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Most people, when they go into their carrier store with the intention of buying a new cell phone, they plan to keep that phone for the next two years. In exchange for a smaller price tag, otherwise known as subsidization, the majority of wireless customers here in the States sign two-year agreements with their wireless provider.

It's a common misconception, however, that the agreement ties a customer to a specific device. Every time a friend or family member sees I have a new phone, I can count on being asked, "How do you switch phones so often?" I can't begin to express how many times I have tried to explain to them that the contract they signed does not prevent them from changing phones at any point throughout the contract, but that it means they agreed to keep their line in good standing for two years instead.

As most of you probably already know, you can activate another phone on your line at any point throughout the contract. If you're on a GSM or LTE network, simply pop your SIM card in an inactive phone (that is compatible with your network) and you're good to go. If you're a CDMA user, you simply have to consult the carrier's web terminal, access your account and enter the new device's ESN (equipment serial number).

It's quick, painless and I find myself doing all of this far too often at times.

With the exception of our fearless leader, Aaron Baker, I can't think of anyone who likes to switch phones more often than I do. Being in this industry and writing about all the latest smartphones, tablets and scores of smart accessories each and every day, it's difficult to stay focused on one device for more than a few weeks at a time. And it takes serious effort on my part to keep a phone for more than a couple months.

I don't know the exact count of phones I purchased last year, but the number was well into the double digits (somewhere between 15 and 25, maybe more). By trading and selling old phones and feeding a little money into the pot every so often, I was able to continually have new devices at little to no additional cost. You just have to play your cards right (or, in my case, have a friend who knows how to wheel and deal on Craigslist).

This past New Year's, however, I made a resolution to stop buying so many phones, to keep the ones I had for longer. I can't say that I've strictly stuck to the plan, but I've definitely come a long way. This year, I can actually count how many phones I've owned: exactly seven. I started the year with a Galaxy Nexus (which I bought in December) and an iPhone 4S on Verizon that I've had since launch day. I traded the Galaxy Nexus for a Galaxy Note and used it on T-Mobile for about two months. Then I opened a new account with AT&T for a Lumia 900, which I later traded in for the HTC One X. And in preparation of leaving Verizon (once my contract is up) and to ensure I could get my hands on one for a low price before the ban took place, I purchased a Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play Store. I also bought a BlackBerry Bold 9930, which I only kept for a week or so.

I have to say I'm actually proud of myself. We're in July and I'm averaging one phone per month, which still may seem like a lot of phones for most people. But it's at least half the rate I was buying phones last year. I have had the iPhone 4S since its launch and only deactivated it once (only to activate it again two days later), and I've been using the HTC One X primarily on AT&T since May 6 with only a few switches to the Galaxy Nexus here and there.

This is not only a testament to my recovery from cell phone A.D.D., but it's also a testament to how much some companies – like HTC – have improved over the last year. (It could also be that almost every Android manufacturer significantly slowed down their product schedules. But I would like to believe it's more about improved quality than production cycles.) Instead of having a long list of bugs and other complaints with almost every device, I hardly have any with the One X. And while I would prefer the iPhone 4S to be quite a bit larger, I can deal with its small stature for the great battery and camera.

And I've even slowed it down with tablets, too. I owned at least seven or eight tablets last year alone. This year, I'm up to three: Nexus 7, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime and a new iPad.

None of this is to say I won't go berserk later this year if a handful of new flagships come out – I'm almost positive I will if multiple Nexi release along with the new iPhone. But for once, I'm actually content. I'm not planning my next move and I'm not worried about what will come out next. I'm happy with what I have.

Tell me, readers. How many phones do you go through each year. Just one? Or, like me, do you like to switch it up every so often? Have you also become more content with your phones and products become more refined?


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152 Reactions to this post

"Have you owned more than one phone this year?"


