back to article 2019 set to be the worst year yet for smartphone market as lack of worthy upgrades dents demand

2019 could mark the steepest decline in the history of smartphone shipments as customers cling to their handsets for longer. This is one of the gloomier forecasts from Gartner today as it outlined estimates for devices sales, predicting that PCs and phones will fall by 3.3 per cent year-on-year to 2.2 billion units globally. …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    I've bought my last one

    I bought my current smartphone about five years ago, and it is extremely likely to be the last commercial smartphone I will buy.

    The reason is simple -- security. It's become enough work to keep secure from both Android itself and applications running on it that it is no longer worth the effort (and iPhones simply don't meet my needs from the outset).

    I am still working on my own homebrew smartphone to replace my current one. If my current phone dies before that's ready for daily use, then I'll just use a feature phone and carry a pocket computer until it is.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: I've bought my last one

      When my LG smartphone died I went back to using a feature phone. A Dorro clamshell. I haven't missed the smart phone at all. I don't miss the short battery life or pre-loaded crapware. I never trusted it enough to use for online banking etc anyway; there are endless discoveries of popular apps, downloaded by millions of people, contain malware, adware, spyware etc, sometimes unknown to the app developer as the dodgy code is embedded in third party components. As for the internet, I never need it when I'm out and about; my Linux desktop computer provides all the online access I need when I'm home.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I've bought my last one

        I do like having a real computer on me when I'm out and about, though. That's the main thing I liked about smartphones when they came around -- they let me carry one device instead of two. I don't really want to go back to carrying two, but if I'm limited to what's available on the open market, then that's my only real choice.

    2. rnturn

      Re: I've bought my last one

      > The reason is simple -- security.

      Maybe that's what the smartphone vendors are counting on: Security-conscious people buying new phones in order to get the latest security patches. I've been wondering if that's the reason my T-Mobile phone hasn't has gotten an Android update since 2018-08-01.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: I've bought my last one

        "Security-conscious people buying new phones in order to get the latest security patches."

        For me, the security problem isn't a fault that can be patched. The security problem is Android itself and the apps that run on it. Buying a new phone doesn't address my concerns (in fact, older phones are easier to secure. That's why my current phone is so old.)

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: I've bought my last one

        That’s where Apple makes sense. The up-front cost may be higher, but they last longer, so if you look at the cost per year, they actually end up being cheaper.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: I've bought my last one

          Note 3 here. Runs lineage, 128gb card, new battery purchased and swapped. Screen has protector.

          It is quite fast enough for everything i need and has a nice sized screen. Must be close to 5 years old now.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: I've bought my last one

            That probably cost about the same as the equivalent iPhone + released at the same time.

    3. Kiwidude

      Re: I've bought my last one

      Hi. The other option if you are worried about security updates and other OS updates is to get yourself an Android phone that you can root. There are some great older but still newish phones that you get pre-loved at a low price. examples include the HTC 10, Nexus 5X, Xioami MI5 all for less then $150 USD.

      These are easy to root and you can load the latest Android version 9 PIE and get monthly over the air updates from free ROMS such as Lineage OS ROM, AICP ROM and many others. just google a few and it's not as difficult as it seems to root and load your own ROM.

      The benefits are you are not tied into a manufacturer and you get all the latest features and security updates without the "bloatware" (apps you don't need that take up memory, slow your phone down and consume battery).

      Don't be afraid and have fun. if in doubt get a real cheap second hand phone and have a go.

      Cheers

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour me surprised ...

    ...not

    I have Strategy briefings I wrote in 2015 pretty much stating this is where we'd be.

    Exhibit A being my 2015-model WileyFox swift that is still totally rocking it for me. NFC is pretty much all I'm missing - and that's just for the crappy bus ticketing app our buses use.

    I really hope no one has been paid a lot of money for this "insight".

