Monday, August 2, 2010

Fear of getting 'Left behind': Setting your expectations right

As device manufacturers release new device after new device with a seemingly more and more rapid pace, devices become outdated only 6 months after purchase. What then is the mindset one must have when facing this modern mobile market that has such a breakneck developmental cycle, if one wants to always stay on top?

You have probably had this happen to you already:

You've just made a purchase for something great, put down a great wad of dough and think you're on top of the tech game with a device that's so advanced, that nothing can touch it for a long time.

A couple of months pass and you begin to hear the rumours of something new coming from your device manufacturer. You're interested, but still very happy with your product. You hit the 3 month marker and suddenly something's made official: your device will receive its successor in just another 6 months. Your forehead slams on the keyboard and you begin telling yourself, that at least the software will be updated.

Slowly you realise, that future updates to your device's software and/or firmware are more and more unprobable. Or if they do arrive, they will come perhaps in a year's time, but whatever update you might receive next, could be the last one ever for your device. You now live in the 6th month.

Setting your mind straight

Now this is probably going to be easier for me to say than for a lot of people, but you need to set your mind straight about technology from the get-go. Below are some points I want to make about getting into the correct mindset when thinking about getting devices.
Specifications: Instead of drooling after specs, think about what the specs can do for you. The decision to buy a high-end product always includes a materialistic wanting over something fancy, but try to get yourself to think beyond that. That Snapdragon processor might be the latest trend (well, we're already moving on by the time I type this), but think of what it can do for you. If you want the device because of its processor, then you'll only feel bad when devices with faster processors start coming out. If, however you're looking for a device that can, say multitask so that you can watch high quality video streaming from the browser while it constantly checks your e-mail and IM's in the back, then find out if the device can do this. Now 1Ghz devices are undoubtedly fast, but what about the example that the N900 sets? The N900 stock processor speed is only 500Mhz, and yet it can perform these feats without any hassle. This is because the Maemo OS is quite capable of handling this kind of multitasking.

So don't make it about specs, but think about how the specs and everything else about the specs come together. Think about how it serves you. Don't demean yourself to serving the specs.

Longevity: Now you'll want a device that can last you a long time. Of course you do, no questions asked. Often you might have to purchase a device with a lengthy contract, and so you'd like to like the device for at least the length of your contract.

Here again you must think of the big picture. Instead of thinking about how often you will be receiving software updates, think about how satisfied you are with the current software. A lot of the time people are going crazy about features that new OS versions bring, and begin to feel that they are entitled to these features as well. 

As an example (one of a gazillion), Flash 10.1 for the Maemo platform. At the moment, users from far and wide are raging to get the latest Flash support for the N900. Flash support is present in the latest Android build and naturally will be present in the Maemo's successor, MeeGo as well. Nobody's really stopping to think how about 80% of the web's content still works on their device.

Its a business: Last and definitely not the least, people seem to forget that smartphone devices are ... *drumroll* a business!

Therefore there can be some sound reasons as to why you won't receive the latest features of the latest firmware: they want you to buy the next device. Not download it. For the same reasons support for the previous versions will slowly die away, as they want to steer you towards a new product. 

In short: this is as far away from a charity as you can get. Whenever you feel like you deserve something for free, think again! Because you want it, then that could be the very reason why you're not going to get it with your current device.

Finally: some guesses of mine

Okay so now that I've turned at least some of you (hopefully) into realistic cynics, here are some predictions or guesses of my own about things currently floating in rumour mills and wishing-wells:

- The N900 will not receive Flash 10.1, at least not any officially. Compatibility will be community made, although it will be a workaround more than a real "fix". (signs of that already present.) The developer preview of MeeGo 1.0 for handsets will however support Flash 10.1 and be available for the N900. By then people will be wanting Flash 10.2, however. ;)

- The N900 will receive one more firmware update (PR1.3?) but it will be the last bugfixes and a kind of "goodbye" to a legendary device in Nokia's history.

- Symbian^3 devices will not be upgradeable to Symbian^4.

- What you see in current N8 previews is the Symbian you will get in the finalized product.

- Will add some "predictions" as I encounter more.

No comments:

Post a Comment