Keeping the same phone for two years

I've been thinking about this for a while. Apple, Samsung, and Google are pricing their premium phones high enough to make a dent in most everyone's bank account. There's a lot of room to talk about phones, no matter how smart, being worth the asking prices, but talk probably won't change anything there. The prices are what they are, and we all expect to spend upwards of $900 on a new phone from any of the three the next time a new model comes along. If we buy one, that is.

As prices rise and hardware gets better, our phones will keep doing cool things longer than they used to.

And that's the thing. Along with the creeping prices, the features and parts used to build them are getting better, too. And I think we're at the point where a phone from almost any of the companies who make them could last two years, for even the enthusiast. That's us — people who read about phones on the internet because we love them enough to read about them.

I know some of us are already there. Pick any article about a new phone and there's a good chance you'll find someone happily keeping their Note 4 or Nexus 5, and people have been using iPhones for two to three years for a while now. The same goes for phones from LG, HTC, Motorola or anyone else. In 2019 we'll still see people who love their Axon 7. What used to be rare among the enthusiast crowd — keeping a phone because you like it and it still works fine — is a lot more common now. And that's one of those good things I like to mention every now and again.

Let's take Apple out of the picture here. An iPhone 5S is still a very usable phone because it was well built and Apple still supports it. There are people who bought one when it was first sold who will keep it until it stops working and an Apple Store employee helps them get a brand new model. Even the most die-hard Android fanatic has to recognize that Apple has nailed the after-sale support, and it's well worth paying for if you don't rush to buy the new thing every time it's shown to you.

Supporting a product costs a lot more than making it did.

Androids don't have that level of longevity. In a perfect world, Samsung puts its own processor inside every phone it sells, and it supports them for years. As long as it still turns on, it's fine. Samsung doesn't do this because it can't afford to put its Exynos processor inside every phone and it wouldn't be able to compete with the rest of the companies making Android phones if it had this sales model. The first might change once the courts sort out Qualcomm's fair-use patent pricing. But even then, Samsung just doesn't have the profit-per-unit (I'm sure there is a fancy accounting term for this) that Apple has and it can't make money this way. And the rest of the companies making Android phones? Pfffft. They would make one last model then disappear in a cloud of Chapter 13.

That's important. If you have a phone you want to use and it has some horrible glitch every time you try a certain thing, you need it fixed with an update. Of course, there are also security concerns, which is why Microsoft has to keep sending out updates for software it sold in 2002. These things matter to most of us, but what if your phone works just fine and you're not concerned about security? (You should be concerned about security, and you should lie to me if you're not so I can sleep at night.) That Note 4 does everything Joe wants it to do and does it well, so Joe is keeping it until it falls apart.

The reasons why phones can't be updated for a longer period makes sense, but that's a problem for a billion dollar company to sort out.

I think Joe might have the right idea. I was using my Nexus 5X yesterday and realized I could use it every day until it stopped getting monthly security patches in 2018. There will be cool things coming in the next software update for newer phones that I might like, but it does everything I need it to do just fine. The same can be said for a Galaxy S7 or an LG V10. They are great phones with stable software, and they still do everything they did when they were brand new. This isn't a brand thing because every company makes phones that someone just loves.

The only issue I see with keeping the Nexus 5X (or any phone) for two years or more is the software update situation. Because security updates are important to me, it probably matters more than it does for others, but we need to know the company who made it and took our money is willing to be there to fix whatever needs fixing when it comes to the software it runs. And unfortunately, you can't count on long-term support from any company in the Android space, even Google.

Keeping something you paid $900 for more than 12 months is not a crazy idea.

There are plenty of reasons why, and most of them make sense. But that doesn't matter because Apple and Microsoft can do it. We should expect the same service from a company as big as Google or Samsung or LG. Problems with component vendors or profit margins may be valid, but that's for the billion dollar companies to sort out and do whatever it takes.

We deserve better, and we deserve to be able to keep a $900 phone as long as we want. It would also mean we'll probably buy the same brand next time because we feel like we were taken care of. There is competition between the companies for more than just specs or screen resolution when it comes to our gadgets, and it needs to be just as important as how much RAM your next phone will have.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • additionally, i think it sucks that google stops updating the software after 2 years. my 6p is awesome and as of sept 2017 no software updates. my dad has a iphone 4s and it is running the latest ios.
  • The Nexus 6P is rocking the latest operating system. It also receives monthly security and stability patches. You can also sign up to the Google Android beta program and OTA install directly from Google Android O which is still in development. So I really don't understand when you comment that you don't have the latest OS? ... You do!
  • You are one of the lucky ones who hasn't been affected by the bootloop issue. I used it for a like 5 months and let my friend have it and he loved that phone until this issue came up and when I tried to ask hawuei and google for help, they just passed the blame to each other which was no help. But he got a Pixel XL so it worked out for him. Hope you don't have this issue
  • Except you are on the end of life cycle. As a 6p user I'm not pissed off, glad I didn't purchase a Pixel, I got what I paid for in a 6p, but no more going forward. At the upper price levels of $700+ we expect more.
  • They didn't say their 6p wasn't running the latest version, they said it will stop getting platform updates in a few months, and that's true. It'll get updated to 8.0, and then that will be that.
  • Guaranteed platform updates. That does not necessarily mean it won't get a point update of it's needed. And security updates go for another year after that.
