May 18, 2022

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

So hurray for the smartphone companies that keep perfecting their products. That doesn’t mean we have to worry about Google’s weird looking new Pixel phones – they do look weird though – or Apple’s upcoming iPhone … 13? 12S? What ever.

The newest 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. Until then, you don’t have to worry about it.

Tip of the week

Not ready for a new smartphone yet? Brian X. Chen, a consumer technology columnist for the New York Times, has a history of persistent determination to keep an old device alive:

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 bought it. They told me they couldn’t open the phone to replace the battery and suggested that 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 had to send $ 75 for Samsung to even agree to look at the phone and if they could install a battery they would contact me. I authorized my $ 75 credit card and waited for the required email authorization only to receive an email the next day stating that 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 replied to Marianne and encouraged her to try again – but this time contact a couple of local independent repair shops to see if they could get the job done. Days later she replied that she had found someone and that her phone was being restored to its former glory!

The moral of the story: Don’t give up when a brand like Apple or Samsung says they can’t help you fix a phone. There is an industry of independent repairers out there whose job it is to keep your phone going, not to sell you a new one.

Most of the time, the indie technicians are able to perform repairs that the manufacturers aren’t ready to, such as replacing a broken charging port on an iPhone. Do a web search on Yelp or Google and call to find a good, honest fixer.