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Pilch

To Jump or not to Jump

2 min read

I am a gadget enthusiast, so when T-Mobile announced their JUMP program a year ago, it caught my attention. If you haven't heard of it, the program allows you to trade in your device after 6 months for a new one. It also offers insurance on the device. From the outside, it looks like a ripoff. Here's why it's not.

A flagship phone will cost you around $650. If you get it through T-Mobile, you are paying $0 down and $27/month. JUMP costs $10/month, so after 6 months, you have paid $162 for the phone, and $60 for insurance1. T-Mobile pays the difference, regardless of the condition, and you walk away with a new phone.

Doing this on your own will cost you $600-700 up front, plus the time to sell a device (and ship it to the buyer). And if it breaks in that 6 months, you are on the hook for repairs or a replacement.2 You may get slightly more than the 75%3 of the price T-Mobile "pays" for it, but not enough to offset the streamlined transaction and insurance.

The real issue is whether it is prudent to upgrade a phone every 6 months. Probably not, but right now the HTC One hits some checkmarks4 that my Nexus 5 did not, and I've already paid for the JUMP, so I am pulling that trigger as soon as I am eligible.


  1. I'm not sure about other insurance plans, but T-Mobile also covers theft and loss. Basically, you are paying to always have a phone. 
  2. I have been down this road, about a week after paying in full for the phone. Then it is another 1-2 weeks before it comes back from Samsung. You never need that insurance until you do. 
  3. If you are not grandfathered in, they only pay half the cost of the phone. It is basically the same story, just over 1 year instead of 6 months. 
  4. Battery, external storage, tap to wake. 

Pilch

Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone

1 min read

In a spare, drab office park in Sunnyvale, California, a bunch of two-by-fours and foamboard have been nailed together into a makeshift model of a shipping container. Inside, a bare, unlit Edison bulb hangs from a wire, over some simple IKEA furniture and a table with Lego blocks on it....

Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone
from Pocket via IFTTT

Pilch

Phones

1 min read

Problems with smartphones, as with so many things in life, are seemingly always user error. Nobody has an innate ability to operate such advanced technology unless they were drawn in a comic book or something. It is why you still see those people labelled holdouts because of their refusal to upgrade from their clamshell Nokia, and why "dumbphone" is a word now.

They don't see the potential in their smartphone the way I do. All the things it can do and will soon be able to do. Connections to be made, data to be remembered or shared. It is how I communicate with the world outside my immediate vicinity, and occasionally within it. Smartphones have broken the fourth wall of reality, and the world can never go back to the way things were.

Unless you have an iPhone. That UI is old as hell.