  • It is possible it could get a point update but it's not something to hope for, as the only way it will happen is if there's a critical flaw in the software, not to add new functionality. Given Google's history, I'd say that actually is quite likely lol, they'll probably actually end on 8.0.2.
  • I think you missed the point in the article in 3 months time the 6p will only receive security updates which is my Nexus 9. Paid £400 and now no updates I think something needs to be done. So there is £1,100 of devices and in 2 years almost threw to the bin by Google. I am rooted so it doesn't bother me to much to the average Jo public must get fustrating
  • I have been using the Nexus 6P for over a year and I love it, I had HTC EVO until 2014.
  • That's the price of not being so controlling as Apple. But the Android ecosystem wouldn't have taken off if this flawed architectural model (freedom) wasn't chosen (see Windows phone). I only pick phones well supported by updated ROMs, with removable batteries. The latter now mostly so I can get a new battery after 2 to 3 years when they go downhill. My S5 is on it's 3rd year, June security patch. My replacement choices when necessary now limited mostly to LG, but I would miss the AMOLED display. Since everyone is doing away with removable batteries and ir blasters, probably in a few years I'll just go iPhone, since they will have the same features as Android phones and will be cheap enough used.
  • Doing the same with a note 4. I'll be keeping it until something other than the battery fails on it. Or if there's some new feature that I just can't live without.
  • I can't wait to get rid of my Note 4. It has absolutely the WORST camera I've ever had.
  • Buy an Asus phone and then complain about timely updates and which OS you are on...
  • If he actually has a 4s, then it doesn't actually have the latest version, they didn't release iOS 10 for it. If it's a 5s, then yes it has 10 and will get 11.
  • Take note that iphone 4 on iOS8 is near unusable, I have one at home and I'd gladly revert it back to 6 or something If I needed it.
  • I used my Nexus 5 for three years and it was fantastic for 2.5 of them. Hope to use the Pixel for as long.
  • Same here. Just replaced it this week.
  • I had my Nexus 4 for three years, with one battery replacement and a custom ROM when Google cut support. That was mostly because nothing came out that I thought was interesting or powerful enough to upgrade to. In the end, it was the 16GB of storage that killed it, 64 is still plenty for me at the moment though.
  • I probably would have kept my N4 longer, but I needed lte and yeah, 16 gb wasn't enough.
  • Same here, Pixel replaced my trusty N5. Worked great up until the last few months. Battery was awful and camera become a little laggy
  • Great write up Jerry. I've always questioned myself every time I upgrade. Do I need to? No. But I'm an enthusiast at heart and experiencing Android as many ways as I can is what I do. Chalk it up to the nature of the beast. Tech changes fast and Android continues to evolve.
  • True in so many ways. My co-worker just got a 5S because of those facts you stated. He likes iOS and the phone is still very reliable - and very affordable. Support for the mobile market is a hot topic locally - especially for the people who try to stay current with security and new concepts. Look at smart TVs​ that can supposedly track your viewing preferences and - possibly - in the future - change adds or commercials to get you to buy items... To me that's like Amazon's​ marketing strategy. It works. Look out mobile... I really like Android - the way I can customize everything to what I like (love it) - but Apple is not in the - sharing - of personal data - which has a sincere draw to that aspect of it... So to me - security is a prime concern on Android devices.
  • Sadly, every time I bring this up, the retort is simply customers don't care. And it's not entirely wrong. Or so many people effectively put a ~2yr max anyway on phone ownership. Though, my concern is more timely updates during ownership as well.
  • Well I have Lumia 640. Great phone with no so much apps
  • Loved my 920 and 640, but I'm pretty happy with my G5 Plus too. #RIPLumia
  • 925 was an amazing phone. 640xl started having problems. I have an I phone 6s but my secondary phone is a really nice Elephone that was cheap and is lovely to use. For £180 I even got a 2 year warranty on it!
  • Not at all ashamed to say that i am still using my Galaxy note 3 (Although as a second phone) from 2013 with its original battery. All thanks to XDA !
  • How's the battery life? Can't be good.
  • Still rocking the note 4 as my main phone, and a Nexus 4 from 2012 with a custom nugat ROM as a secondary device.
  • I'm guessing for most average consumers the battery life failing after two years is what drives the gotta get a new phone after two years.
  • Which is why the whole non removable battery works in favor of manufacturers. They'd rather you buy a new device. 2 years to them is the longest one should have a device. 2 years of guaranteed updates. After that the battery degredation is noticeable and the performance begins to fall off.
  • It's actually one of the reasons I got the Oneplus 3... Not a removable battery (which I don't really care about), but it is user serviceable at my skill level.
  • I agree, and think this is more important than the software for most people. My friends don't like change - they hate it when their phone gets updated and apps move things around. If their phones stayed the same and battery stayed as strong they'd just continue to use them.
    I replaced my nexus 5 battery once before the phone got damaged dropping from 4 inches. I replaced my Samsung galaxy tab s 8.4 battery once, but there are no NEW batteries available for it. I just bought a second replacement because battery 2 only lasted 8 months compared to 18 for battery 1 (original). All are dated 2014, suggesting that Samsung successfully destroyed the compatible market. If replaceability isn't standard, no battery manufacture will make replacements.
  • In the UK I think most people buy phones on contract so at 2 years they just get a new phone and perhaps change their monthly payments by a few pounds. Far too many pay £50 a month but could never save up to actually buy a phone.
    Therefore the customers of the manufacturers are the mobile phone companies, who WANT consumers to get a new phone every 2 years and keep paying over the odds.
  • Bingo! ^^This^^, excellent.
