As a geek, when new technology comes out I want to get my hands on it the minute it launches. Last month when the Galaxy Note II launched I wanted to grab it on November 9th, its launch date on AT&Ts network. I ran into a problem where I couldn’t get it due to finances, but what was worse was that I couldn’t get it anyway due to my phone not being eligible for an upgrade for another year. Now that is just ridiculous! I got the Atrix 2 only a year earlier, when it barely costed anything. AT&T was selling it for $0.01 on a two-year contract or for $400 or so off-contract. Since I’ve gotten the Atrix 2, I’m pretty sure I’ve payed AT&T a whole lot more than just $400 for that phone, and then they want a $300 early termination fee? So, I had this cheap piece of junk that can’t be upgraded because of a two-year contract. Thankfully, we were able to work out something.
After that though, I was quite curious. Why don’t carriers let you upgrade earlier than two-years without having to go along with the Early Termination Fee (ETF)? Companies are always making new gadgets, and as geeks, we don’t really want to stick around with our Galaxy S III or Note II for two years because a new device will come out in six months or a year later. We’re always wanting to take all of the new stuff for a test run, but carriers allow literally no room for that unless you throw down a whopping $800 on a device off-contract.
Google’s most recent device, the Nexus 4, costs $299 if you want 8 gigs of storage or $349 if you want 16 gigs of storage. Google’s Nexus devices aren’t a problem due to how cheap they are and how easy it is to swap out SIM-cards. What if Samsung comes out with a new device that blows the world away, but no one can get it because they’re stuck on a two-year contract and would be required to pay the ETF or just buy the device outright. I, and many others, would really like to see more devices sitting at the Nexus 4′s price range. There should at least be some sort of program where you can send your device that is currently on the two-year contract back into AT&T to just renew your contract for another device from them. I guess I don’t understand why carriers make it so hard to give them more money and limit you on what you can’t and can not have.
In regards to buying a device outright, when it comes to buying cheap devices like the Nexus 4, I tend to think that pricing is messed up somewhere. The Nexus 4 is by far a better device than the iPhone 5 in terms of hardware. At 16 gigs, the Nexus 4 costs $349, and a iPhone 5, not boasting the specs of the Nexus 4, sits at nearly $800 for 64 gigs. How much does it really cost to manufacture devices like the iPhone 5 or the Nexus 4? Are companies losing money or racking it in big time?
In summary, for those who love getting their hands on new releases, there needs to be a program where you can end a two-year contract to renew it with a new device that just came out. That or devices need to be a whole lot cheaper, like the Nexus 4.
The Galaxy Note II will be the last device I get on-contract. I’ll just have to save my pennies in advance to just pay for smartphones outright.