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Anonymous Yes. N900/SII/SIII
Anonymous Yes. I changed few Android and Windows phones.
Anonymous Yes. A t-mobile motorola cliq and a samsung galaxy s 2
Kenny Kenwad Holder yep. two craptastic Sanyo Innuendos, a slightly less crappy LG Rumor Touch, and finally my current glorious Nexus S 4G. all is good.
Tony Brown yes. htc sensation. galaxy s2 and now the s3
Tyler Kirchman No but the longest I've had a phone was 8 months with palm pre plus
Anonymous Not this year, but between summer '09 and summer '10 I had 3 phones, a Motorola C139 (hated the thing with a passion), a Motorola W376G (the first phone I ever texted on), and a Samsung Strive (great keyboard, pretty much a CrackBerry without the OS).
Cameron Lovell Yes iPhone 4 Then HTC One X (current)
Bobby Libby Started the year with the galaxy nexus than the gnote than galaxy s 2 than HTC vivid than Nokia lumia 900 than iPhone 4s than htc one x... Actually have had one x since launch and am content with keeping it... For now
Ryley Heller Had tmobiles htc wildfire, now I got att samsung captivate glide and I love it
Gaurav Bhardwaj Htc flyer(tablet) than galaxy note..greatest device ever..galaxy note love it..
Gonmei Angam You're all exaggerating.
NathanD247 I change phones every 2-3 years! How in the world can you go through 25 (or more!)
Kevin Wilson Twice a year. IPHONE 4, GALAXY 1, EVO, SENSATION, GALAXY3
Sean Martin When my contract allows me to at the cheapest possible price.
Roger Ohlsson 1st one was a iphone 3gs, NEVER again a apple phone, BOORING phones. have now one Note love it and one SGS2.
Miguel Turcios Htc Aria, htc inspire, BB torch, Samsung focus, SE Xperia neo v.... Nokia Lumia 900 soon to come... And as soon as WP 8 comes out, u kno wuz up....
Curtis Owens How often does it look? i still have a pre-razor era phone with the cingular emblem on it. :-
Ethan Maness I've had the same phone since october 2011 .its the LG thrill 4G 3D.but I'm wanting the galaxy note :/
Zach Cline I normally don't have anything longer than six to seven months. I'm probably going to buy the galaxy S3 for backup this september
TechSavvy86 iphone 4 right now and hopefully a galaxy nexus with jellybean
Robert Mathias Had three in past year. Evo, gs2, now gs3. Sticking with this for at least a year....
Ross E. I've owned about four... and looking for another one..
Johnson Wang GALAXY S3 and next iPhone............Im waiting now !!
Kenneth Moody I keep two phones so this year I've have the iPhone 4,iPhone 4s, htc rezound, galaxy nexus, getting the galaxy s 3 next week and then getting the new iPhone whenever that drops.
Shawn Sedha yes i have
Chuck Rico Taylor I've had three droid charge, toy-phone 4s and the greatest "SAMSUNG GALAXY S3"
Carlos Chee T- Mobile Wing to G1 to Nexus One to G2 to G2x to Galaxy Nexus.
Carlos Chee Whenever a new Nexus comes out. Before that it was whenever a vanilla android phone came out.
Jaime Espinoza Lg Optimus S to HTC Evo Design To Samsung Galaxy S2 to HTC EVO 3D to LG Marquee and Back again To Samsung Galaxy S 2 Epic 4G Touch. All with in this year.
David Weiss More often than I need to but less often than I want.
Jeremy Shaffer 4 so far this year all Android. Thinking about trying iPhone. Any thoughts?
Heather Mayer I am a phoneaholic. If I can sell last months phone for a good price then I get what ever new phone that just came out. I've had the HTC Inspire, Motorola Atrix, Samsung Infuse 4G, Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Skyrocket, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Nexus ( Favorite so far) , HTC One X , Samsung Galaxy S III ( Current) .... I wish I could work for a company that would let me be a tester. :-)
Jeremy Gonzales I've had 5 so far this year and planning on getting a new one in the next week or two.
