Phones are developing quickly. Apple updates its iPhone about once a year, but Android phone makers offer 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 a new model from another phone maker could surpassed it any day now.
If reviewers find it hard, phone buyers find it harder. Plonking down the thick end of NZ$1000 on Friday to find your shiny new tool is outdated on Monday is an exercise in frustration.