Tag Archives: smartphones

Planned Obsolescence–Smartphone Version

Rant–Replacing a Phone Needlessly

Time was, smartphone batteries were replaceable. Not anymore–practically speaking.

So what? The what is that the average life of the battery is 500 recharges. Let’s say a charge lasts 18 hours. That gives you 750 days–a little less than two years. What happens then? Well, it will still recharge, but it won’t last 18 hours anymore. Maybe 10-12. Then 7-9. Then, maybe it starts overheating and the glue starts loosening up that keeps the back on.

Now, the phone makers will tell you the batteries had to be smaller to make the phones thinner and enable all those features people want.  Really? Yes, so they can pay $500-$1,200 or more for an electronic device that will die if you drop it in the water (at least some, if not most of the time) or drop it on the floor, step on it, etc. Or you might forget it somewhere. It’s the most fragile device you have for the money.

Oh, but you can, theoretically, open the back and replace that skinny battery. Yes, you can buy a replacement battery and some tools (lots of tools) that will enable you to do that.  Less than $25! Oh, but you need a heat gun, too–if you don’t have one. That could be another $30-$75 if you want one with adjustable heat so you don’t fry the phone. You might as well order a new back for the phone too–probably less than $10. Why? Because the YouTube DIY videos will concede it’s a difficult task–they don’t tell you HOW difficult it is to do without destroying the back. The phone makers don’t want or expect you to replace the battery. They want and expect you to buy a new phone.

What happens to the old one? Well, it might get refurbished. It might get put in a landfill with other unwanted electronics. Not exactly environmentally correct, is it?

We will get the new back for the phone my wife had before she got her new one. We couldn’t get the back of the phone off without messing up the cheap plastic cover from the pricey phone. The battery was getting slow. She was going to give it to our son, whose phone wouldn’t hold a charge. Now it turns out both the front and the back of his phone (my previous one) are bowed out from the battery overheating. OK, it is older phone. We can then fix up her old one so he can have a better one, with that replacement battery that will last for 500 charges.

He’s been without a phone for a week now. The back cover we ordered from Amazon was originally coming from Wisconsin. Subsequently, it was coming from Oregon. Ah, then I recalled the news about Wisconsin coming down on Amazon for their lack of cooperation with health officials about their distribution facility in Kenosha–with 20 COVID-19 cases. Well, Jeff–do you think you might spend a few of those billions to take better care of your employees (disclosure: we have been buying lots of stuff from Amazon for some time now–selling too, like my Kindle books).

So, maybe you might consider demanding replaceable batteries. Or, maybe you might consider buying cheaper phones without all the bells and whistles. Seems like right now they really have us all over a barrel–if the phones won’t stay charged, we have to replace them. All because a battery won’t last!!!!!!!!!!!!

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You Might not Need a Mobile Carrier by 2020

 

Smartphone image

So says David Goldman in a piece a month ago (late to the party I am) on CNN Money.

Wi-Fi is ubiquitous. No longer the realm of coffee shops and homes, Wi-Fi spans entire neighborhoods. Trains, planes and automobiles are Wi-Fi equipped. Cruise ships have Wi-Fi. Comcast (CMCSA) has even made every customer’s router into a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

That’s good news if you’re a cell phone user. The more you email, watch Netflix (NFLX, Tech30), stream Pandora (P) and surf Facebook (FB, Tech30) over Wi-Fi, the fewer gigabytes you have to buy from your cell phone company. Plus, calls and texts are now able to be sent over Wi-Fi too.

Broadband customers that actively use Wi-Fi on a regular basis save more than $30 per month on their wireless bill, according to a Macquarie Group survey published last week.

Don’t cry for the mobile carriers, they still have many profitable years ahead. Before going all WI-FI, you will want to be sure that hot-spots get more secure, too. Still, it is is a sign of the times that carriers like Verizon are reducing the bandwidth for 3G service and shifting it use by 4G.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid to switch to save bucks.