  • I'm still using a Note 4. I've bought several batteries, but never rooted or changed it in any way. It's showing its age though.
  • Also still have a Note 4. Have two spare batteries and opted to buy it out when my lease term was up. Now had the Note 7 release not imploded, I would have upgraded. But will absolutely keep this as my backup phone.
  • I don't ever keep backup phones, which is probably going to come back to bite me one of these days. I'll probably grab the Note 8, unless something else catches my eye.
  • Stick rocking the Note 4 too. Not getting major OS updates, but at least get the security updates. No longer replacing after 2 years. When it hits 3 years, I'll see if anything interests me.
  • I'm looking forward to the Note 8 and save my 28 month old note 4 as a back up. I have an extra battery, but not worried about the software. I don't need the latest software, just as long as I can get work done. However I'm sure that I'll be pleasantly surprised by the 8. I'm sure that I'll replace the battery after 16 or so months to extend the life of the phone.
  • Are you referring to replacing the battery in the Note 8? It's unlikely you'll be able to. Most manufacturers are moving away from replaceable batteries, unfortunately.
  • Yeah, just IF we're able to get it factory-installed.
  • Still with my Note 3. The only reason I would get a new phone is for a new chassis, more PPI, better S pen, and reliable/non crashy internet browsing that can play gifs. The last of these is the main thing bothering me. The modern 'purple icon' version of Samsung's glorious internet browser is available for Note 3, but I'd have to accept lowering myself to Lollipop to get it, and I won't do that because Marshmallow's app permission control is too important (using custom rom).
  • If you don't wanna spend 849+ on a 2017 smartphone I'd recommend even a refurbished Note 5 or the Note 7 when they re release it, only thing you'd be giving up is a replaceable battery and in the Note 5 case you're losing micro SD card support. But you'd get those newer generation AMOLED 1440p panels and even the Note 5 camera holds up extremely well.
  • Great article, Jerry. I Agree, through and through.
  • Still lovin the BlackBerry PRIV still getting monthly security updates and love the slider keyboard factor. I see no reason why this phone won't last two years. It just keeps on truckin!
  • I, too, had the BlackBerry PRIV and only upgraded to the KEYone because of my support for BlackBerry and my curiosity about the KEYone. I'm not regretting my upgrade, but could easily have used the PRIV for a few more years.
  • Isn't yours slow as hell?. I know mine was intolerable. Just moved to the lg g6 and not looking back.
  • Only slow if I open an app named snapchat I blame snapchat for that.. everything else is smooth as butter on mashed potatoes. KEYone may be in my future but it depends on how long this one lasts plus I could just buy another PRIV right now for 280? That's a great deal I would have no regrets buying this phone a second time. I guess it's just trend with me I've had the same boat for 10 years same truck for 8 years same motorcycle for 12 years I get my money's worth out of things I buy.
  • Imagine you bought a laptop and Microsoft stopped supporting the software after two years. No one would stand for such a scenario and we should not either.
  • You can't really compare a smartphone and a PC. They're two very different computing environments. First people don't normally replace a computer every two years or less like they do with a smartphone. Second Microsoft doesn't release a new OS every year like Google does nor do they have to deal with others creating tweaked/customized versions of their OS causing fragmentation and patching issues.
  • Windows has two major updates per year. People replace thier phone every two years because that is what they were trained to do by US carriers.
  • It is a double standard for sure. Although Apple has started to see the same problem with the iPad.
  • Still happily rocking a rooted Note 4 on Lollipop 5.1.1. If Verizon hadn't incremented the boot loader in such a way as to prevent reverting to KitKat I'd be running it instead (dislike various UI elements of Lollipop and newer). As to security I'm not concerned as I don't use the phone for anything of sensitive nature (to date never had any kind of security issue with the phone anyway), I reserve that to my locked down PC and home network. As to longevity, I have a few spare batteries so I plan to continue to keep/use the Note 4 for the foreseeable future. :)
  • I just got a v20 1 week ago and I am pretty sure that this is the last smartphone that I will buy. I'm just sick and tired of having to change phones to get the features I want from it. In the last 2 years I have been through a g4, a v10, a note 5, a 6p, and now the v20. I'm just really tired of the bull crapola every year. This phone should be able to last 2 years, especially since I can change the batteries in it. I got extra speakers for it and might even pick up a spare digitizer for it. This planned obsolescence that all of the oems do doesn't cut it anymore with me. Nor does all the swooning by all the tech writers about curved screens and glass backs and tiny side bezels... Security updates are nice and getting better without breaking the phone, but new operating systems sometimes play havoc so I am very careful about updating that before checking the forums for issues. Besides, unless it is something momentous and ground breaking, I don't have to worry about it anyway. Yup... As well as I can see, many people are hanging on longer to their phones I know that I plan on it this time around... and I still have my 6p to play around with.. Mac
  • Admittedly the lack of software updates would be troubling. However I use mid-range devices and so I don't get updates much anyway. I think I've gotten one from Motorola, I'm a Moto guy, but I haven't ever gotten one from Google much less an update to a new operating system. But I'm using the Moto G5 Plus now and will probably use it until I either accidently irreparably damage/destroy it or it's just woefully out of date. But you don't have to have the most expensive and most capable phone, you should however think about the things that'll make your phone last - such as build quality, the internals and the externals. Build quality, you want a phone that doesn't look or feel like a toy, I like a phone with a bit of heft to it. I know the G5 is in my pocket and it's a solid machine. The internals, I try to think about what I might need to future proof my phone while balancing it with what I do with a phone now. Give me a good processor, a good screen, plenty of memory (I've got 32gigs internal and a 32gig SD card) and some bells and whistles without going so far as to have them called bloatware... The externals, simply take care with your phone. Get a nice case if the thing is slippery (which the G5 Plus is) or if you're accident prone. A new case or a new skin can give your device a total makeover if it needs one. A device is like a car, buy one that looks as if it'll age well. I had a ZTE Score M once in my early Android days, it looked like something from the Mattel Toy Catalog, not serious looking at all... Phones are just too expensive other than the entry-level and mid-tier (which I usually buy from) considering what most folks do with their devices. The vast majority of folks just don't need the latest, the greatest, the end all and be all of devices. And no phone, even in the high end or elite tier should cost as much as the monthly mortgage on a reasonable house. The latest from Apple, LG, Samsung and yes even Moto are more than my monthly mortgage!
