Samsung introduced its new flagship phone, the Note 9, last week at an event in Brooklyn.
This phone is designed to compete with the iPhone X. It has some absurd features for a mobile phone – a beautiful 6.4 inch display, stereo speakers, 6GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage – with the option of adding a micro SD, so you can have a FULL TERABYTE IN YOUR POCKET. Oh, and it has a Bluetooth low energy stylus, dual rear cameras, and a 4,000mAh battery. Insane.
All that, starting at just $999. The phone launches on August 24th.
But here’s the thing. You’re almost certainly not going to upgrade (well, if you’ve somehow stumbled across my article on my little-trafficked, sandbox of a site, then you actually might…).
An analyst from Morgan Stanley recently took an informal poll of summer analysts to get an idea of Millennial and Gen Z tech sensibilities. These kids, who are doing summer internships at Morgan Stanley and are thus likely well-remunerated (I’ll hold off from any family wealth assumptions), are using their current devices for longer and longer. The most popular phones were the iPhone 7/7+, then the 6, then the 8, then the X. If the older phones continue to work fine (albeit with a few fixes like replacing a battery/screen/etc.), the newer devices are less of a step up, why upgrade? Especially when you might have to shell out a grand to do it?
And not only that, but almost 100% of them used Apple, not Android phones. And funny enough, they cited iMessage, not the broader Apple ecosystem, as the reason for not switching. One respondent even said the “don’t know anyone personally other than my dad” who uses an Android phone.
So what does this mean? You can build the most beautifully designed, best featured Android phone in the world, but you’re still facing an uphill battle when it comes to perception (and thus, the strategy behind getting the Note 9 into the hands of cool kids on YouTube )
And still, a thousand bucks is a lot of money for a phone that most people beat to hell. Seriously – if you were to walk on any given subway car and take an informal straw poll, there are more cracked screens than non-cracked screens.
Personally, I need a phone upgrade. I’m still working with an iPhone 6+ that has been giving me issues all over the place. I have no idea what I’m going to get next. I’ve been tempted to switch over to an Android phone, but, like the survey respondents, I still feel firmly locked into Apple. And I have the option of running with my 6+ until the wheels fall off. A thousand bucks is a lot for a phone, so why jump into kind of financial commitment until absolutely necessary?
Then again, I’ve had my phone for over three years, and the screen is pristine. I’m pretty good about my phones, so can I justify spending over $1000, if I mentally amortize that cost over three or four years?