Nate's Straight Talk Express: Android advancement leaving consumers behind?

Nate Allen
Columnist from Indianola, IA
Published: June 25, 2010

Man after train

Do you ever look at a photo or an object that reminds you of an event that seems like it happened just yesterday, but then you realize it really happened a long time ago, and time seems to have just flown by?  For me, that feeling is the exact opposite of the feeling I get when I look at my Droid Eris.  When I hold the Eris in my hand and think about all the good times we’ve had together, it feels like we’ve been partners for years, when really it’s only been a little over seven months.  My, how the time seems to have crawled along at a snail’s pace. I wonder...am I the only one who feels this way? Surely not...

The pace of innovation and advancement in the mobile tech industry, and Android in particular, has been lightning fast of late. By way of example, Noah’s Sprint HTC Hero full video review dropped on October 11, 2009, so eight months ago.  The first few sentences out of his mouth were:

“This is the HTC Hero from Sprint. I’ll tell you straight off, right off the bat that this is the best Android phone that I’ve ever tested, the best Android phone on the market right now...”. 

Think about that statement and think about where the hardware for Android is right now with the HTC Incredible (Verizon Wireless) and HTC EVO (Sprint), and with Google on the cusp of releasing Android 2.2 Froyo to the masses.  Literally, it feels like a few hardware and software lifecycles have come and gone in the blink of an eye.

This is all well and good, right? Any objective observer would agree wholeheartedly and hope for more of the same going forward. I’d like to think that I can put myself in that group, but honestly, I don’t know if I can.  The truth is, I’m more than a bit jealous.  I want to own the device with the newest and best goodies around.  I want to have the comfort and security of knowing that I’ve got the latest and greatest display technology, processor and form factor on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for me to those things race past my Eris and me.  Truthfully, the Eris didn’t have those characteristics when I bought it. I feel like I’m the tortoise and mobile tech is the hare, but the hare isn’t going to be caught napping anytime soon. If you are reading this and are a regular visitor to PhoneDog.com, I bet at least some part of you feels like I do.

So, what is a guy like me to do?  Unless I want to shell out a wad of cash for a phone at retail price, I can’t have the best goodies.  Nope, my carrier has me in the headlock that is its two year agreement. Not only do I have the better part of that two year agreement remaining, I’m subject to the newest form of quasi-indentured servitude that is the advanced device early termination fee. It’s hard to imagine at this point, but it’s probably true that the pace of mobile tech advancement will continue at a dizzying pace and eight months from today I’ll look back at one of Aaron or Noah’s top five lists and wonder what they were thinking when the Evo or the Incredible was crowned as the best phone on the market.  I suppose the prudent thing would be to take a step back and try to enjoy the Eris and not take its great features and functionality for granted because it doesn’t have the latest Super AMOLED display or Snapdragon processor.  I could even try to poke fun at the expense of those who have one of these new ‘super devices’ because my battery life is better than theirs (that’s literally the only ammunition I’ve got...), but I don’t think I could hide my jealousy for more than a second or two.  No, I’ll do my best to enjoy my Eris until the sweetness of upgrade pricing with a new two year contract beckons again....

Anyone feel my pain? Better yet, anyone eligible for an upgrade, but continue to hold out for the next best phone (torturous, huh...)?  How long will you wait?  Let me know in the comments how you deal with techno-lust.