  • Welp !!! I can't seem to keep a phone more than a month or two unless it's an iPhone or Pixel which I change every year. Other phones get bored in a month or two because of lag/stutters.
  • I'll be keeping my Pixel XL past two years and maybe it will last as long as my (still usable) Nexus 6.
  • My Nexus 6 is still my daily driver, but I'll be getting the Pixel 2 because my 6 won't be supported once the Pixel 2 is released.
  • I threw Pure Nexus onto my N6 and didn't look back. Updating is basically a "dirty flash" but I am cool with that. the N6, other than the camera, is the perfect phone for me. Right size, battery life, speed etc.
    Throw Magisk on it and it works great if you want the root option. However, AP does not work, I have a feeling it is the unlocked bootloader, but since i do not use AP, I am not really concerned with finding a fix.
  • I think I may keep my S8+ for 1-2 years if the Note8 doesn't impress me. Honestly I would still have my Note7 if it didn't get recalled twice.
  • Oh yeah, great article Jerry.
  • Unless it's user-replaceable, it will be the battery that forces you to get a new phone.
  • And I truly believe that's why the manufacturers decided to do a non-replaceable by the consumer battery! Because batteries don't last forever and if you can't replace it yourself, you're more likely to buy a new phone than pay what they want to replace it for you.
  • Yup, planned obsolescence! :(
  • I am at the point with the S8 plus I can really see myself with this device for at least two years. Its the best device I have owned to date !
  • Great write up. I was just sitting here saying to myself. I spent 1k on this pixel so I wasn't too upgrade to the next pixel? We will have to see
  • Husband absolutely refuses to give up his Galaxy S4. "It's fine, it works fine most of the time, it's small enough to fit in my pocket, I don't need another phone!" I would have kept my Note 4 forever, but the charge port died and I needed a phone immediately. I ended up with a NIB Note 5 which I don't like nearly as much, more because I can't pull the battery and I don't want to have to store everything in the cloud. I'm seriously considering going back to a Note 4 and watch Swappa all the time in case the right one comes up for sale. Yes, both phones are considered 'ancient' by the manufacturer's standards, but they work, one perfectly and one almost so, I shouldn't have to give up a $500 or $600 phone just because I should 'move up to a $900 phone!'
  • You should check out the Lg V20, if you can live without the pen. B&H photo is a darn good place to look 👀. No taxes in 48 states and good sales. I know that a lot of my business has shifted from Best Buy to B&H, and they've got excellent customer service, if you ever have a problem, and no, I don't work for them. I live in the Southeast.
  • It's true they do have good customer service rma my faulty devices no hassle.
  • Thank you for reminding me why I'll only stick with phones that have wireless charging here on out. :)
  • "you can't count on long-term support from any company in the Android space, even Google. There are plenty of reasons why, and most of them make sense. But that doesn't matter because Apple and Microsoft can do it. We should expect the same service from a company as big as Google" It's due to the open source nature of Android compared to closed source of Apple and Microsoft. The only real solution would involve Google going to closed source and cutting off the forking of Android (ex. by Samsung, LG, HTC, etc.). Otherwise they have little control and can't force any of them to update their customized version of the OS. But they won't do it because it would mean less hardware choices and less Android devices meaning they'd have less people using their services which is where they make all their money.
  • Google can still continue to support their own phones, and with Pixel2 they just might. They seem to be heading to a model similar to Apple's.
  • That is why my next preferred phone will be the Pixel 2 - ditching the 7 Edge - just so I can stay current - confidently. Also I like the new direction the chip makers are going in and what Google is doing for updates - partitioning.
  • I don't think they'll be making their own processors this year, Qualcomm will be the SOC again and most likely the 835.
  • 2 year life for major updates. "cough", QUALCOMM, "cough"
  • This why I love my V20 and unless something ground breaking shows up in the V30 or other phone I see no reason to replace it. This phone is a beast in more ways than one.
  • You make good points in this article. I for one still have most of the phones that I've owned. Only this week I finally gave up my Thunderbolt because it just couldn't be used anymore. My toddler is using my old myTouch 4G which has Jelly Bean on it. I just resurrected my Galaxy Nexus with the SlimROM @ version 6.0.1, which is more up-to-date than my current Moto X Prime (not happy with Lenovo right now) . I find it's very responsive, and sips battery power. That will be his next phone. I expect to soon update my original Moto X to version 7. That will probably be the phone I use when I travel overseas, stripped down to nothing on it except the bare necessities, and Encrypted. I've always kept all of my phones for two years unless I changed carriers. I may be able to keep them longer now. I'm interested to see if the new Google phone intrigues me enough to make me buy it.
