Updating cellphones

New Every Two is no longer officially Verizon Wireless's marketing platform, but Americans still buy new phones, on average, about every 22 months.

The tech companies are fully aware of this, of course. Software companies crank out new Microsoft Offices or Intuit Quickens more or less every year, counting on our fear of obsolescence to drive our dutiful upgrades.

This will display the version number and build number of Android that is currently running on the phone.

How do you improve your product every single year, especially when a large part of its appeal is simplicity?

Apple added the extraordinarily sharp, high-resolution Retina screen to the i Pad 3, released in early 2012, just as it had to the 2010 i Phone 4.

It would be easy to sweep all tech companies into the same pile, to mock their cynicism and manipulation, to accuse them of planned obsolescence on a criminal scale. The i Pad has been the best-selling tablet since its debut.

We count on a revised, better, feature-enhanced i Pad model every year—and that puts Apple under certain pressure.

What this comes down to is that you can prompt an install to happen over your cellphone provider’s data network, instead of having to connect your phone to a PC.

Doing updates in this manner leaves you free to update your phone’s operating system no matter where you are.

This software was released with an open source license by Google in 2008.

Since then, Android is rapidly gaining traction in the cell phone marketplace, primarily due to the revolutionary open source development kit that enabled volumes of applications to become available to run on it.

It would be hard to imagine Samsung or Microsoft, each desperate to compete with Apple, saying, “That's an awfully attractive feature; let's save it for next year.” And there's more reassuring news when you begin to consider different kinds of electronics. But these days Macs and PCs chug along for five, six or seven years before we replace them.

That is largely because of the rise of the tablet and partly because there's not much innovation in PCs anymore.

This function can be compared to the Windows Update feature found in Windows that downloads updates and asks you for permission when they are ready to install.

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