Charlie Ebner Not longer than a human pregnancy...at least that's what my ex used to tell me.
Chris Downs Droid charge, HTC rezound, droid incredible 4g, and fixing to be galaxy s iii. Then in the fall I will pick up whatever HTC puts on Verizon.
Jesse Huertas Galaxy SI (was rooting and flashing a crap load of ROMs), GSII, GNex and One S (The wife's) and I will get the GS3, waiting on if TMo will release the red one
Ali Ahmed Siddiqui Since Aug 2011 I have gone through nine phone with a total of twelve phone since my very first one
Ebod Todd Shojaei 3 phones from the bb curve 3G to the Samsung Galaxy Ace finally switching to the htc one v.
Teresa L Smith Not yet but I'm seriously thinking about getting another one soon.
Chris Northcutt Had three phones during this past year. Started out with the Samsung Epic 4g with Sprint, then the Samsung Infuse 4g, and now have the Galaxy S3. Without any doubt the GS3 is the best phone I have ever had. I think I will be keeping this phone for awhile!
Andriea Jones I have had 6 of the same phone in the past year. My kids are no help, they are the ones breaking them up.
Samuel Balderrama Samsung prevail boost mobile , HTC evo,Motorola photon sprint , Samsung galaxy s2 and HTC one x on att and thinking of getting the galaxy s3.
Brandon Pineda Droid 1x2, Droid 2, Droid 3,Galaxy Nexus( will be current)
Ronelo Frias 4 phones this year... iPhone is the best (much entertaining, i can even take it underwater; lifeproof lol), samsung galaxy note (boring phone ever), Samsung galaxy s3 (not worthit, typical android)... SE xperia play (rock on)
Mark Greentree Arc, Razr, sensation, sg3s, X one. :-\
Proloy Mitra 6 months, enough to explore
Jared Rodriguez Just one. The LG thrill. Had it since October 2011
Paul Alexandru I didn't switch anymore since i have my iPhone
Allen Edmonds Every two months
Chad Forthman Every six months.
James Vincent Well I started the year with an optimus v then switched phones and carriers and got a captivate... Now I'm using an HTC inspire
Eric Rogers Yep 5 so far.
Claire Winstone I would switch if I could figure out whether to get a new Samsung or the most recent HTC on T-Mo, or just get a Nexus. Important to me are battery life, the ability to pull the battery if the phone freezes (my 2-year-old Vibrant does so on occasion) and the ability to add an external SD card for more storage. I haven't been able to find a decent comparison, or specs that cover these things. Can anyone help me out on this? Oh, and a decent speaker, since I'm a bit hearing-impaired.
Vicente Reyes Every 1-2yrs. Why get another phone if a smart phone is good fir awhile. And if its too slow or too buggy then root and flash another rom onto it. I have the ATRIX 2 stock rom.
John Zanatta 7 since Jan. 1st. Shortest lifespan was 2 weeks. Craigslist is the crack-dealer for phone-aholics.
Brandon Little-spoon Levesque Wildfire s then one s
Frank Tiberius Marte Jr Yes I did. I went from HTC Thunderbolt to the Droid RAZR Maxx.
Brandon Worley Resound Razr Maxx SIII
Tavaris Johnson Every 6 months or when something awesome to me comes out.
Chris DuMonceaux I'm at 4 this yr so far..
Rani Hinnawi Not often enough. To clarify, I still have a Droid X.
Andre Jackson I'm on number 10 right now and love it galaxy s3
Bradley E Watson I have every smartphone thinkable because i work for a company that pays me to tests and review phones and tablets from the big 4 carriers and luckily i git 2 keep them all or sell them if i wish. I get sumthing new daily. You name it i have it this includes tablets, laptops cameras, camcorders, webcams, and just about anything electronic. I could start my own mobile electronics store with all the stuff i have.
Jake Graulich Went from the my touch 3g to the HTC one s this year.
