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Are you suffering from smartphone fatigue? (Poll)

So many models, so many options, so many carriers, so many changes, so many updates. Is it just enough already?

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
A new model every week. New updates all the time. New prepaid carrier options. Stop the insanity!
A new model every week. New updates all the time. New prepaid carrier options. Stop the insanity! Sarah Tew/CNET

There are days when it's so challenging to be a technology writer, I can only imagine what it's like to be a technology consumer.

For example, and I'm just ballparking here, there are some 37,000 smartphones you can buy today. Whoops, hang on, just got a press release from HTC; make that 37,001. Oh, and here comes Android 4.3 -- wonder when I'll be able to load that on my S3. Hey, Best Buy took $50 off the iPhone last weekend. Must mean Apple's announcing a new model at next month's WWDC, right? Certainly we'll be getting iOS 7 before long. Of course, Samsung's new Galaxy S4 has the better camera anyway, so Apple better step it up.

Exhausting, right? It can be a full-time job keeping up on all this stuff, though obviously we in the tech-journalism field are employed to do exactly that. Still, I can't help wondering if the average smartphone user feels similarly overwhelmed by all the options and updates and choices -- many of which seem to change almost daily.

Truly, living the smartphone life can be daunting. 3G, 4G, LTE, GSM, HSPA+. NFC, GPS, PPI. Dual-core, quad-core. Five megapixels, eight megapixels. Android 4.1, Android 4.2. iOS 6, iOS 7. Q10, Z10. Google Play, iTunes, iCloud. Windows Phone 8 (or is it Windows 8 Phone?). BlackBerry (they're back!). iPhone 5, iPhone 5S. Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S4. HTC One. Nexus 4.

And I didn't even mention carriers. I'm with AT&T right now, but my two-year contract ends soon. Because I'm a cheapskate (not to mention The Cheapskate), there's no way I'm going to continue paying $80 monthly to keep using my iPhone 4S.

That means I'm in the market for an MNVO, a mobile network virtual operator that will sell me service at a much lower rate -- and without a contract. But where do I take it? Walmart's Straight Talk? I've heard iffy things about their terms of service. There's Solavei, which offers a flat rate of $49 per month -- but its T-Mobile-powered 4G coverage doesn't yet reach my slice of suburbia.

I could also sell my 4S on Ebay to cover a good chunk of the costs of a prepaid iPhone 5, which is now available from no-contract carriers including Boost Mobile, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, and, most recently, T-Mobile. Ah, but do they really afford the same level of coverage as AT&T?

If I'm willing to switch to Android, I can save even more money by going to an upstart carrier like Republic Wireless, Ting, or Zact Mobile. But I won't be able to get the latest and greatest handsets, and I might miss out on some OS updates.

Like I said: exhausting. Make no mistake, I love all this stuff. But sometimes the relentless onslaught of smartphone news and options fries my brain. Do you ever feel the same way?