How far ahead do you plan your smartphone upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 teaser
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 teaser

I go back and forth between enjoying the fact that we get new smartphones every year, and wondering if maybe a bit more time between releases would serve everyone involved just a bit better. Businesses like Samsung and Apple would probably argue against any kind of change to the status quo at this point, but considering how often we hear about “boring updates”, maybe expanding the upgrade window would get rid of that complaint.

Probably not.

LG, for its part, is starting to play a little fast-and-loose with its own upgrade plans. It has already said that it doesn’t want to just launch phones because its major competition is launching phones. Which basically means that LG is going to try and avoid the yearly upgrades, and release a new device only when it feels like it’s worth releasing a new device.

We’ll have to wait and see if that actually pans out. There are already rumors about an LG V40 seeing the light of day before the end of the year, for instance — which means it’ll probably go up against the incoming Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (and other high-end flagship, including the Google Pixel 3 XL). But there might be a bit of a bad idea there.

Knowing when companies are going to announce a phone means you can basically forget about it for the rest of the year. There isn’t going to be a surprise launch months after you have already upgraded, for instance. So if you buy a new iPhone in September, you’re pretty safe knowing that you won’t even have to worry about upgrading until next September rolls around.

LG’s strategy, though, means that you could see a new flagship smartphone, whether or not it’s a direct successor to your own handset or not, see the light of day just months after you’ve picked up your new phone. That level of uncertainty might not sit so well with potential smartphone buyers.

Samsung is moving things around, too. Last year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 8 at the end of August, and now the company is already scheduling the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 9 in early August. A few weeks isn’t much, thankfully, but it will be interesting to see how Samsung continues to shuffle the Galaxy Note phablet release dates in the future.

With Samsung’s announcement today about its upcoming Unpacked event, I’m curious: Do you enjoy these yearly updates? And, if so, is it because you know your next upgrade is (probably) 12 months away, if not longer? How far in advance do you plan your smartphone upgrades? Let me know!

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