  3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Mature Markets

    The prediction is not surprising if one pays attention to how markets mature. After a certain point, most of your sales are to current users. Sales increases here more at the expense of a competitor than a virgin customer being added. For most of the virgin customers they are really replacing a customer who has left the market.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Mature Markets

      Absolutely. The smartphone market is saturated. I'm willing to wager that, even if a new must-have feature turns out in the next few years, only a fraction of users will spring for a new model with that feature when it comes out. After that, every year people will indeed buy a new phone, but it is in replacement of what they have, not in a rush to get the new shiny. 2.9 years ? Try 5, that'll get closer to the mark.

      Besides, the equipment we have is fast enough. We don't need new features, we need batteries that last ten times longer.

      And I'm not holding my breath for that.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Mature Markets

        As far as 'features', phones, software, computers, etc. are basically feature rich. Any new 'feature' will be a niche item that might make it to becoming a mainstream item after several years. Virtual reality is only useful for some people not most and even there it might sicken many.

        Battery life would be improved by lower power consumption and larger batteries. Battery chemistry is the big limiting factor as power density is determined by the chemistry. And there only a few types of batteries suitable for phones and laptops.

  4. Slx

    5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

    I think we're at a juncture where the technology has matured to the point that there's not all that much new to offer. The screens at the high end are all fantastic, the devices more or less the same sensors and the storage capacity is so large you don't really think about it on most phones and the cameras are at the level now that they're so good they're producing results that are up there with some of the best SLRs. I can't even distinguish the improvements with my eyes anymore.

    If you go back a few years ago there were big leaps forward in all of those technologies, particularly displays and cameras and that made a huge difference.

    The only next obvious killer update is going to have to involve massive improvements to batteries as I can't really see anything else that's going to be so useful that it drives people to shell out a large sum of money and/or enter a contract that's longer than many marriages!

    You've also got a lot people holding off until 5G is established before they update. I certainly wouldn't lash out money on a new phone right now as I will probably want a high end 5G device and there's very few of them on the market present.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

      Plaid speed.

      The thing is. Who needs to download a film in 1/2 a second? Thus, if it takes 1 second, they are still happy. Many technologies and products reach a useability limit. Audio, tv etc. Phones and their use have kinda mached desktops for the "does what I need" limitation.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        "Who needs to download a film in 1/2 a second?"

        The likelihood is extremely high that consumer 5G devices won't allow you to do that anyway.

        1. Derezed

          1g, 2g, 3g, 4g, 5g...so what.

          I can't download a 30 kilobyte text file in central London in seconds so whatever.

      2. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        Indeed. When im working in Japan I carry a cheap LTE wifi brick. Ita usually 30mb and that serves 4 of us quite happily. 5G is pointless unless you are looking to replace your main internet. I doubt is coat effective to do that.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

      "The only next obvious killer update is going to have to involve massive improvements to batteries "

      Here's an idea then ... make the battery replaceable so that you don't have to chuck out the phone after a couple of years.

      I can't be the only person who thinks it is suspicious that the willingness to splash out an arm and a leg on a new phone started to peter out when those new phones started having the built-in obsolescence of a non-removable battery. We regularly rail here about the ongoing delivery (or not) of Android updates, but hardly any normal person cares about security. Nearly everyone cares about "having to buy a new phone because the battery won't stay charged for more than a few hours".

      1. eionmac

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        I chose a basic DORO clamshell phone as battery is replaceable. Second hand smartphone from a relative lives on desk as a WiFi wee computer. Only real use is a WeChat Chinese speaker to friend in PR China.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        So you're saying people would buy new phones more often if they had replaceable batteries so they could keep them longer? Logic fail.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

          There’s loads of repair shops around where you can get your battery replaced if you are not technically minded enough to do it yourself. At about £50 or so, it is a lot cheaper than buying a new phe.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

            That may be, but it doesn't matter to me. If I can't replace the battery on a phone without using a soldering iron or paying somebody to do it, I'm not buying that phone.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

              Are there ANY phones that require a "soldering iron" to replace a battery? It is simple to do on an iPhone, I've done it on several for my girlfriend and and nieces. Takes about 10 minutes, and there is no mucking about with glue let alone soldering irons.

              iFixit sells kits for popular phones both iPhone and Android and has instructions including pictures, anyone able to install a CPU in a PC motherboard (which I'm guessing is well over 90% of El Reg's readership, but probably only a few percent of the general population) can replace a phone battery. Heck, installing the CPU takes more time actually, once you faff about with the heat sink compound, the tension clips on the cooler, etc.