Tyler Saddington I have had 8 in the past 7 months: 1. HTC Desire HD 2. Nexus s 3. Xperia X10 4. Xperia Play R800a 5. LG Optimus Black 6. Xperia play R800i 7. HTC Sensation 8. Galaxy Nexus (Current phone) (That list is in order)
David Aguilera Only switch to another phone when my current phone is not functional. Going to switch from my epic 4g of nearly two years, to a galaxy s3 on sprint.
Jose Angel Santiago HTC rezound,iPhone 4s(ashamed to admit it) lol and the gs2..
Scott Pepi ive owned 3 different ones in the last 3 months. Photon, EVO 4G LTE, and now Galaxy S3
Francisco Ramirez Nope. Just one. Nexus one. Been two years and six months.
Amie Lee Greenway Sadly yes and it's cost us a fortune. I had a Droid Bionic then an iPhone 4S now I have the Droid Razr and in a few months I'm switching back to the iPhone again. What a pain.
Dynique Jenkins 4 this yr
Edward Gonse 3 different phones this year. I'm restless with phones because I want to try them all out before I settle with my favorite one. Thank God for return policies.
Frank Zambrano Optimus g2x blackberry 8520 nexus s4g nexus s galaxy nexus
Kaylee Sill About every 4-6 months depending when the good sprint phones go under a $200-$250 avg on eBay
Richard Allen Hi I'm Richard and I'm addicted to New phones....haha...I trade out every few months...I sell one and get another...I have a rezound now....
Edgar Rodriguez As long as they take me! Currently using galaxy s1 for T-Mobile . Also waiting on galaxy s3 to be shipped to my house
Chase Millar Went from myTouch 4G to a Samsung galaxy s3. So not here...
J Alberto Garcia Flores 2. I had the galaxy S 2 and I know have the Galaxy S 3 with Verizon
Amanda Grace In my two years with TMO Ive had about 5+ phones.. This year I think I've gone through 2 or 3..
Nick Kalman IPhone 4s, Galaxy Note, Skyrocket, Droid RAZR GSM Unlocked and now GNex.
Manuel Hexxdamangx Cortes since january mytouch4g galaxy s 2 mytouch 4g slide galaxy s3
Erick Vargas Ocampo an iphone 3gs .. then infuse 4g ... now droid razr
Dominic Jessup Reid partly Androids fault.
Gilly Lopez 4 phones. Evo shift, iphone 4s,galaxy note, and galaxy nexus
William Wadsworth It has been roughly every six to eight months. I'd switch to a Galaxy Nexus instead of my Droid Razr Maxx if it had the same battery life and global roaming capability.
Douglas M. Smith Every two years or contract terms...
Armando Sanchez yup, I've owned four.
Latricia Giles Too many.. HTC Sensation, HTC Amaze, Galaxy S, Galaxy 2, BlackBerry 9900, and now the Galaxy S3...
Robert Sivonjic i change it every 2 years ;P right now my first android HTC Sensation XL and im Lovin it ;D
Kong Yang 2 years and 8 different smartphones and NEVER an iPhone. Right now I've got a keeper in the GS3.
George Cruz Any word from iPhone 5 or should I get the galaxy s 3?????
Alvin Mathew 2 so far.
Nathan Wright 3 almost 4. Samsung focus, Nokia lumia 900, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s for my upgrade this weekend.
Andre Frederick As much as possible. I brought the HTC Evo 4G Lte out of pocket on may 24th. I brought out my contract with 8 months remaining for $125 then got the White 16GB Samsung Galaxy S3. I gave my EVO 4G Lte to my Fiancee. I brought the Samsung Galaxy S2 out of pocket last September and gave my EVO 3D to my fiancee. I will be holding on to this Samsung Galaxy S3 for the next 2 years, just waiting for Sprint 4G Lte to be unblocked in Baltimore.
Enrique BigPapi Martinez I've had about 20 phones this year, including anything brand new that came out.
Nic Kolas too often..
George Cruz I have my iPhone 4 but I want the galaxy s 3 and then iPhone 5 : )
Andrew Conrad Too many lol. But after iPhone probly not many more.
Marcus Wilson Annually
Mark-Anthony Gomes 3 handset's this year so far - BlackBerry Bold 9900, HTC Sensation and BlackBerry Bold 9790...looking out to see what iPhone 5 later this year will offer...
Javier Pineda Hd2 Inspire 4g and now htc Vivid
