Take a look at these stupid people...

Shawn Rutledge shawn.t.rutledge at gmail.com
Wed Apr 3 15:57:14 CEST 2013

On 3 April 2013 13:01, Sebastian Reinhardt <snr at lmv-hartmannsdorf.de> wrote:

> If You have to buy an new smart-phone every two years to get new software,
> I think this is not fair, too. And this is not good for nature......to
> throw away an working phone.....

I agree that an artificial withholding of software updates is a ridiculous
reason to buy a new phone.  Fortunately iPhones and android phones have
typically had a few years of software updates available, and with the
android mods there's no reason that some older phones can't continue to get
new features past the time that Google or the manufacturer want to stop
supporting them.  But there are other reasons: physical wear and tear,
batteries don't work so well after a couple of years, and it's amazing how
fast new features continue to be added even though we can start to expect
smartphones to be a maturing category of device.  Every year there have
been more cores, faster clock speed, more memory, more storage, better GPU,
better accelerometers, better touch, wacom stylus, better GPS, other types
of sensors, NFC, maybe zigbee will come soon?  At this point the smartphone
is not mature because there's no end in sight.  Next we can imagine using
an eyetap and some new types of input devices to avoid having to carry the
phone in one hand and touch with the other, which ties up both hands and
requires you to look down and be out of touch with reality.  Every
generation of device, there's at least one new feature that you really
want.  So while I wish technology could have a longer life, it would have
to mean a kind of stagnation too, or else such extreme leapfrogging that
there is nothing else that you could want for several years while the
competitors catch up (like Apple managed to do for a while).  A small indie
project has a vanishingly small chance of leapfrogging like that.  The Neo
phones were obsolete almost from the beginning because they didn't support
multi-touch and full-screen GPU rendering, just at the time when you would
really begin to want both; and on top of that it's bulky, has relatively
poor industrial design and the price is too high.  But there is room for
open source efforts to add features and extend the life of existing
devices, I think.  New software features are easier to create than new
innovative hardware, and revolutionary features are still relatively rare
in software.  It's just that the same type of person who wants to be a
developer is probably also the one who always wants the latest hardware.
 (Except when that person is too poor to buy it, or when the category is
actually mature, as has just about happened to PC's.)  The nanotech
refinement of 3d printing should eventually make it possible to homebrew
custom devices, and upgrade them a piece at a time, but then we will be
living in a scarier world with its own set of problems.  And it's still a
big piece of engineering; remains to be seen if volunteers can ever
out-innovate the big guys.

So I hope fairphone succeeds, but they will need shoulders of giants to
stand on in both the hardware and software areas, otherwise it will be too
little too late for too high a price again.
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