              1. VonDutch

                Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

                It's not quite like the old days of nokias where you could pop the battery off in half a second and have the new fully charged spare on in the same amount of time. The longest part of the process was the phone booting back up again.

              2. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

                I was being a bit snarky with the soldering iron line (although it wasn't that long ago that you really did need to do that with several models).

                "iFixit sells kits for popular phones both iPhone and Android and has instructions including pictures"

                But the need to buy a kit and have detailed instructions with pictures underlines the problem. On my phone, I can just pop the back off, lift out the battery, and pop a new one in. It's dead simple to do, impossible to get wrong, you don't need to buy a kit, and no instructions are necessary.

                This is important to me because it's important to me to be able to carry spare batteries that I can quickly swap in.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

                  Yes, because all those phones with the door that wouldn't stay put or batteries that would pop out every time you dropped the phone are what we should go back to!

                  I guess you also want to go back to plastic screens so you don't have to worry about them breaking, and liked the dull surface due to scratches from pocket lint, and the inevitable specks of dust that would make their way underneath the plastic screen?

                  There are still phones out there with removable batteries for the minority of people who want them, so buy one of those and quit complaining about the phones that don't have what you want. The market has spoken, this isn't something very many people care about.

                  1. JohnFen Silver badge

                    Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

                    "Yes, because all those phones with the door that wouldn't stay put or batteries that would pop out every time you dropped the phone are what we should go back to!"

                    It's not hard to design phones so that doesn't happen. It's never happened once in the 5+ years I've been dropping mine.

                    "buy one of those and quit complaining about the phones that don't have what you want."

                    I believe that's essentially what I was saying here -- I won't buy a phone that won't let me easily replace the battery. There's nothing wrong with me expressing my opinion about this, even if you don't like that I do that.

                    "this isn't something very many people care about."

                    It's something a lot of people care about, although it may be a minority. However, that's a completely unimportant point.

      3. Snowy Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        The problem is when they make a better battery they will just use it to make the phone thinner and ligher and not use it to put in a larger capacity battery.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

          If they do, it will be because that's what people want. You can argue that when Apple does things they are going against what consumers want, because if you want an iPhone you have to buy what Apple sells. But when most Android OEMs do the same you have to accept that what YOU want isn't what most people want, otherwise there would be more thick Android phones with gigantic batteries for sale.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

            If they do, it will be because that's what people want.

            No, it's because that's what the brainless fashionistas in the marketing department tell them people want, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      4. tony2heads

        Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

        Most recent phone (Samsung J400F) "must have" points:

        - removable battery which I don't need to charge every day (once every 2-3 days depending on usage)

        - dual SIM (I move around a bit)

        - 4G

        - buy outright ( I don't want to pay for a contract when out of the country)

        - enough memory (32GB version)

        -replaceable micro-SD (I have had those fail in the past) but it is much quicker to backup directly from SD to another device than any other way.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: 5G around the corner and nothing very compelling to upgrade to.

      4G wasn’t that much better than 3G, when it first came out. It is now. Same with 3G.

      I’ll move to 5G when there is a decent roll-out and we’ve had a couple of revisions/ improvements to the standard.

      At home, where I have a perfect 4G signal in a fairly low-density suburb, it is really fast. At work, in the city centre, it is not so good.

  5. Blackjack

    I did bought a Smartphone this year...

    But it was a 2018 model and I did so to replace a 2012 model.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bought a USED one year old smart phone last year...