  • I'm actually thinking about just doing upgrades to the flagship from the previous year from now on. I only get a year of updates but I save several hundred dollars a year and I still get to upgrade annually. I have had no issues with the LG G5 I just got. I was considering a Moto G5 plus. A guy at work got one last week and it's a nice device for the money but it's on 7.0 with January's security patch?!?!?! Not sure I'm comfortable with that.
  • So what's the G5 on?
  • April
  • Ok, thanks
  • Its a shame when companies don't support their products at least for 3-4 years
    First is cuz some product has a huge potential to be "up to date" for a long time, come on, phones with 3 or 4Gb of ram (even 2) and with six or octacores can handle everything
    Second, their should pay attention to other places outside of first world, I CAN'T change my phone every year, is absurd, I keep my phones for at least 3 years, and in my country a high end device costs almost twice the price they really costs, for example, an S8 64gb cost about 1300 dollars... insane expensive. I had a N5 and I changed it just cuz my mom needed a new phone, so I gave her my N5 and I got a 5X...the N5 with Android 6 is FASTER than a looooooot of phones from 2017, and faster than some high end devices with Android 7, yeah!, I tested it and I cant believe how good and fast is the N5, that phone could deal with Android 8 perfectly.
    There are a lot of devices that are abandoned (I'm talking about updates of course) that don't justifice a change.
    Some people compare Android with iOS in the update area, and say all time that Apple is better with the updates..well, thats relative, for example, I prefer a blazing fast Nexus 5 with Android 6 to a iPhone 6 with Lag experience with a iPad 2 and a iPhone 5 wasn't good at all, the only device that works fine (I hope it keeps working fine) its a iPad Air 2 with iOS10.
  • Still got my Note 4 lol. Awesome phone! It is starting to get quirky on me now but it is very usable.
  • I'm rocking a rooted LG G2 with Resurrection Remix. I bought it new a few months ago for $180 because I didn't want to shell out big bucks for a flagship. I wanted a phone I didn't feel like I needed to be OCD about keeping in good condition. Man, this device is awesome. Small enough to fit in my pocket, but with a big 5.2" screen and awesome battery life.
  • It's a real shame that Android manufacturers don't support their products for very long. It's probably a reason why Apple's resale value is a lot better than pretty much every Android phone. It's really not environmentally sustainable to make a phone obsolete, at least in terms of software, in 2 years. All those precious resources and pollution (ahem, Samsung CO2 leak, chemical leak, Note 7 battery, etc) it takes to build the phone is wasted only two years later. I love Android but I do have high expectations about the environment, longevity and only Apple delivers that for now. In the meantime, I'm running a Galaxy S3 on a Nougat Custom Rom.
  • Apple does support iPhones up to the hardware limit, and that's probably a good thing. You don't want to push updates to hardware that is outdated. My iPhone 5C stopped getting updates before my HTC M8 did, even though they were released within a few months of each other. The problem there was the 5C ran like a t u r d after the last major update, while the HTC got faster than it was before. My 6 Plus and my son's 7 Plus are all current though. MacOS is another issue, and we have three Macbooks and an iPad that they will not update or support.
  • The problem is due to fragmentation. Think of PCs. Most can run the exact.same version of Windows. (Almost) all iPhones get the same version of iOS at a given time. No so with Android. This means that the purchase of the device and it's initial version of Android are intertwined. I think this is due to change in Android O, where security updates can be standardized across vendors because of the modularity of the new Android. This will go a long way toward changing the Android hardware landscape to being much more consumer driven.
  • If you have a phone you personally like, and it still runs well and is secure, why not? I'm still rocking my M8 and the battery still gets me through a day and a half, although it does not hang onto that last 15% with claws like it used to, lol. It's been a good run and it is STILL smooth and buttery, but soon to be replaced by the U11.
  • I finally retired my M8 a couple weeks ago for a Pixel XL. Battery was totally gone on it. But I'm hard on them so I can't complain.
  • The quicker it's obsolete, the quicker you buy a new phone.
  • I have upgraded my Samsung Galaxy phone every year since the S4 (mainly for the camera improvements), but I'm now getting off of that bandwagon. I love my S7 and see no compelling reason to upgrade.
  • I loved my Note 4, but it started showing its age. I bought the LG V20 back in December on Swappa. I miss the amoled screen and S-pen, but I love the 64gbs of storage on the V20. Looking forward to see what the V30 will bring. Also will be looking at the Note 8. But I really need a removable battery in my phone. I go through batteries fast. I use my phone a lot. I'm not trying to buy a new phone every year.
  • $900 for a phone? Those days are long gone for me. I now only buy cheap disposable phones​ annually like the ZTE Zmax pro.
    My phone has lastest Android and security update and that $900 phone only has 7.0.
  • I'm not utterly sure what your point is, nor why you're focusing on premium phones. I think there are 4 issues:
    1- in terms of functionality, a 2yo phone with a 2yo version of Android is still totally fine.
    2- the main issue is security, and I know I should care, but since I stay in Android's fenced garden (PlayStore-only, no rooting) and have never had any issue, the security patch problem doesn't quite register with me.
