Nowadays, smartphones, tablets, and notebooks market grow at a very incredible rate.
Technology-wise, it is good. It means we, human, develop better technology at a rapid rate and it’s constantly struggle to make our world better. New hardware come and gone in mere months. Compare to the 5-6 years ago, technology and software growth are not as fast as today. This is the power of smartphone era. Every year, there’ll be a new series of devices competing each other to prove which one is better.
Since new devices with better hardware come out at rapid rate, a question arise: “When should I buy a new device?” I experienced it myself when I want to buy a new notebook. “What if I buy now, then a month later a new hardware release with better specification and cheaper price? Will I regret my choice? What if I wait a little longer, can I survive with an obsolete and almost disfunctional device?” You’ll never know when a better hardware release. It’s very confusing.
The electronic devices growth are terrible. With each hardware they (OEM – original equipment manufacture) release, they make the older version become obsolete. I mean it. It’s up to the point where they drop the backward compatibility for the older devices. If the periods between new hardware is long, it’s not that problematic. Sadly, it takes only mere months, nowadays. It also means that every device in the world degrade in months. Compare to the 5-6 years ago, the average life span of handphone took about 3-4 years. Now, 2 years passes by, and it becomes obsolete, obsolete to the point where you can’t update it with new applications anymore. Why? Because the application developers focus only in providing application for the “current” market, not the “past” market.
It’s my personal story. When I received my iPhone 3GS in middle 2010, it still feels like a godsend. Just like my sister’s Nexus One, the prototype of Google Android 2.1 which she received in 2010. Then, at the end of 2010, the new iPhone 4 released at a lot of application optimized for iPhone 4, which have a very powerful processor and GPU compare to mine. Those application can run in 3GS, but at performance cost and less eye-candy compare to it’s successor. Now, it’s 2012, and I feel like my phone is just like Apple’s unwanted child. In a mere 2 years, Apple has launched iPhone 4, 4S, and 5. Not to mention iPad, iPad 2, new iPad, and now the iPad Mini. Today, many applications now can’t run on 3GS.
My sister had the same problem too. Powered with only 120 MB internal storage and 2GB SD card, many of current android apps demands a lot of internal memory even though they are installed in SD card. Due to the save game and configuration saved in internal memory, my sister’s phone now can handle only a handful of apps. Even now, the Nexus One can’t get any software update due to the device’s age and the system requirements for installing new Android OS.
This is our world right now. It’s where Google and Apple compete each other by keep pushing new hardware to the market. Apple has a habit of releasing new iPad and new iPhone every year. Google, on the other hand, is worse. By July 2012 they released Nexus 7, and now they already announce the Nexus 10 release date in November 2012. Why? Just why?
What happen with the old, obsolete devices? Since it’s not posibble to sold a refurbished items, those things are just being stacked up in the closet. It has become a real problem. They are not like trashes that we can just throw in somekind of trash can. They are undisposable. And the problem become much more apparent in current situation, where new devices keep being pushed to the market, people keep buying new things, and things become obsolete so quickly.
Well, it has become a disease. When I wanted to buy a new notebook to replace my 4-years old notebook, it took me 3 months to decide which notebook I want to buy. It’s not that I don’t have a preference, but I worried what notebook will be released in 3 months. Why should I think like that? Because it is investment, a very important investment in a form of notebook. However, since the era has come to this, sometimes it makes me think like this: “Why should I worry about what will I buy? Why bother, it will degrade in 2 years anyway. Maybe even sooner than I expected. Just go on with it.”
Innovation and improvement is not a bad things. However, the end-user become the victim of this era competition. We need device which can keep us company for years, without having to worry that it’ll be obsolete or unusable due to aging. We need something that can assure us that we do not need to dispose our current device. Why? Because this things are undisposable. Do you think that we need a technology where electronics device become disposable, degradable, eletronics device? I guess that technology will be important. But first, I think we should revise our mindset of doing innovation and improvement.