    I never buy new. I bought a USED Galaxy S8 last year for $300... still cranking along (new, at the time, was $650). I noticed the prime sale yesterday had a galaxy S10, I think, for about $700... more than $300 off the price just 6 months ago. In another year you will be able to buy one for $350. There is no reason at all to buy new.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: bought a USED one year old smart phone last year...

      I agree in general. At least in Europe you do have 2 years guarantee on new devices but that is often not worth the premium over second-hand. But the same is, of course, true for many things, most notably cars.

      The last few years have seen some impressive but incremental improvements in phones, which make "upgrades" nice to rather than must haves.

      I think your example is a bit extreme, I think 4-5 year cycles may well become common. I've just got a new S10e (€ 500, list price €750) to replace my second, second-hand S5 (the first one developed a hairline crack on the screen but is still completely usable, except as for navigation on my bike because I reckon it's no longer waterproof). The new phone packs more into the same size: 3100 instead of 2400 mAh, signficantly better camera, a lot more memory, better dust/grease protection on the screen; basically what you can expect after a couple of years of development. I'm not that worried about the built-in battery, powerbanks are cheap and it will be possible to replace it in a few years, should it become necessary. But it doesn't have an IR blaster, neither does it do MHL so at least one of the S5s will be kept as more than just backup. LineageOS has done a great job of keeping the S5s up to date, but since LOS 15 Bluetooth has been a bit flaky, and for some reason best-known to the developers Snap, the camera app, won't store photos properly on SD cards.

      The phone will get a good workout on the cycling holiday: using the S5 for navigation has been, sorry for the word, transformational, but it does hammer the battery.

    2. BrownishMonstr

      Re: bought a USED one year old smart phone last year...

      On the other hand, by buying old you're restricting yourself to updates, depending on the manuf.

  7. Russell Chapman Esq.
    Linux

    My reason why....

    My LG G3, which I bought in 2014 is giving up. The screen is on the way out, will cost as much to put in a new screen as buy another G3. Solution, just bought an LG G6 for £120, new factory sealed old stock (2017 model), 2 year warranty. To be honest the G3 had all the features I needed, so the G6 for me, will be quite an upgrade. I see no reason to ever buy a new model phone ever again. Linux icon, cuz I'm cheap but I will spend to get things they way I want them, not how others say I should want them.

  8. Nate Amsden

    first upgrade in ~5.5 years

    In the process of "upgrading" from a pair of Galaxy Note 3s (daily driver being Android 4.4, it was my first Android device, prior I was using WebOS) to a pair of Galaxy S8 Actives. Bought the S8 Actives on Ebay "new never been used" (and they certainly seem that way anyway, though I believe they were used for a few minutes to apply updates as they are running patch levels from early 2019) for about $370/ea combined it seems about the cost of a S10e that I was otherwise looking at. Also have a Note 4 which gets some use when traveling(would get more but the wirelss charging thing I have for it is more clunky as it folds over like a book around the device).

    It was a struggle for me to find a newer phone that was the least bad. Seems every year they remove more features and cripple things even more.

    I was on gsmarena last month after getting excited about a new Motorola phone (Z4 I think?) turns out couldn't use that as it doesn't support wireless charging(there is a custom back cover for it but at the time it seemed nobody had it new or used, probably stopped making that cover a year or two ago as it was compatible with older versions of the handset). Anyway I input my parameters into gsmarena and basically out popped the S8 active as the most viable device on the list (may of been the ONLY device on the list I don't recall).

    What sold me on the S8 Active as being the "least bad" phone for me anyway was:

    - Plastic shell w/wireless charging

    - "Normal" bezels (ironically screen/body ratio is only 0.2% different from Note 3 according to gsmarena).

