The cell phone industry has long been a source of headaches for many. One concern I often hear, is that if someone buys a particular product, is that it will be obsolete in 6 months. In this article I will discuss some key factors in determining what cell phone manufacturer might suit you, what style of phone, what range of features, as well as relevant points such as the speed of mobility innovation.

Things You Will Need

The first thing I tell people when they are undecided about whether or not to buy a cell phone is to stop. Don't buy it. Then, I listen to their response. Usually, an individual will let me know if they really need a product, or if they are just 'keeping up with the Joneses.' There isn't anything wrong with always wanting the newest, hottest smartphone, or the most expensive 3G tablet. Realize, however, that in 6 months, or a year there will be a new range of products that are part of a new even more chic line-up of phones and devices. If you want it, great, then buy it. Over and over, I talk with people who have rushed to buy a product the first day, or the first week it launches only to later discover that it is plagued with bugs and glitches.

How to choose a phone (or to skip it all together)
First, if you are going to buy it on day one, make sure you keep the packaging (which is always a good idea) so that you can return it as a DOA for an over-the-counter exchange (check with your retailer for details of this policy) which may apply within the first couple of weeks, or this first month. If you brand new hover-phone suddenly and inexplicably stops working, you do not want to be out $600, or have to wait for a much lengthier repair process when you have hardly touched your device.

Second, be less likely to buy a product right at the launch date if you are absolutely not a tech-geek. After all, some of us love to fondle our gadget but don't know so much about what makes them tick. If "all" your device needs is a factory reset, and the bug has plagued thousands of the devices from that batch, it is certainly worth a shot, and good to know. Essentially. there is something to be said for letting others test out a brand new phone model, which brings me to my next point.

3: The term obsolete in the cell phone industry is partly a marketing tool. Is your phone analog? No, then whether it is obsolete may be debatable. The true question is whether it meets your needs adequately. Is there a new phone that will at much more productivity to your day and life (the answer may be yes)? Don't recycle your aging handset when all you need is a new battery and it meets your every whim and desire and is otherwise the most faithful element in your life.

Do your research, both on the web, and with your retailers and collegues. Figure out what your true needs are and how well your current phone meets those needs. Feel free to think big on this one. You may have been using the same old flip phone for years and it may be comfortable but that doesn't mean you shouldn't change if, when you think about it, if is sabotaging you. Just don't be too quick to jump on the bandwagon when it is going in a direction that gets you nowhere.

Tips & Warnings

a) Know your policies: getting an extended warranty for an expensive phone, depending upon what the plan offers, may be a wise investment
b) Make sure you know what you are signing. Are you getting a discount on the phone in exchange for resigning your contract term?
c) If it ain't broke, don't fix it (unless you can't resist).
d) Tablets, as well as 4G network services are about to become the next big things. That 3.5G smartphone you are looking at purchasing may be a lot cheaper soon. Or you may not want it anymore.
e) Get a case and a screen protector. Ok that doesn't quite fit here, but it is still sound advice.
f) If your old phone broke, even with a smashed screen, your local cell phone repair shop may have a cheap fix for you, allowing you to keep on flipping.