Are you afraid of contractual commitments? Do you lose sleep over how to get the next best device? If you said yes to either question - you're in good company because you're definitely not alone.

Smartphones are more relevant to our daily lives than we may ever acknowledge and we have every right to demand the best. For this reason alone, I've compiled five yes or no questions that might help you decide if a device is worth the multi-year commitment.

Does the mobile carrier or manufacturer have a history of releasing updates?

For those with iPhones or Nexuses - here's a freebie. You are excluded from this argument.

Regardless of your interest in mobile operating systems, your carrier and manufacturer's history with update releases should be considered when purchasing any smartphone.

I don't believe that any other operating system discriminates as much as Google's Android. Whatever your belief, a device's release schedule should not be at the discretion of an outside source (i.e. the carrier). For the same reasons mobile connectivity is a right in Germany, timely updates to our operating systems are a right to the user experience. It could even be detrimental to your productivity.

Imagine life without Siri. Or life with Google Now. Life without multitasking in Windows Phone 8. It's detrimental to the user experience. I have every right to enjoy the next best operating system feature as much as the next flagship from Apple or Samsung does. There shouldn't be any reason for a carrier or manufacturer to regulate how productive you are with your device which is why all smartphones should have the latest software version.

Is the device relevant to your personal and professional life?

Any smartphone has to be useful for its user. As a user, we must know how to operate it to find a reason to keep it in our pockets. Whether your poison is Android, BlackBerry 10, Boot to Gecko, iOS, Windows Phone, or Ubuntu - you should know how to make your device work for you (not the other way around).

In my personal life, I'd consider myself a moderate power user. I do not do any developing despite having a Nexus device. Likewise, I value the ability to kill applications on-the-fly. I need to manage the speed of my processor if I plan to be away from my phone charger to conserve battery life.

And most importantly, I need a reason to keep my phone. Flashing ROMs, organizing my homescreen, and enjoying the way my operating system responds to my daily activities are not only necessities: they're rights and values. For the same reason I have kept my Nexus longer than any other device I have ever owned, I need a substantial reason to flip and sell it. I do not have a legitimate reason to sell my device, so I have the right device. Ask yourself what your device is for and then you'll know if it's relevant to your life.

Is the smartphone built to last?

If you're using a smartphone that is now unidentifiable due to an obscene amount of dings and scratches, you are more of a man than I am. I have a tough time owning a device that is not in like-new-just-made-and-assembled condition. This is partially because I go through smartphones like socks. It's also because I like things that last - things that can take a beating.

There are plenty of fragile smartphones on the market: the Apple iPhone 5, HTC One X+, HTC EVO 4G LTE, LG Nexus 4, to name a few. But that doesn't mean I avoid devices that are fragile. I've accepted many moons ago that something used as frequently as my smartphone will not remain perfect. And I'm not a rough guy; I have two desk jobs. I'm just saying if it gets dinged or scratched while sitting next to my keyboard, it's not the right device for me.

For me to keep anything for two years, it has to be durable. I don't think anything with glass on both sides is built to last. Smartphones with aluminum on the back and front sides are not built to cope with daily life. Some people think plastic is synonymous with "cheap" and I understand that argument. But there is a such thing as good plastic (or polycarbonate for those in denial), so I suggest you embrace it (unless you can wait for graphene).

Does the smartphone excite you?

You don't keep a gaming console if you don't use it. You don't buy a puppy that isn't cute. So, why should you keep a smartphone that isn't exciting? Even if you aren't into mobile technology, you are endowed to the device inside your pocket based on one single fact: you know how to use it. To some, a device should be easy to use - iPhone users. Other prefer devices that are efficient and simplistic - Windows Phone users. Some like a whole bunch of glass and no buttons - BlackBerry 10 and future Ubuntu users. Others just want to mess around with something that might never be used to its full advantage - Android users.

Regardless of your preference, as long as you enjoy using your device, you have picked the right device. Too many times do I hear "I don't even use this." There needs to be a reason for you to want to use your smartphone. Mobile carriers are making a killing with the contracts we are bound by, so do yourself a favor and get what you paid for!

Will the smartphone's specifications last for two years?

I'm talking about a processor that pushes pixels along and keeps transitions fluid. An amount of RAM that doesn't negate the total of applications and processes running in the background. A battery that doesn't limit the time you can enjoy the Internet or make calls.