    - Similar size to Note 3 (is a plus anyway)

    - Flat screen (both for less false touches and tempered glass protection)

    - Big battery (still having battery anxiety issues mainly about longevity, I am used to being able to easily replace my battery once a year just to keep it fresh. I do have 5 "genuine" S8 Active batteries now though the replacement procedure is still scary, vast majority of times when I take small devices apart they never operate the same again). Installed Accubattery to track battery life(currently at 96%), and try not to charge it too much. Anxiety would go away if I had confidence future smart phones would not continue the trend of locking things down and removing features more.

    - SD slot

    - Previous positive experience with Samsung Note 3s excellent build quality, hoping similar good build quality from S8 Active over time

    apparently the market doesn't care about most/all of those things anymore so those phones aren't being made.

    What I do/will miss:

    - Replaceable battery (per above I tend to swap once a year, I hope these S8 Actives can last at least 5 years as well)

    - Stylus (got a small stylus that attaches to the headphone slot though not as convenient as internal stylus)

    - IR blaster (mainly for travel, compensated a bit by the fact that I will continue to take my Note 3s and Note 4 on trips which have IR blasters)

    - MHL (I think the USB C devices have something similar have not looked into it but again Note 3s and 4s to the rescue mainly for travel)

    - Android 4.4 UI - really really hate the "flat" UI designs, and I will be spending some time to try to extract icons from Android 4.4/5 packages to use on 8.0, after being unable to find similar icon packs for Nova launcher (the only launcher I have ever used)

    - Android 4.4 samsung keyboard - I installed a "classic keyboard" which at least gave me dark colors(hated the default white) though the key spacing isn't that great(no gaps between the keys) which I think makes for more difficult typing than what I was used to.

    don't care about:

    - Rugged nature of S8 Active (I am very careful with my phones, my Note 3s/4 have never needed a repair)

    - Waterproof/etc

    - Headphone jack - it's nice to have though it's rare that I need it, only real time I do so is on airplanes, and if the S8 active didn't have a headphone jack I would use a Note3/4 to listen to music (and/or watch videos). I do not own any bluetooth headphones the only ones I have are wired. For my workouts I use a Sandisk MP3 player with my wired earphones (https://www.usa.philips.com/c-p/SHS3200_28/earhook-headphones are the only earphones I use - most comfortable and stay in place for me)

    - running latest android (I would be happy to get the latest security updates but maintain the same major version of android(I'd even pay a subscription service to do that) but that doesn't appear to happen)

    - currently running android 8 though there was I thought a 9 upgrade available but maybe I was looking at the wrong page before, currently AT&T's website says 8 is the current version (I don't want 9 and have blocked AT&T's and Samsung's update domains from my network so the phones cannot update, AT&T's site still says Wifi is required to download the updates.)

    - bixby button - so far at least I have only accidentally hit it maybe a half dozen times, and apparently I can't disable the button without signing into Samsung's services which I'm not willing to do just yet.

    would be nice:

    - be able to root/unclock bootloader it (read on XDA developers I think it was that no unlocks exist, and previous Active phones were not rooted either)

    (Never unlocked my Note3s/4 either but would be a nice to have ability)

    Was real close to buying a Note 9 last year, but then I started reading complaints about curved glass(especially for using tempered glass protectors - I have ~20 tempered glass screens for my S8 actives now just in case they stop making them), and the glass backs being slippery (I don't use cases). Then was close to getting a S10e because it at least had a flat screen, but then of course I decided to look harder and hope to find something that wasn't encased in glass all around.

    Been about a month since I got the first S8 Active, I have a new SIM card (old sim card is too big) but have yet to pull the trigger to transfer the service to the S8 active from Note 3 yet.

    At this point I wouldn't have a problem dropping $2k on a phone that was in a Note 3 form factor/features with just the newer chips and stuff in it. It would mean that much to me. But that doesn't exist, so S8 active it is for now anyway.

  9. HmYiss

    I bought a nice shiny Huawei this year.

    Just so I could smirk at Apple and Samsung users.

    Its a lot of fun.

    Strange Huawei didn't get a mention. Contradicts the narrative?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I bought a nice shiny Huawei this year.