    3- Community ROMs utterly change the situation for select phones. My 2011 Galaxy Note (v1) is on 7.0 (or was on 7.0, the Flash RAM finally died I think)
    4- a 3 or 4 yo phone will show its age regardless of OS version. My Huawei Ascend Mate was a great phone in its time (except the camera and the GPU ^^), it's painful to use today. Plus battery decay. I've switched to buying low-midrange phones ($200-$300). I lose some picture quality but I don't care; and I'm hard-pressed to find any other pain point: great screen, performance, battery even looks. And I get to not fret about accidents and theft, which have accounted for half my past phones; I get to not feel like I have to pay for AppleCare either, which over 3 years costs more than my phone (and still has high deductibles). And if I stick with high-volume phones there's Lineage for them, mostly: there isn't for my very niche Huawei Mediapad X1 (it drowned anyway, boats are slippery ^^), but there is for my less niche Xiaomi Mi Max. Maybe slowing hardware progress will makes OS updates more valuable. Maybe apps will start blocking custom ROMs. I don't think even flagships will ever get more than 2 major OS versions though, which means they beat the midrange only at 3 or 4 years, when the stale OS starts to be an issue on the mid-ranger. But the stale hardware is probably more of an issue anyway, and at 1/3rd of the price, I get to upgrade my mid-ranger, or if I really still love it, Lineage it.
  • The PlayStore is full is full of malware The idea that just downloading apps from the google play store is going to keep you safe is false
  • 1- The idea that it is going to keep me much safer than going outside the PlayStore is true;
    2- and the idea that up to now it has kept me and the overwhelming majority of users safe is true also. It's not 100% safe, but by Google's figures it has been 99.95% safe historically. That's good enough for me, I got backups and 2FA.
  • I'm using my Note 3 as a spare on a second phone line, still does everything just fine except call quality isn't as good and the camera is horrible compared to my S7. Phones last a few years now, if they had better software support I feel people would hang on to them longer.
  • I have indeed been very happy with my Note 4. The only reason for switching to a Note 8 is screen size and updates. In lack of those I'd keep the the note 4.
  • Great article. Still using my Note 4 and no plans to change any time soon because it does everything I need. I think the non removable battery in the handset, plus the 2 Year support limit for software, plus outrageous prices of flagship phones will increasingly limit people's willingness to keep buying them. Cutting edge tech of any type inevitably becomes a niche market. Especially with the improving quality of affordable mid and low range phones. Most of the android phones I see people using in the UK are mid/low range and some 3 years old or older. Ditto with iPhone. They just want a phone that works for them and don't know/don't care about security. Google/Samsung/Apple etc doesn't care enough about the end user. They never have and never will.
  • Still using the Moto X 2013, so about 3.5 years. My next phone will be based on the quality of community support since manufacturers are unwilling. The argument that the cost of long term support is too high is belied by the ability of 1-2 person community groups that are able to maintain currency on the product.
  • I'm actually seriously considering the iPhone as my new daily driver if and when the Moto Z gives up the ghost. Reason is that I don't really feel like spending lots of cash every 2 years to get an upgrade and having long term support and walk-in customer support is very welcome. Furthermore, I haven't used an iOS device as a daily in years and iOS 11 and beyond is probably a good time for me to give it a go. I will always have an Android phone beside me because there's still stuff that I need Android for, but after seeing iOS 11, I think it's probably time that I take a fresh look at iOS again. I know many will hate me for this comment, but I am not totally leaving Android. I just want to experience iOS as a daily driver.
  • You know, there was a time I felt that exact same way, then I actually used a iPhone for a month. Things haven't changed much since then, and no os update is ever really going to help. I've been to a few Apple stores, and besides the extremely long wait times if you don't have a appointment, you still have to contend with them to get anything done, and in most cases you are going to have to spend a lot cash. Feel free to give it a shot, but if you have enjoyed Android for it's ability to be used as you prefer, you will be back sooner than you expect. Mac
  • Thanks for the input. I actually have an iPad Pro for the iOS side, so I'm quite familiar with its quirks. I am not actually leaving Android as I mentioned that it will be alongside an Android-powered device because I need it for some stuff. But I'm honestly quite tempted to use an iOS device as my daily driver.
  • I'm thinking the same thing. As a lifelong Android user, not getting more than two years of updates is a slap in the face. Does Google honestly think people will pay the same price as an iPhone without the same support? No thanks.
  • I can echo this. My wife recently got an iPhone 6s for work. I haven't owned an iPhone since the 4. I was surprised how much hasn't changed. I wanna jailbreak it but she won't let me.
  • i just bought samsung s6 and i will rock it till 2018
  • This article and comments really have me seriously reevaluating my very bad habit of switching phones every few months (7 different devices in the past 3 years). On the s8 now and honestly trying really hard to keep it past 1 year... Although the Nokia flagship really has my attention. I need a life.
  • If you enjoy it , so why care what others will think.
  • Dude, you got some major do this with women too? Why so afraid of commitment?
  • I would have kept my LG G4 until it died but it, um died after six months (twice). I would have kept my Note 7 until it died but... So now I have a Galaxy S7 Edge. It was never really the phone I wanted. I wanted the Note 7. So when the Not 8 comes out, I will likely get one and try again to keep a phone for more than two years. I still have and use (daily) my 3 yr old LG G3. But it has not seen a security update in months and is never likely to again. Mores the pity as, for what it is, it still works just fine.
  • Loved my G4S too. Stupid boot loop.
  • Agreed. You know I still have the damn thing. It won't power on but I still can't bring myself to toss it. Really wish I could get it to work as a backup device.
  • You guys are late to the party, I've been using my galaxy s4 for more than 4 years now. It still rocks.
    In the future, 5 year cycles should be doable.
  • Doesn't matter to me , I barely stick with the same phone for more than 5 months.
