Why It’s Never the Right Time to Buy an Android Phone

In a post titled “Now is the worst time ever to buy an Android phone“, BGR’s Zach Epstein outlines why right now is the worst time ever to buy a new Android smartphone. I agree with him. Right now is certainly a bad time to buy a new Android smartphone.

There are only a handful of devices worth considering on the market and the ones that are on the way will indeed blow their predecessors out of the water. Both the HTC One X and the One S, for AT&T and T-Mobile respectively – are highly capable phones and are certainly the most exciting phones thus far this year.

And, of course, we have the Samsung Galaxy S III launch looming in the distance.

Epstein argues that these phones will set a new precedent for Android devices and again, I agree.

However, isn’t this always the case? Isn’t there always some new Android phone on the horizon that promises to blow the phones that launched behind it right out of the water? Some killer feature that promises to put all of the other handsets on the market to shame?

Why It's Never the Right Time to Buy an Android PhoneSo while Epstein argues that’s a bad time to buy an Android phone right now, I’ll argue that there is never a good time to buy an Android phone and there is a lot more to it than just the hardware in the pipeline.

If you’re familiar with the world of Android, you’d know that Motorola is one of the leading manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong, Motorola makes some fantastic phones but it also is one of the reasons that I have become skeptical of buying an Android phone.

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It all started when the company released the Motorola Droid 2 and then shortly thereafter, decided to release a Motorola Droid 2 Global. Not one to not try and outdo itself, the company decided to pull two similar stunts in 2011.

The first was when it completely overshadowed the launch of the Motorola Droid Bionic, the first dual-core 4G LTE smartphone. It released this phone in September, marketed it everywhere and then decided to release an even better phone a month later in the Motorola Droid RAZR.

And then, just to top it all off, the company announced new Motorola Droid RAZR, the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX shortly thereafter.

Motorola is the worst offender when it comes to quick releases like that, but Motorola also makes some of the most attractive Android phones on the market.

What I am getting at is, there is always going to be something better on the horizon when it comes to Android.

Always.

In some regards, it’s awesome. It’s great to see new devices pushing the bar. But at the same time, it’s tough to buy a phone one week and then the next week, see a similar phone launch with something better.

Lastly, and I’ve already touched on this quite a bit, when you buy an Android device, you often times have no idea when you’ll be getting the latest and greatest update from Google.

Read: Why I’ll Always Think Twice About Buying an Android Phone.

Right now, only a few handsets have been upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a software update that was introduced in October of 2011.

That uncertainty, unless Google miraculously is able to get all of its devices on the same page, is always going to hang over Android and those looking to buy a new Android phone.

I’ll add this too.

Why It's Never the Right Time to Buy an Android PhoneBecause Android manufacturers release so many phones, there is less attention paid to the smaller updates. Like bug fixes and enhancements. I mean, the Galaxy Nexus, the flagship Android phone which has been out since December on Verizon, still hasn’t gotten a meaningful bug fix update. And it likely won’t until April.

Even the best Android phones are buggy.

What I am saying is that when you pick up an Android phone, you’re immediately thrown into a bunch of question marks.

Will my phone get updated?

Will there be a new phone that comes out within a month of signing this contract?

Will it come to another carrier that suits me better in a couple of months (See: HTC One X, Galaxy Nexus)?

And these questions aren’t just limited to the present Android situation.

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They have been lingering around Android for quite sometime now and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Comments

  1. ebfreely says

    But you missed the whole point.

    “For tech savvy smartphone users, committing to a two-year contract is brutal. Mobile technology moves so fast that smartphones can seem outdated just months after they launch. While this trend is bound to continue, the degree to which new generations of Android phones outdo their predecessors will always ebb and flow. Handsets have been improving at a somewhat modest pace for the past year or so, but the next crop of smartphones to hit store shelves will represent a huge leap forward rather than a few short steps.”

    The author’s position is that the upcoming jump between current-gen and next-gen is greater than any prior jump, and the phones that will succeed the devices he mentions in the immediate future will be playing catch up. “These next-generation Android phones will set a new precedent, and handsets that launch for the subsequent six to nine months will be playing catch-up.” Etc.

    So to answer your question (“However, isn’t this always the case?”), no. Not according to the author whose work you cite.

  2. Chandlercv says

    Now is always the best time to buy an Android phone – so long as you’re mindful of your use cases for the device instead of engaging in some weird competition to have the shiniest toy on the block.

    The algorithm goesl like this: find a device that has an active development effort going on xda forums. Wait for the next gen device to release. Buy the prev gen device on eBay for a song, root it, and Bob’s your uncle. For 25% of the price that the shiny chasers are paying, too.

  3. ol1bit says

    I doubt my Rezound will be outdated that much.  It’s a great Screen Rez, Beats audio, fast dual core, great Camera and ICS soon!  My original droid had a sucky keyboard, and camera, low memory.

  4. Justin 222 says

    I am pissed about the constant updates for android. Only because im a developer though. Ive literally resorted to emulating windows 3.1 to be able to write programs for the phone that will actually run on more than 2-3 phones. Also eclipse is a pile of garbage compared to the resources google has. They should man up like microsoft and release an IDE that is comparable to vb5 or 6, let alone a real language like c++. They also need a lightweight wrapper to allow exe’s to run on the phone.

  5. Jim D'Amore says

    Thoroughly disappointing with ice cream update. Hands free phone will not work in either of my cars. Both cars have new devices Kenwood and Alpine. Everything worked fine until new ice cream update on my recently purchased Droid Razor Motorola. Now my phone won’t allow any voice commands and won’t receive any calls from my car. Can not use the phone and apps just keep switching all over the place. Verizon has no answers and says I have to9 have Motorola solve the problem. ???? Jim

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