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Old 08-28-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
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The Upgrade Syndrome

Hi All. Something that has been ticking through the back of my mind of late is the number of blogs, news and forum posts about the 'absolute possibility' of new devices being released, and it got me thinking - Why are we now so constantly obsessed with product upgrades?

Many posts have been sprouting about a new front-lit Kindle, a larger Kindle Fire (with a wish list of wants), new iPod touch, new iPhone etc. These are not confirmed by anyone, merely speculation and from what I can gather driven by desire of the writer.

I recall a year ago Amazon released the K4 and K-Touch. Now the Kindle Keyboard came about 2 years ago and has not had a firmware update in how long? Yet it supports a microphone (which is unused) and is sold as a current product. The Kindle DX is in worst shape. Supposedly the Kindle Touch has a microphone but if new Kindles are announced in the coming week will this become a product sold but merely forgotten about in terms of firmware improvements?

The Sony PRS-2 has just been released, which from what I can gather all new functionality could have been provided in a firmware update for the PRS-1 - but demand obviously was for a new ereader with the current model less than 12 months old rather than update the firmware to provide a better experience.

I look at the Jetbooks and no firmware updates have been released (other than the new colour eink model) for a number of years, yet they still sell each model they have made as part of their current line up. Looks like they got to a point where "ah this'll do" and moved onto the next product.

I can't comment too much on the Nook, though I did like the concept of the glow light - not by releasing a completely new ereader, merely just a minor hardware change.

I really get the feeling that as consumers we're more than happy to settle for a gadget that firmware-wise half works, and live under the anticipation of "oh I will only have to put up with it for a year until the new model comes out".

Its not just ereaders I'm getting at either, mobile phones are the same. I have a Motorola Defy and reading on the forums a few people posted similar issues (I don't recall exactly as I never had the issue) and the fix was to buy the Defy+ which is essentially the same phone with a few tweaks and updated firmware by Motorola.

Am I missing the point? Have I been left behind when it comes to the thrill of potential new devices coming out? Are my expectations of a gadget working as intended too great, and should perhaps tolerate what I have and upgrade in the 'hope' the fixable flaws in my current gadget are resolved in the new product upgrade? Am I just getting old and grumpy in my old age?
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
...
Am I missing the point? Have I been left behind when it comes to the thrill of potential new devices coming out? Are my expectations of a gadget working as intended too great, and should perhaps tolerate what I have and upgrade in the 'hope' the fixable flaws in my current gadget are resolved in the new product upgrade? Am I just getting old and grumpy in my old age?
Yes... but so are we all... I now look at things from two main points - Do I need this or do I want this and these days "the wants" tend to be left waiting...
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
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K for sanity.
Yes the call IS "why fix or improve when we can sell new devices instead"
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:49 AM   #4
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Reminds me of the Futurama episode about the "Eye Phone". I'm disinclined to get rid of a perfectly good item just because there is a new model. I expect to keep my car for many years, but some people are itching for a new car as soon as the next year's model comes out.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
Hi All. Something that has been ticking through the back of my mind of late is the number of blogs, news and forum posts about the 'absolute possibility' of new devices being released, and it got me thinking - Why are we now so constantly obsessed with product upgrades?
The sign of an immature market - new devices are still adding new, worthwhile, features.

I used to be a big fan of the Compaq/HP "iPaq" range of PDAs, and for years, whenever a new model in the range came out I'd buy it. But eventually they reached a level of maturity at which the one I had did everything I needed, and I stopped upgrading.

My iPhone is much the same. My iPhone 4 does everything I need. I didn't buy the iPhone 4S and, unless it's something pretty damned spectacular, I won't buy the iPhone 5.

Bookreaders haven't yet reached that "plateau", in my mind. New devices are still adding new and innovative features, and new models are, therefore, still worth upgrading to.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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I thought the Nook Glow was cool, but I bought a light instead of buying a new device. My opinion is that I'm glad they keep moving forward so when my current device's natural life span ends, what I replace it with is better and has more features. But I don't intend to get an iPad 3 so long as my iPad 2 works well, and my Nook Simple Touch and Kindle 4 are perfectly fine.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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My K3 and 2nd generation iTouch are working fine. Upgrade Syndrome is marketing brainwash. Social networks and technology products both prey on the fear that one is missing out on something. That something is real time spent listening to nothing and relaxing our minds.

Less is more is healthy.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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There's nothing in the release of new models that requires you to upgrade every cycle. Speaking for myself, I only upgrade when a new model provides a sufficient number of new goodies at a price insufficiently high as to give me sticker shock (which may in turn mean that I don't upgrade until the new model is not-so-new anymore).

From my point of view it means most bangs for my bucks, from the manufacturers point of view, they only get rewarded from providing significant real innovations (either new tech or better ways of using existing tech).

Anybody who has a PRS-1 who is seriously contemplating buying a PRS-2 obviously has more money than sense (and really ought to see me about buying a wonderful, only slightly used, Brooklyn Bridge ).
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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I want frontlit e-ink, and the Nook isn't sold in my country (and wouldn't quite squeeze into my favourite handbag). I also have a taker for my Kobo. Not all of us are suffering from a 'syndrome'; we're making rational, thought-out consumer decisions based on features useful to us.

(Still using an iPhone 3GS here, and will upgrade it eventually only because the battery life is starting to falter.)
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:51 AM   #10
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I too want a front lit eink Kindle. If I use a gadget regularly, and an updated model comes out with features that I like, I'll upgrade. Sometimes I'll keep the original; most often I'll gift it to someone, or in rare instances I will sell it.

There are some items in life I like to splurge on, and many that I don't. Gadgets I like to splurge on.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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My last phone was over 3 years old before I got a new one; and the only reason I did so was because the battery was giving out. I expect to keep this phone just as long.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
There are some items in life I like to splurge on, and many that I don't. Gadgets I like to splurge on.
Same Here. Gadgets and games are something I'll go out of my way to splurge on. The wife will never understand it. But, then again, I'll never understand her affinity for purses and shoes.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:42 PM   #13
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:46 PM   #14
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People respond differently to the "latest and greatest" advertising model, and there's nothing to be ashamed of for either buying the newest toy, or ignoring it... whatever turns you on. As long as you can rationally consider whether you want/need a new device or not, and you don't simply respond to the ads with a set "yes" or "no" knee-jerk action, you're cool.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:52 PM   #15
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My last phone was over 3 years old before I got a new one; and the only reason I did so was because the battery was giving out. I expect to keep this phone just as long.
None of the rumoured announcements excite me at the moment. I will upgrade my phone only when I can't make any calls with it and my ereader when a model with 8 inch screen with same weight and thickness as of my current ereader is released. So, I don’t think I will purchase any more gadgets this year.
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