Oh, absolutely, especially one as shoddy as this. There’ll be a slick, well-designed, foldable phone before long that will be more affordable than a high-end laptop, but this definitely isn’t it. I guess $1980 is the price of Silicon Valley bragging rights (for a month or so)?
It’s funny you mention the fact that’s it’s a pocket computer first and a (lo-fidelity) phone second. Obviously being a sci-fi geek I’ve wanted a pocket computer my whole life, but I fondly remember the “pocket PCs” of the late 90’s and early aughts. I got heavy daily use out the Palm Pilot and then HP iPAQ, and there were even a few of them with cell-phone capability (though that never interested me). But I often looked forward to the day when they were easier to use and more polished.
Then Apple released the iPhone in 2006 and I thought about damn time. Everyone else seemed to think Steve Jobs invented the concept. Were they not paying attention to the hundreds of forerunners from every tech company and their dog? Apple even stole Compaq’s cutsy convention of putting a lower-case i at the beginning of their computers’ names (I suspect as some allusion to it being an auxiliary prosthetic brain of sorts).
But yeah, for me, I like having an internet connected computer that fits in my pocket. The chat function (text) has come in handy, and I even make phone calls on it once in a great while.
The thing that annoys me about it is the thing that annoys me about pretty much all tech these days: the relentless march to take control out of the hands of the user and ensconce it firmly in the hands of the manufacturer (AKA rentier capitalism).
I would think that the average life of Apple product is longer than the average life of Android products, because Apple has a better os update policy than average. Of course, some Android phone get reasonably long updates, but the average takes into account the vast number of phones which are orphaned after a few months. There are about 5 times as many Android phones sold as Apple phones.
You can get a basic cellphone for about 25€ (without a contract), which is not exactly “free” but cheap enough to prove your point.
But having the 750 to drop all at once can be a big deal for some people
For what it’s worth I’ve never bought a phone that cost more than $300. They haven’t had a problem lasting 3-4 years for me when I haven’t killed them in accidents.
For the curious:
HTC Somethignorother: hand-me-down, was handed down to a younger brother after a few years, lasted 4 or 5 at least I think.
Nokia N900 (import, don’t recall since it was an ebay buy): old age at 8 years (AT&T shutting down their 2G network in 2017,)
Google Nexus 5 ($185): crushed by my couch after 1.5 years, worked perfectly until then
OnePlus 2 ($275): Still alive & kicking as my roommate’s phone 3 years later.
Xperia X ($235): My current phone. Has some jank (it seems all Sony phones do) but it works fine.
As far as I can tell the only thing that a folding phone will do is fan the rich.
It’s certainly an early adopter tax but I think it’s going to be more than a couple months before better if not more affordable versions hit the market.
Any Apple foldable devices are a ways out, and as you say, this will be the only foldable phone for awhile… but “the latest shiny thing” is only shiny for awhile
I’m glad someone else realizes that this is what these things actually have become! The Sci-fi author Charles Stross was the one who really planted that idea in my head.
And yes, I was reading Pen Computing in the mid-90s, I had multiple Palm Pilots incl. the Palm VII which had first-gen cellular data connectivity with a WAP browser, ha! Anyone remember WAP? I totally agree that the forebears were plentiful, and the iPhone was simple a better-executed version at the right time.
I also share your disappointment about the corporate control of our computing lives – but wasn’t that also part of the cyberpunk reality we knew was coming?
For sure. Gibson and Sterling warned me. Though I prefer to think of our scooterrific cyberpunk dystopia as a prelude to a better tomorrow. For that to happen though will require three things. A reigning in of corporate feudalism, the rise of a competitive alternative to vertically integrated industry and, most of all, a sea change in technological literacy and embrace by the average citizen of an active role in our technological, financial and political lives. None of these are impossible, but they’ll take time which we may or may not have as a civilization.
I might be misremembering, but I think my favorite-ever phone used it – the Danger Sidekick with its flip-out screen, full keyboard, and thumb wheel. I miss that little gem of a device!
Oh man. I had the most West Coast conversation ever the other day.
Guy talking about how he bought about a grand worth of espresso kit. Said it makes sense because him and his wife spend ~250/mo. at Starbucks, so it makes good financial sense.
Me, I wonder what niche it fills? For 2 grand you can buy a smartphone, a nice tablet and a leather messenger bag (or purse) to carry them in and still have change.
Technically, every phone is foldable.
Except maybe some of the older Nokias.
But now you have loaded iPad Pros pushing $1500. I can at least get there with the Surface since it actually runs windows, but that much to run iOS just seems excessive. Bring OSX to the iPad Pro and then we can talk.
Really well put, bud.
Me, I’m quite hopeful. I think it will take through the 21st and 22nd Centuries to clean up the mess, and yes, major, major shifts will be occurring over that timeframe, climate change not the least among them. But our species has been around in this form for at least 300,000 years they are now saying, and without loads of technology, managed to survive many other climate shifts, cultural and civilizational changes, etc. We’ll be fine. Will take a lot of hard work, but that’s a good thing – doing good work is the point of it all, IMHO.
That thing was wicked cool and obviously a bit ahead of its time.
This was the one I craved, hard, for a while. Came pretty close to getting one, if memory serves. Holy cow it was cool!
Whatever it is you’re doing, I think you might be doing it wrong.
I say this as an expert in doing things wrong, mind.
The article I linked to made use of statistics Apple provided a year ago for total active devices. By comparing that to cumulative total devices sold (a number you could get from Apple’s financial reports up until the end of last year), you can derive the exact average lifespan of all Apple devices, no guesswork or estimation needed.
IIRC, Google provided similar numbers (total device activations, total active devices) four or five years back, but hasn’t done so since then. At the time, tech analysts were saying google’s numbers suggested an average lifespan of only a year for Android phones (as always, non-Google, Android open source devices are dark matter - we know there are tons and tons of them, mostly in China and in poor countries in Asia and Africa, but nobody is sure exactly how many or how long they last).
Googling for more recent Android lifespan estimates gets you various numbers that range all over the map. here’s one based on craigslist ads where people are selling used phones that puts Apple phone lifespan at 5.5 years and Samsung phones at 4.5 years:
Not when you consider that an iPad Pro does all the tasks of a $2000 Cintiq and is an excellent laptop replacement for designers who mostly just use art software. Dropbox and AirDrop let me seamlessly work with a desktop and there’s very few times I miss anything about OS X.
And that was for the bottom end, crappy phone that nobody wanted. The sexy phones that everyone wanted? They cost hundreds of dollars, even on contract.
Remember the Motorola Razr? Sexy, sexy thin phone whose shell was made of metal, ads were all about how it was so thin it could slice like a knife blade? $500 on contract, or $600 unlocked. For something that made phone calls and sent text messages, no more.