  • Carriers and oems have colluded to force consumers to purchase a $900 appliance every couple of years by either not providing software updates or by releasing borked updates that make your smartphone unusable.
  • Can we talk about slow or no monthly security updates? Is that a real deal breaker for you guys in the forums/comments?
  • Except for the Pixel XL I'm using right now I've never used a phone for more than five or six months. I've also never purchased a phone with the expectation that it would be updated.
  • Great article. It's something Android users ask for but never receive from the companies. I change phones every year and half, but at some point that will end. I'd want to keep a phone for 3 years at least and except for Pixel and Nexus, no Androids gets update. My wife's iphone 6 gets the latest as soon as it's released and works well, albeit a bit slower over time. Android companies need to learn from Apple.
  • I think once a phone hits a certain age, I like to search on xda and ac forums to figure out how to root and rom it to keep it going longer. A lot of times, you can get security and software updates for several years after the manufacturer stops supporting it.
  • Typing this on my Nexus 4, running Lineage OS 14.1 (Android 7.1.2), with June 5, 2017 security patch. Very stable software. This isn't my daily phone anymore (it hasn't been for 2+ years), but it could if my 2014 Moto X (also on Lineage) went down. The custom ROM people are doing great things these days. I bet Android OEM's hate them, though.
  • I'm guessing that old software is even more of an issue on tablets. The one I'm using is from 2013 running 5.1 last patched in 2016. Knocking on wood that the internal battery has lasted this long!
  • I figure, if the hardware can support the os upgrade, why not? Ending support for a phone that can handle it, is not in the best interest of the customer. I know it's a thing, in the industry, that they have to keep the $ coming in, and they want you to buy a new phone. I do like that Google is trying to keep new versions light, but the industry is greedy, and will make $ just for people to have the latest, by not upgrading their older models that can run just fine on the latest os.
  • I've had my Note 5 for a little more than a year and a half and barring any mishap where it breaks into pieces, I'll have it for at least a couple more years. Rock solid stable and faster than when I bought it plus, averages from GSam Pro of 1 day 4.2 hours of battery life and 4 hours 57 minutes SOT work for me. Gone are the days that I'll be buying a new phone yearly.
  • If you bought a Google phone (Nexus or Pixel) at the start of the product cycle, you got three full years of security updates, and as Jerry said, the phone is going to be doing the things it was doing on day one just as well three years down the road. Plus, you got two more major OS updates during the first two years of product life. That isn't a bad deal at all. I won't, and can't, speak to what the other manufacturers do, but I think Google provides a pretty good service baseline that they should measure up to. I think Google policy is affecting the other manufacturers because I recently got an unannounced Nougat upgrade for my circa 2015 Galaxy Tab S2 and have previously been getting periodic (although not monthly) security updates. If you always want the latest OS, you're probably not Jerry's target audience, and you should look at one of the frequent upgrade plans like T-Mobiles JUMP options.
  • My 3 year old OnePlus one has Android 7.1.2, and the June 5th security patch, if updates are important to you as they are to me, buy OnePlus. They are easy to ROM and have great Community Support and can be up to date for years to come with a little work on your end.
    Also, my OnePlus 3T is still running oxygen OS and it's up to date, OnePlus takes care of their phones now and when it does stop getting updates from OnePlus, I'll put a ROM on it and be good to go. Oh and one more thing, OnePlus puts the specs in their phones to keep them going for years, 6 gigs of RAM will be good for years to come.
  • I rarely buys the latest and greatest phones... I just wait for the greatest to not to be latest and much cheaper before buying it :p
  • I had a Note4 that stopped working due to moisture damage. Tied two other phones and came back to the Note4. It may be a little slower but I can't find the same specifications on a newer phone. Why not allow me to update my software without a warranty? My phone, my money, my satisfaction.
  • Article misses the point of phone post contact and across $900 every two years. I am still using my Galaxy Note 3 (2013) with a 7,500 mAh battery, Lineage OS with Android 7.1.2, a 64 Gb SD card, and 127 apps installed. Hoping to get at least 10 years of this phone.
  • Someone elses problem in my case. I keep my phones for a year max so if it doesn't get updated to the next OS it doesn't bother me at all. Not hurting my resale rates enough to care.
  • No - come on!
    The problem is clear as day.
    Hipster tech websites promoting the "jewelry phone" phenomena. It's such a radical, sick departure from the old days when smartphones were lauded for having real technical features. Go on - find a singal tech today that tells you how stupid metal is for a phone chassis...
    Not only is it directly expensive, but that's just the start.
    It blocks wireless signals, which costs needlessly for Rube Goldberg engineering workarounds.
    It also doesn't dampen shock impacts, making drop shock forces transfer to all attached components, like your screen.
    It also weighs more, making companies either skimp on battery or spend more trying to make thinner, lighter ones.
    And adding glass as a decorative touch? Ugh how pointless.
    If high end phones were plastic, they'd be cheaper, more rugged, AND have more features.
    Damn jewelry phones and the soccer moms, tween kids, and hipster journalists who encourage them.
  • Jerry, I don't even want a $800+ phone any more. I want a US Android One. I want a phone that's "good enough," and I want it in vanilla Android with security updates of 3+ years. I'm still using my Moto Nexus 6. It works great. And with my 57 year old eyes, the 6" screen is nice. I'm curious to see what "Taimen" will actually be. IF it is indeed a large screen, I just hope it is not a small fortune. And I hope T-Mobile's DIGITS (one number, multiple devices) becomes the norm with ALL carriers.