Whether you like it or not, the specifications of your device will affect how much enjoyment you can get from it. For the same reasons you hate hearing about quad-core processors and obscene amounts of on-board storage, you need to know what they mean. Please, don't buy a phone with a first or second generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. I don't recommend purchasing a device that doesn't take full advantage of the display's native resolution. I wouldn't even recommend buying a phone that doesn't have a microSD card slot.

But most importantly, the muscle powering it all must be able to keep up with you. For the sake of longevity, buy the device with the best specifications if you plan on locking yourself into a multi-year commitment. It's for your own good. And yes, it's worth whatever they're charging for the device.


What do you think, Mr. and Mrs. Reader? Are these five reasons enough to lock yourself into a multi-year contract? Is there any reason to keep a device for two years, or do you prefer to rotate smartphones like I do? Let me know your reasons for keeping a device in the comments below!


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97 Reactions to this post

"Can you name five good reason to keep your smartphone for two years?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Josef Ruiz Because it does what I need it to do? Talent Trust - Offshore with a difference
Jessica Rodriguez Never had a phone longer than 8 months lol
Jeremiah Cruzen Hell no !
Argenis Zapata Rodríguez I'll give you one good reason: phones are very expensive in Venezuela!
Jim Walker A so-called obsolete phone after only 1-2 years old is just a good marketing program. For God's sake, it's still just a dang phone.
Marekus Fluellen $375 Termination Fee, 1 upgrade possible on android, If android/Windows then your phone will still be better than the latest apple toy, Keep as hand me down or MP3 player, Back up phone potential for those who don't buy insurances.
Kevin Joel Windows Phone never grows old!
Saul Valladares So you have to pay more money to change phones halfway through the plan
Mason Hartley 1. Nothing new that I can't live without has come out 2. A 2 year old dual core 1GHz processor is plenty to handle my daily business
Joshua Feld No, the longest I've had a smartphone was 16 months. The only reason to keep it for two years would be to get the discounted price for another two years. You can't even keep up even if you tried now with smartphones releasing on the market non stop.
Francesco Vincent Parisi Noeske 1 why should you throw away something that works 2 affectionate to a phone 3 why waste money for some Mhz/processors more, better install a custom rom 4 why make giant global producers even richer 5 better 5 if the battery sucks buy a new one
Steve Roossien 1- its and iPhone. 2- its and iPhone. 3 - its and iPhone. 4 - its and iPhone and last but not least..... 5 - its and iPhone.
Keith Windiddy continual and consistant software updates (for Nexus Phones)
Cal-Gene Johnson I have one good one... 1. I bought it for the long haul, and did my reasearch before purchase. i'm sick of great tech not being supported because of device consumtion. We need to stop this addiction to beta devices so our current devices get the support they deserve!
Rafael Almonte 1- none whatsoever 2- nothing yet 3- an os update that upgrades my processor to 87 cores and increases ram to 963 GB 4- rim job from Kate Upton 5- get a free, all expenses covered Ferrari F-40
Julian Scott The only reason why any1 would keep their current smartphone for 2 years is because they can't afford a new 1. PERIOD
Timothy Obi-Wan Dexter Källsten Sadly, I can't. 12 months contract + me wanting a new phone all the time makes it quite hard.
Elijah Meadows NO! At the rate they pop these phones out your brand new top of the line phone will be obsolete in a month (if that long). My DROID RAZR will be a total dinosaur when I can upgrade and it already seems old as dirt
Ryan Peck Because my contract says I have to
Travis Robinson Hello no....!
Jimmy Pai 1.Better screen 2.Good camera 3.Good platform 4.King of customize 5.Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Jarmo Salmela 1.CyanogenMod 2. You can run most common apps with an older phone 3. External SD 4.Removable battery 5. It works
Ezzaldeen Zabalawi 2.the new phones are not that greater3.the new phones are very expensive in some cases 4.the android app are manege for all5.the applets to root and costume
Michelle Womble Never made it longer than a year. Usually around 8 months. I buy highest end out of contact too. Wish I could come up with a reason that would trump my tech junkie NEED for newest, fastest, bestest. But, just like support groups for my addiction, they don't exist. & it's not just smartphones. I'm the same with tablets, iPods (only Apple product), bluetooths (Mono & stereo). Someone please, give 1 good enough reason.
