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Mobile computing, Opinion

Mobile devices issues – built to throw away 2

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Peter Thompson

I am not sure whether everyone experiences the same sort of issues I have been having with my mobile devices. But my experience thus far is that these devices don’t last very long. I am not talking in the sense of ceasing to operate but I am referring to staying functional and having an enjoyable user experience. The thing is, when you purchase a new phone/tablet usually you need some accessories, including a new case for starters. Sometimes you need to buy a keyboard because screen typing is alright for messaging but not really good for word processing. And for certain, as soon as the device connects to the Internet, it needs to update and then you must transfer all of your personal files, install applications you want and then add all the login data. It is kind of fun the first time, but after a few times it becomes a little monotonous.

However, this is not the only frustration that comes with your new device. At this point, it’s as good as the experience is going to get, from here it’s mostly going to be downhill. Here is a look at some of the issues with the latest and greatest mobile devices.

Typical mobile devices  issues

I find that no one seems to talk about the issues of the new phones, computers and tablets. I guess if you are spending around $1,000 per device, you don’t really want to talk about the problems because it would be kind of embarrassing. And because they look so nice and the touch screen functions well, you accept that there is a regular flow of problems and the need for updates and maintenance.

Well if it’s OK, I’m going to talk about a few of the frustrations that I suffer in relation to my portable devices.

  • The freeze – It reminds me of servers and desktops of the past. You click a button and then the entire system freezes.

  • The slow down – Oh, I love this! On the day you buy your phone or tablet, it’s quick, enjoyable to use and responsive. Give it around 12 months and a few operating system updates and it’s running like an elephant. It’s slow, isn’t it? It just doesn’t work the same as it once did.

  • The crash – Have you noticed how your iPad and iPhone actually lock from time to time and the entire operating system needs to be restarted? Or you’re in the middle of using your email when it just closes for no reason. The same applies to the web browser.

  • The software updates – The minute you install applications, you begin a permanent process of updating the phone/tablet. Every program has bugs, issues and updates and the updating is never ending. Of course any update to the operating system takes an eternity and renders the phone useless.

What happened?

And then after about 12 months, there have been two new models introduced and I find myself needing to shed out another $2,000 for a new, latest and greatest phone and tablet. This never seemed to happen with analog and digital phones. You only needed to replace them when they were lost. Digital phones, particularly the Nokia were bullet proof, never failed, never crashed – handsets that were super reliable.

I think the conclusion one can draw from this is that it’s like being ripped off. You see, all these fancy manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have processors and technology that they could install so that you wouldn’t need to upgrade so often, but then they wouldn’t make as much money, would they? There used to be a time when making a product that lasted a lifetime was something that a company stood behind proudly. Many German manufactures like Singer and Mercedes built things to last. Today, you feel like you buy something and the minute you take it outside of the shop, there will be something released almost immediately that will make you feel deflated and ripped off.

With all this new technology moving so fast, it’s amazing. It’s like it is all built to throw away.


♦ End

About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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  • Steve Cannard

    My major issue with the iPhone is that the glass breaks – not so much that it wears out. I also think that after two or three years with the same phone it gets a bit boring and I want something new. Our phones tend to be a fashion accessory and even a symbol of a certain status.

    Which makes me think – well – what is next? A few years ago we all had blackberries and then this new phone from Apple was taking the world by storm and even though it wasn’t a ‘corporate’ device, we all got them – and loved them. The world didn’t end because they didn’t have enterprise security software either. What they did have was a flexible platform that could develop and change as the user wanted to change – and of course they were cool. They took over – and changed – the world

    Now that Steve Jobs has passed however, Apple doesn’t look like the peerless innovator they once were. Frankly, if a taxi were to inexplicably run-over and destroy my iPhone, I would not be looking for an Apple replacement. Currently I want – a Samsung Galaxy III. Android has even more complexity and customisation than IOS, and is starting to look pretty cool to me. I do have some security concerns however..

    Contrast that to my iPad and I will probably have that as a useful device until it eventually wears out.I see no need to replace it as it acts a mobile convenience browser, mail client and ebook reader. Two years and going strong.

    The future is looking very good for mobile devices with far more variety. Apple is going to struggle to maintain market share in the face of a plethora of smartphone/tablet hybrids of various different sizes and niches. They will be fashionable, targeted and definitely – built to trow away for the next biggest thing. Who wants a phone that lasts forever anyway?

  • Lorna Ryan

    An Interesting article, and I’m sure there are many who share your views and frustrations Peter, Steve’s point about the glass is spot on and with all this innovation does not seem to have been addressed by Apple (too much money to be made from this I wonder?).

    But my input to this debate is as follows… Yes previous devices may have seemed more reliable, cheaper, more straightforward etc, but have you considered what they actually did… generally they functioned as one thing, a phone was for making calls, a walkman was for listening to music, a computer was used for browsing the internet and for playing games I needed an Xbox or a Playstation.

    Our ‘Phones’ and tablets now do all of the above and more, in one small hand held device!

    We’d think nothing of updating our computer software, restarting or turning off a device to save power / battery, you see where I’m heading here… we’re walking around with very powerful devices that have evolved technologically in a relativity short space of time. The ease of use, accessibility to the world and it’s information blows me away and I can’t wait to see where this technology will be in another 10 years (hopefully with shatter-proof glass!).