      It doesn't contradict the narrative. Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, said that last month's global smartphone sales were down by 40%, and they're expecting revenues to fall by $30 billion over the next two years.

      I think the reason that Huawei shouldn't be considered when looking at how smartphone sales are doing is because they're experiencing serious business issues that aren't related to smartphone market movements.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    used iPhones

    My first iPhone 5 (battery now failing), was a freebie from a colleague who upgraded and couldn't be bothered to try to sell it. Just this week, I scored an iPhone SE 64gb for €50, from a retiring colleague who received a new one, that's about the cost of getting the battery replaced in the old 5 at the shop...

    My coat with a copy of "how to be a bottom feeder"

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: "how to be a bottom feeder"

      Feeding on bottoms is a shitty pastime...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoe Event Horizon.

    that is all.

  12. TonyJ Silver badge

    My own upgrade path...

    ...is not to go out and buy the latest generation of handset when I need a replacement, but rather one that is 1 - 1.5 generations old. By the 1.5, I mean that point where you know the latest generation is fairly imminent but not quite out yet. That's the point where you can pick up the real bargains.

    I picked a Note 8 up earlie this year, round the time when the 10 series wasn't far off and paid £300 for a factory unlocked, brand new device. I suspect it will last me many years as it;s always in a case with screen protector.

    The thing that frustrates me most is the built in obselence due to the lack of security updates. I don't mind being behind the curve with regards to the OS itself, but I want them patched.

    I struggle to put alternatives on such as Lineage for a couple of reasons - I believe that they trigger Knox thereby voiding the warranty but also my banking app tends to become appoplectic about it and refuses to run. I'd be interested to know if anyone has usable workarounds for the latter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My own upgrade path...

      I struggle to put alternatives on such as Lineage for a couple of reasons - I believe that they trigger Knox thereby voiding the warranty but also my banking app tends to become appoplectic about it and refuses to run. I'd be interested to know if anyone has usable workarounds for the latter.

      You don't need to believe it, flashing a custom rom / root files will trigger Knox which void the limited warranty in majority of the cases.

      For your banking app, you could try to block it from detecting root. It's not guaranteed, since the bank might have other ways to detect it (ex: it searches file directory for magisk)

      So unfortunately, there is no good workaround. You could consider getting lineageosOS and have either a separate smartphone for your bank app or just use a secure browser to access your bank website as alternatives in case your banking app doesn't work with root. Or you could getting a google supported devices (pixel series) or a nokia with android one for a security device with your banking app without root.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: My own upgrade path...

        I found Magisk to be pretty good at providing root without tripping too many apps. But, then again, I don't really want to be able to do banking with my mobile phone.

  13. Lee D Silver badge

    I dunno.

    The Nokia 2.2 looked alright to me.

    Removable battery

    Headphone socket

    microSD slot.

    Plain Android

    GPS/Glonass/Baidou

    ~£100

    To be honest, if I'm gonna buy a new phone, it's going to be something like that.

    But, yeah, 5G capability would be nice, even if I don't put it on a 5G SIM for years to come.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Looks halfway decent. I see Amazon has them for £79 at the moment.

  14. Alan Bourke

    Pickied up a mint Nexus 6G from CeX 12 months ago

    and I see no compelling reasons anywhere to change it ever, unless it dies. Even my Apple fanboi kids have stopped nagging about newer iPhones.

  15. tiggity Silver badge

    Give us what we want

    The OHs most recent purchase was an oldish iPhone as wanted a headphone jack, which the newer iPhones did not have. Only reason for that purchase was to replace a water damaged phone.

    Similar in my case, except I buy cheap androids, my last one got damaged (I assume by some ignorant **** who accidentally (I would hope) walloped me (& pocket phone was in) on train with their heavy suitcase earlier that day - most likely reason for damaged screen, a huge coincidence otherwise).

    Cost of screen replacement was nearly as much as phone originally cost so I got a new (cheapo) phone.