Håvard Ulsaker Ehh.... No
Basha Kisra Redwan 1-5 My 3 year Contract.
Gordon Christie the average in uk is keep a phone for two years which if i had a galaxy note or s3 is fine as both devices seem to have built in longevity.Some other phones dont so would take time to decide on what device is right for me.
Chastity Lynn Donoho 1-5 free stuff
Austin Mutschler I only need one. Cheaper upgrades.
Terence Gentry I'm still holding on to my T-Mobile GSII and even though I like the Nexus 4, its not something I HAVE to have. I'm running CM10 so I've got the latest software and I still haven't come across anything this good old Snapdragon S3 can't handle with ease, the camera is still wonderful and battery life is decent. I'm content, simply put.
Nicquis Thomas So u wont get charged for breaking your contract! (Galaxy Note 1&2 baby!)
French Twist 1) Because I'm not made of money. 2) Because it's not my job to keep the cell phone manufacturers in business. That said, when I get a phone (or a computer), I usually get a high-end device that has the least built-in obsolescence, so I can keep it for a while and not really feel the need to trade up. I'm still rocking an EVO 4G that is mostly doing the job quite well, thanks to Cyanogen Mod.
Sam Rick None.I just can't have the same phone for 2 years.
Joseph W Rodgers i have three phones that keep me entertained. htc rezound, htc thunderbolt rooted and my htc trophy. i enjoy all three
Oliver Antonio Fajardo While it shouldn't really matter to keep a smartphone for two years, I'm probably going to get a new one every year, because when I resell my previous phone it almost always pays for the new one; there is no harm in that.
Edward Gonse 1. Because manufacturers release a new phone every 15 minutes. 2. Because people have to make a brave decision on either paying an E.T.F. or keeping their leased vehicle in their driveway. 3. Because people don't want to be bothered by another bill collector blowing up their phone. 4. Because in this economy, good credit is more valuable than money itself. 5. Because your woman will wonder why you've never spent so much money on her at one time at any given time.
Kizito Nestor I would keep my note 2 cos of its battery life. .. screen size and the s pen...
Metchie Smith There really is no reason to have a phone for two years. With all the new and improved processors, memory, screens and os. After six months your outdated. Only Reason why we settle to keep them for 2 years, is cause we dont wanna dish out all dat money for retail price.
David Wilson It's simple. Paying full price for a cell phone is a waste of money.
Darrell Wax The camera Nokia n8.
Marti Ruiz many peopl g t confused
Marti Ruiz whe you sign a contract can get the phone for 199 but u have to pay about $ 15- 20 more on each bill.
Marti Ruiz that s why i pay the full price .
CalvEen Yaam Lol.. remember back in the days people kept their featured phones for at least 4 years and battery lasted a week+ without charging.
Sean Watson Only need 2. 1. Two years til upgrade every time. 2. Most people don't have tons of disposable income to just waste on tech every couple months
Emmanuel M. Castro my s3 is almost a year which is a great improvement because i used to switch phones every 3 months. i think s3 is an over all package with sd card support removable battery speed and screen. everything i need is here its still one of the best. no reason for me to upgrade. not unless s4 comes out then im screwed. :)
Qi Ren Because I have no money.
Fernando Xelo Because I'm an idiot and signed a new contract like a bozo!
Mathieu Omoregie Long as new phones comes out satisfying us tech junkies, there will never be a reason to keep a phone for 2 years
Kamaljeet Singh Otaal 1. Its a Note 2, Best phone for 4 months straight 2. Battery backup best ever. I dont think any new age phone can match that 3. Specs can hold up for 2 years 4. 4 cores 5. Its a Note 2
Heikki Rasanen Main reason is that you have to be sorta dumb to change phone all the time?
Faisal Farhoud i still love my evo lte!!
Christopher Manic Johnson Seeing how the speed of which devices are improving, keeping your device for two years is a good way to stay too steps behind the inevitable plateau. Having the latest and greatest is cool, but I'd rather enjoy the ride rather than rushing to the front.
Martin Pribojsky only one reason, is not fucking apple job..
Abram Wenevermet Dennis It just works..
Charles Shell I have an iPhone 4 and I'm on a family plan. Imma upgrade in September 2014.
Jose Rodriguez I also used to change phones every 3 months or so: Galaxy S- iP4- Galaxy S2 Skyrocket- Galaxy Nexus and now my Note2. Really love it!
