here’s Manjoo’s perspective: “Despite their small size, smartphones are expensive, resource-hungry goods, and they deserve a better life cycle than two years of use followed by an eternity in a forgotten desk drawer.” So, “use your phone for more than two years, ideally three; when you run into trouble, try to repair, not replace it; and when you’re done with it, trade it in. When you’re looking for a new phone, don’t just consider the latest high-end devices; many people will find last year’s best phone just as useful as the newest one. You might even consider buying a used phone instead of a new one.”
Manjoo’s tips are to
- hold on to your smartphone for a longer time.
- sell or trade in your old phone to a company such as Gazelle (there is a growing aftermarket).
- buy a used phone (there are many great choices out there).
Click the Gazelle image to read more from Manjoo.