Will iPhone Mess Up Cell Phones Upgrade Cycle?

Olga Kharif
Could Steve Jobs' iPhone mess up cell phone upgrade cycle? I think that's a possibility.

Sure, for decades now, people have been replacing their mobile phones more and more frequently -- most recently, every 18 months. With the advent of touch-screen phones, I believe this trend could reverse.

Here's my thinking: The new iPhone from Apple, and the recently announced phone from LG brag touch screens instead of buttons. That means that if cell phone makers or carriers decide to add new functionalities to these phone when they are already in use, they could, potentially, do that over the air. Want to enable consumers to shoot, edit and post videos to a mobile site in a new way? Just send them an application with virtual buttons that will appear on their touch screens and allow for this application's use.

If consumers are able to get new applications this way, I think some of them will stick with their phones longer. After all, today's phones all feature cameras and Web access. Unless handset makers come out with additional hardware making replacing handsets every 18 months a must, I don't see why consumers will keep on changing their phones as often, especially since the phones' prices seem to be on the rise. After all, with a simple software upgrade, users will be able to drastically change their phones' looks and functionalities anyway. So, why splurge on a new phone? Do you agree?

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