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How Smart is your Smartphone?

The newest technology is constantly evolving. These days it seems that the newest and best phone is coming out faster than you can upgrade. This continual stream of new technology might have you second guessing if your current phone is doing everything it can for you or your business and its employees.

As wireless contracts become less and less prevalent in the marketplace, consumers and businesses alike are afforded more flexibility with their upgrade schedule. How do you know when it’s time for an upgrade?




Your Operating System

How important is it to have the latest version of the mobile OS? For the average smartphone user, it may not be as important as it is to someone who is tech savvy or prefers the latest bells and whistles. For corporations and business, it really depends on the needs of your employees and productivity.

Android devices are usually supported with software updates for two years following their release. However, most OEMs prioritize their premier devices (flagships). Far too often, the same level of support isn’t available to their less important mid-range or “budget” devices. Apple tends to handle this differently. When purchasing an iPhone, you can expect software updates for three to four years. As many iPhone owners will tell you, after a certain point, the hardware in their device is less likely to operate as efficiently as they upgrades continue to roll out.

The basic functions of your phone will continue to work whether you are running Android Oreo, KitKat, iOS 11 or iOS 9. The biggest difference besides speed and ease of use with 

the newest updates versus the older software is with security. Security vulnerabilities are often exploited by hackers which may result in compromised data and consumer or confidentiality violations for companies dealing with PCI/HIPAA compliance standards. Up-to-date software offers a level of protection from such vulnerabilities.


Is your device still supported by the manufacturer? When you stop receiving over-the-air updates automatically on your device, it is a good sign that support has or will soon come to an end. That doesn’t mean that you have to run out and immediately upgrade your device. Use this as an indicator of when you or your company’s IT department should start researching the next planned upgrade. You can use this time to evaluate the market, see what devices are scheduled to come out and compare your needs to the various options that will most certainly be available.


Device Speed and Responsiveness

Isn’t it wonderful when you unbox your new phone and enjoy how fast it is compared to your last device? Throughout the life of your device, it will feel less snappy and less capable of running the apps that you use on a daily basis without some lag time. Over the course of a year, a noticeable lag will likely occur with the entire UI and doing anything from the power cycle to running basic programs will seem like they take forever.

Many people believe that the user is the primary cause of performance decay. Installing apps at a furious pace, adding all of your favorite social media platforms and integrating your company’s platforms to improve productivity all add to the eventual decline in performance. Each of these take up space, run in the background and slow the device down. However, these are not the only ways in which your smartphone will worsen. File management within the device itself is done so in a fragmented manner. Files are stored in various places which slows the device’s system files and breaks them down over time.

The truth is that apps are constantly becoming bigger, more complex, and more resource-intensive. Right now, your device may run all of the popular apps without am issue, but over time the newer versions of those apps put a strain on your phone as they continue to become more complex and larger. This can be caused by software and firmware updates gradually becoming geared towards more powerful, newer phones, or newer API versions your phone isn’t running. While you may be able to download the newer versions of your OS on a flagship from 2016, that doesn’t mean it will run well on such dated hardware and it is quite possibly that it won’t.

If it’s been a couple years since you’ve last upgraded your smartphone, whether from file bloat or just not being able to handle the strain of new software, it’s probably a good idea to start looking for an upgrade.



When You Upgrade

Is it in yours or your company’s best interest to upgrade? As an individual consumer, you have some flexibility when it comes to upgrading. You can trade in your device for a new one with many of the flexpay plans that are offered as of late, resell your old device on sites like Letgo or if you want to meet someone in a shady alley you could always try your hand at Craigslist. Chances are you’ll get a fair trade in value for your device and someone who couldn’t afford last year’s best new phone can get a cheaper version of it second hand.

Business and company cell phone upgrades aren’t traditionally as easy. Your devices are considered mobile assets and like any other asset, you want the highest return of value on your investment. These are the devices delegated to the employees in order for them to do their job more efficiently and increase overall company productivity. While you could take advantage of your mobile provider’s buyback option, you will likely receive far less than what the device is currently worth. There are several companies like BuyBack Solutions which handle your mobile assets while complying with corporate cell phone recycling policies. Corporate cell phone recycling is rapidly becoming the commonplace as it complies with the R2 Standard for electronic recycling. Third party companies like these can recycle your company’s used cell phones and mobile assets and responsibly manage the disposition process. You will need to find a company that adheres to and meets all NIST SP 800-88, HIPPA, and DoD 5220.22-M security standards. There is typically confidential information on your devices and Data Security is a MUST!

Every reusable device will undergo a comprehensive, multi-step data deletion process and utilize the latest and most advanced technological tools to ensure all data is wiped completely. After wiping each device and restoring them to a factory setting, the phone recycling solution that you choose should perform a secondary audit to ensure all data is thoroughly sanitized. Most importantly, they should be committed to the prevention of pollution and have a zero-landfill policy. All end of life devices should be destroyed and recycled in accordance to EPA standards with R2 and e-Stewards Certified companies.


The best part about this is, these third party companies will often PAY YOUR COMPANY, far above the competitive going rate, for each device whether or not they are iCloud locked, damaged, obsolete or salvageable (acceptance and payout varies from company to company and the condition of the device).


So whether or not you are ready for an upgrade, hopefully this information has helped you to identify when to start looking. Business professionals and everyday consumers all use smartphones in their daily and work lives. With the ever changing landscape of mobile technology and the plethora of options available, when it does come time to upgrade, it’s always best to shop around and get the best bang for your buck. Please tell us what you think in the comments below!


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