Cameron Walton I can't name 5 reasons, but I will refer you to the 200 reasons as indicated by the $200 it cost me.
Will Doyle 1. You shouldn't have to validate yourself with material things. 2. Nobody really cares if your phone is 2 years old. 3. Who actually wants to be known as someone who has to have a new phone every year? 4. Unless there is just some revolutionary breakthrough that makes smartphone functionality obsolete - IT'S STILL A PHONE. 5. Being a phone snob is just tragic.
Angel Jewels I've had the S3 since it's release, I've never been so happy with a phone. I used to jump through hoops to get the next great thing. & although I'm really interested in the note 2, I'm still very content with my S3. I intend on holding on to it for at least the next year. & if it continues to work flawlessly maybe longer. I guess for me, my past experiences with the galaxy 1 & 2 & the my touch 4G left a sour taste in my mouth. I lost hope of finding a phone that even worked properly. I have that now & more & am in no rush to give that up.
Chanarith Lach My HTC One V will be fine for another 5 years or more.
Christopher Williams Android + xda = problem solved!
Gabe Moran When I had motorola phones, I wanted to change phones every time. Now with an s3 and rooted....nah Imma wait two more years. So next year is when I upgrade :D
Christopher Williams If Google keeps their prices reasonable on the Nexus, I'll upgrade yearly.
Xavier Choudhury It's a Nexus
Virg Prekazis 1. Saves money 2. Support for the phone is still in force by the company 3. Majority refreshes every year lack major changes and are minimal 4. Apps, videos and OS still works perfectly meaning you get the same content 5. Contracts are generally two years, best stick to it fully and start fresh after it's up. EXTRA: 6. It takes time for some countries, carriers etc to get the new phones, often one finds themselves phone less or rushing to sell their old one at the last minute. It's also nice to have a full refresh feeling, yearly swaps mean you are never excited for more than 1 week.
Ricardo Lopez Youre poor
David DiPilla Nope I want a new one ever year lol
Gerard Anaya Custom ROMs. I change it every time I get bored.
Eric Wainright 1.Its a cellphone, 2.The new phones aren't greater than what you have now, 3.You save money by not being a stupid band-wagoner, 4.No one really cares what phone you have, 5.NO ONE needs a new iPhone every 6 weeks.
Francis San Pedro Unless something faster than LTE comes out within the next two years, I probably won't get a new phone. Free tethering is enough fore.
Jack Brown SAve then when the iphone 6/7 comes you can buy it outright. I hate contracts!!!
Lanh Nguyen I can't go more than a year without buying another phone...too addicted to phones.
Andrew Johnson I love my note 2, but i cant wait to see the S4 and the note 3 and i will want them both. But the truth is i cant afford 700 or 800 bucks for a new phone... Thats the only reason i will wait 2 years for a new phone.
Lowell Orlando Richmond my nokia N8 is 3 years and pentaband,full aluminum anodized metal unibody,12mp camera,hdmi out,usb-on the go and more
David Tatishvili 4)Rooted and on 4.2.1 5)You can download tools to gain more power and speed
David Tatishvili 5 good reasons ?? 1)I have Galaxy S(T959) Vibrant... 1st Galaxy S model 2)It's still one of the best phones ever 3)It's graphics and colors are the best
Niall Barr No I'm pay as you go
Rodrigo Ramirez I uses to switch phones every 6 months but now that I have my iPhone 5 I will stick with it for the 2 years
Florens Richter Cause is the Note II ;)
Matthew C Sjoblom Have the galaxy note 2 and galaxy s3. But,gotta give my main device is the,Note 2. Especially with multiwindow such a saver. Rooted the gs3 and running 4.2.1 now. Note 2 tomorrow will be rooted in a few minutes
Alejandra Moreno Stupid people -_-
Andy McCormick don't want to pay for new device, love my current device, still have verizon unlimited plan and don't want them to make me change, root and moded just how I want it, oh and paid for extended battery.
Tejwant Singh Because they're made to call and text Almost all of them do that
Uriel Luna I've had my galaxy nexus since it came out and I haven't even filled up the 32gigs it has. Best phone. My opinion
Hector L Torregrosa-Ramos HTC Rezound, need I say more?
Stephen Michael Bayers I change mine every month basically. Hahah
Yvonne Neilson Shefke No. I think 2 years is to long. Would like it better if there were one year contracts.
Luis Reich I would be lucky to keep mine for 6 months...Oh wait... The Galaxy S4 is coming isnt it...lol
Ray Ando It's cheaper.
Tyler Saddington I can't! I change my phone every 2-3 months!
David Daniel Schwartz Keeping a budget

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