    I assume this will be the pattern of things - "just good enough is good enough"

    .. I do not do online banking etc. on phone - make calls, send texts, check the weather forecast & a few news headlines, read some emails, play the occasional game, listen to some tunes (don't expect phone camera to be a substitute SLR so phone camera quality irrelevant). With my undemanding use case, latest and greatest phones have no huge appeal when a cheap as chips device does the job.

  16. dajames Silver badge

    No suitable product available

    They can't sell me a phone if they don't make what I want.

    All modern high-end phones seem to have huge screens with stupidly high resolution. They're not really phones at all, they're 4G tablets!

    These monsters are all so thin that that it's impossible to pick them up without cutting oneself (nearly), and have no bezel so any attempt to pick them up will activate something-or-other near the edge of the screen.

    I can't believe anyone really wants that!

    Make me a(n Android) phone with:

    • At least 32GB flash storage and 4GB RAM
    • (micro-)SD card expansion
    • 5" screen with no more than 1920x1200 pixel resolution
    • Enough thickness to make it easy to pick up and hold
    • Enough bezel to make it possible to hold without touching the screen
    • Guaranteed Android version updates for 3 years, and timely security patches for a further 5
    • Removable battery

    and you have a good chance of being able to sell it to me. To increase that chance endure that it has:

    • Dual SIMs (as well as the SD card)
    • IP58 or better rating
    • No [expletive deleted] stupid notch! You don't need that if you have a decent bezel.
    • 3.5mm audio jack (even though it supports USB/Bluetooth headphones too)
    • FM or DAB radio
    • NFC
    • Fingerprint recognition

    Include them all at under about £300 and I'll bite your hand off! I do not want a higher spec than this, and I will not pay for it!

    NONE of that is bleeding edge stuff. None of it is particularly high-end. None of it is difficult or expensive apart from the commitment to support firmware upgrades. The whole package should be a world-beater. I'm taking it as read that the thing will have the usual 2/3/4G cellular comms, WiFi a/c, Bluetooth, USB (and OTG), and GPS and stuff.

  17. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    moto

    Sure, ended up buying a new phone this year, but only because the 6 yr old Moto Droid Razr stopped reading SIM cards. So bought a base-model Moto e, unlocked, for about $130. Then my wife dropped her old beat-up S5 and the screen went all wonky (and then I messed it up even further trying to unglue it to check the screen connector). So got her a somewhat-less-base model Moto z, for about $150, unlocked. These should hold up for quite a while (especially if I get a proper OtterBox for hers...)

    Heck, fr work I use a $20 TracFone I bought for a project some three years ago. If that one dies I can go to CVS and pick up a replacement for $20-30 which even then will still have more functionality (and useless crap apps) than I'd ever need. So long as I can run LinPhone, FreeTTP and occasionally check company mail on it, that's all I'd need.

  18. all ears

    Damn, these modern mobes are cool!

    Just got thru buying a brand new Sammy S7 to replace my Asus Zenfone 2E. Love the screen, the responsiveness. Cost me $175 on ebay.

    I expect this 3-year old model to last me at least 5 years or more.

    Of course I'm not well to do, nor am I a heavy user. But it's clear to me that you can get a helluva device for a lot less than they're charging for the current stuff.

    Same with my desktop PC, I'm rocking an i7-4771 with Win7x64, and have no need or desire to upgrade. When your main concern is functionality and not the bling factor, you realize that tech has been very very good for a while now, and you can spend your money on hookers and blow.

  19. I'm Dugly

    I'm thinking of going to the Purism Librem 5 at some point. They're not shipping yet, but it's possible to pre-order. It is a Linux (PureOS) phone and this will complement my efforts to be free of Google and MS. The battery is replaceable.

    https://puri.sm/products/librem-5/

    I don't ask much of my phones. Calling & text mostly, occasional use of maps or reading news when away from my laptop. The Librem 5 offers more functionality than I currently use, and perhaps I might take advantage of this once freed from the central scrutinizers. We'll see.

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