One problem reviewing smartphones…

Smartphones are developing quickly. Apple updates its iPhone about once a year, but Android phone makers seem to cycle through new models every three to four months. Admittedly each cycle may only mean small improvements, that still makes for a rapidly changing market.

There’s plenty of innovation. In some cases this leads to dead-ends: does anyone who didn’t buy one remember 3D smartphones?

I was in technology journalism throughout the entire PC industry boom and for much of the 8-bit microcomputer wave that went before. I simply don’t remember there being such a dramatic refresh cycle with those computers. Makers would update models roughly twice a year.

This makes reviewing phones difficult, because you’re dealing with a moving target. Nokia’s Lumia 800 looks at least as good to me as last season’s Android phones and the most recent Apple iPhone, but it could be surpassed any day now by a new model from another phone maker.

If reviewers find it hard, phone buyers find it harder. Plonking down the thick end of NZ$1000 on Friday only to find your shiny new tool is outdated on Monday is an exercise in frustration.