Smartphones Won. We Can Ignore Them.


Smartphones also remain a test bed for useful inventions, particularly for photography and for software features such as voice recognition.

So hooray for the smartphone companies that keep perfecting their products. That doesn’t mean that we need to care a jot about Google’s odd looking new Pixel phones — they really do look weird, though — or Apple’s coming iPhone … 13? 12S? Whatever.

The latest phones will be lighter, faster, better and maybe more expensive than the old ones. The cool new features will be there when you’re ready. You don’t have to care until then.

Tip of the Week

Not ready yet for a new smartphone? Brian X. Chen, a consumer tech columnist for The New York Times, has a tale of dogged determination to keep an old device alive and kicking:

A few weeks ago, a reader named Marianne sent me this email:

Last year I tried to get a new battery for my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. I took it to Verizon, where I had purchased it. They told me they couldn’t open the phone to replace the battery and suggested I take it to a repair shop. I called Samsung, and it took so many tries to actually speak to a human.

The person I finally spoke to said I would have to send $75 for Samsung to even agree to look at the phone, and if they could install a battery, they’d contact me. I authorized my credit card for $75 and waited for the required mail authorization only to receive an email the following day saying Samsung wanted to cancel the entire transaction. At that point, I gave up. I would be perfectly happy with my S7 if it could hold a charge.

I responded to Marianne, encouraging her to try again — but this time, contact a few local independent repair shops to ask if they could do the job. Days later, she replied that she had found someone and her phone was restored to its former glory!

The moral of the story: Don’t give up if a brand like Apple or Samsung says it can’t help you fix a phone. There is an industry of independent fixers whose business is to keep your phone running, not sell you a new one.

More often than not, the indie technicians are capable of doing repairs that the manufacturers are not willing to do, like replacing a defective charging port on an iPhone. Do a web search on Yelp or Google and call around to find a good, honest fixer.