Leo Baxter Within one year: Palm Pre 2, HTC Thunderbolt, Droid Bionic, IPhone 4, HTC Trophy, IPhone 4S...wow
David Tambascio Donated my LG Revolution to a developer and bought a HTC Rezound.. but thinking of a Gnex now.. I CAN'T STOP!!!!!
Godswill Blinkston Odogwu Anytime a new fone comes out.....
David Hilgendorf One so far cause the year is not over yet :)
Nick Petrizzio I still have my RAZR V3I 6 years later, but it's unlocked AND on prepaid now, my main phone is a iPhone 4, I use two
Andrew Bird Whenever I need to. So about every 2.5 yrs.
Brandon Johnson Buying that many phones is stupid when the only real difference will be the os, I only upgrade yearly to at least maintain the latest os for the most outdated phone I own. Last year it was ios, this year it will be android.
Julio DeJesus Every time a new phone comes out on T-Mobile. I also have 2 Galaxy Notes, an iPhone 4 and iPhone 3gs.
Gilbert Montemayor I usually change out my phone every time Sprint releases something that catches my eye. My last phone was the GSII, I got the Evo LTE a week or so after it came out.
Michael Alvarado Castellano Umm I own the iPhone 4s n Samsung galaxy S lll
Roy Abercombe Jr Every 3 months or so way too often
Terry Nolting IF I could, I would do it every 6 months. Since I can't , 1 1/2, 2 years. You have too do what your wallet can handle.
Will Wiles Yes i have a iphone 4s and a galaxy nexus and they are both good phones..
Agim Alion once i year, im not trying to keep up with tech, thats for ballers
Enes Nadir Çomoglu i switched from Nokia 5235 to Samsung Galaxy S2 to Samsung Galaxy Nexus within one year's time.
Patrick Prezioso Jr New phone every 3 months and always end up back with the iPhone
Michael Neves 4 to 5 years...-.-' =,(
Jose Rodrigues I change phone every 2 weeks always get bored
Jose Ramirez When from evo 3d to iphone 4 to evo to iphone 4s to galaxy s2 to iphone 4. Lol And i enjoyed the iphone the most thts why i ended up with one at the end lol
Alexis Pedraza 8 phones xD
Noe Zuniga Twice a year ,I use my wife n son upgrade,they could care less bout phones.=)
Matthew Fleisher 2 years. And if I'm lucky a good phones comes out right before my upgrade date...currently have a SGS3.
Tony Abiama From my EVO 3D to the HTC ONE X back to my 3D and now I'm on my Galaxy Nexus
Jeff Hammond How often does Sprint release phones? Lol
Laura Mcendree about 5 this year.
Mihajlo Miki Duric only one in last 2 years
Ryan Michalowski Surprisingly no. :0 I usually switch every six months, but still have the iPhone 4.
Gary Mall like every 2 years cause of to much cost lol
Dustin Carney 3 phones this year... Inspire 4g,galaxy s2,and galaxy note... Soon to be galaxy note 2
Shawn Poling 3 months or so from galaxy nexus to iPhone 4s
Michael Staley im stil rocking my T-Mobile USA sidekick lx since 2007
Landon Lewis Brock 3 or 4 times a year. I'm a tech whore.
LaToya's Page Seriously every three months but i believe this sgs3 will b with me for a long time
Juan Botello So far I've had 15 just this year
Bernie Fen BALLENNNNNNNNNNNN... sticking to a term contract agreement is becoming more and more useless when you have new phones being pumped out every 2-4 months or so by different makers lol
Tabib Rehman In the last 12-14 months ive owned the nokia n8. galazy s1, galaxy s2, htc one x, galaxy note which is currently for sale since i want the s3 untill the note 2 comes out
Roberto Baños Lozano Yes! 4 so far and counting.
Michael Karson about every 2 months
Jomar Lee Streeter I sure have, I'm on AT&T and I switch phones every 6 months I feel like that's pretty good 4 phones within my 2yr contract.
Jared Hylton LMAO, I switch phones entirely too often. WAY more than I should.
Denise Charlton i switch phones wayyy too often!
James Fox Every 6 months or so




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