  • I used to get a new phone every six months or so, but I'm starting to change on that. I bought a Moto G5 Plus to replace my G4, and I'm hanging onto it until it dies. Same with my spare HTC One M9. If I get another phone, it'll be to use as a spare, but I'm not in any particular hurry to do so.
  • LG G3 and lumia 735 still going strong. Lumia just got another update today not on insider. Used in industrial environments kicked, dropped bounced. Leather back covers and zagg type tpu screen protectors. G3 the wife's daily and the lumia my backup to my Lenovo p2. P2 no replaceable battery but the 5100 should hold up for at least 2 years.
  • Using OP3 at the moment. Planning to dump it & buy iPhone 7. Apple supports their devices better
  • I'm going to keep my Note 4 until something other than the battery dies.
  • The battery isn't built-in anyway so that shouldn't be a factor. You can replace it as easily as a AA battery.
  • That's the point dunni88 is making, to keep the phone until it's no longer an option to replace the battery (because a replacement is no longer available). :)
  • Mr. Jerry is there away can I download a Speedtest result into the comment, as an attachment.
    Thank you.
  • I usually keep my phones for about two years. Then, I get eager for improved features, battery, and software updates. I'll likely hold on to my HTC 10 for a while, and upgrade my iPhone in the fall.
  • After 2 years it's outdated anyways
  • For a company as big as Google to not support its own phones longer than two years is downright discraceful. This is the company that wants to battle Apple and take their iPhone users away, and yet they won't support their own phones and tablets as long as Apple. Shame on Google!
  • Rocking my 6P until Pixel 2. Had Nexus 5 from launch until 6P (still have it and it actually still functions alright)
  • Snap! Nexus 5 kept by bed for sleep app and as emergency backup should anything happen to my Nexus 6P. It's likely I will go the 2nd generation Pixel route but that depends on its specifications and reviews. As to when that depends on how well the 6P runs under Android O.
  • I'd appreciate a market where the carrier was simply the carrier - providing nothing but the service. The manufacture provides the hardware The software is maintained by the software maker. Too many blurred lines. But it's all about that mighty dollar. Tech doesn't evolve as fast no need for yearly hardware releases. Slow down! In and out in and out like jeez! Hmm hmmm hmm this is horrible KEYᵒⁿᵉ
  • Regulators should force manufacturers to update EVERY smartphone for at least 4 years. That would solve this issue.
  • I still have my Note 4 on AT&T which still is getting security patch updates, last one in May. I am looking to upgrade to the next Note or Pixel. Most flagships can last a good 3 years now.
  • I could use my V20 for many years thanks to removeable battery. Non removeable battery phones are
  • Back in the contract days, I'd look everywhere for free or $50 -200 for upgrade phone. Always got the removable battery until now. Thought about S8 for 30 secs and thought, $850 is crazy and have decided no more than $400 for any phone ever and even that is a lot. I've been all over the Android spectrum; Nexus, LG, Samsung Motorola. It's just not worth it to throw $ away when I know prolly won't be using >2 years.
  • I've never been on the path to replace just to be newer. Cell Phones are the worst form of "Keeping up with the Joneses". I wouldn't say I'm old school, but I just can't get my head around it. And most of my friends are in the same boat, we only replace when we need to. We just have so many other things we'd rather spend money on. Sure we can sell it used, but why? Run it till it breaks and then find what solves the need. Egads, I feel old...
  • Trying to upgrade from the Moto X 2015. I usually try to get a phone that battery can last a long time despite degradation . If battery technology was as progressive as hardware and software features..... The Huawei Mate 9 pro looks good. Idk how good huawei is at updating their os though
  • I totally baby my phones and I've never had one even last for two years.
  • Jerry, what is the oldest snapdragon chip that could in theory run the latest version of android without significant hiccup based on its processing power alone?
  • I am appalled by the assumption of this article: that software determines the life of hardware. It is not true. Who buys a $1,000 computer and accepts it won't last 2 years before it has to be replaced: this is marketing training the consumer. I have a Galaxy Note 3, going on 4 years now: has a 7,500 mAh battery and a 64 Gb SD card. It is running Android 7.1.2 (Lineage OS, with the synergy kernel), last security patch June 5, 2017). I hope to get at least 6 more years out of this phone. If I abandon this phone sooner, it won't be from necessity, but because I just want a new toy to play with. You have to seriously learn about the technology to be used by it. Enjoy!
  • I am appalled by the assumption of this article: that software determines the life of hardware. It is not true. Who buys a $1,000 computer and accepts it won't last 2 years before it has to be replaced: this is marketing training the consumer.
    I have a Galaxy Note 3, going on 4 years now: has a 7,500 mAh battery and a 64 Gb SD card. It is running Android 7.1.2 (Lineage OS, with the synergy kernel), last security patch June 5, 2017). I hope to get at least 6 more years out of this phone.
    If I abandon this phone sooner, it won't be from necessity, but because I just want a new toy to play with.
    You have to seriously learn about the technology to Not be used by it. Enjoy!
  • Or do like me and shop last year's models! I swapped from a 64 gig iPhone 6 I spent 2 years paying for for an LG G5 that cost $270 on ebay new. Not only did I get a phone that will hang with the latest flagships, at that price, if I decide I want a new phone next year, it's no big deal! Only way I'll buy phones from now on. Oh, and 64 gigs I paid extra for? Forget that! With nougat and a micro SD card, I've got over 200 gigs on tap!