Your Phone Is Your Computer

In the last few years, smartphones have become more expensive. In fact, some phones cost more than laptops. How can a phone command such a high price tag? Among many factors, I’m looking at this one idea: your phone is your computer.

Here’s one example of the higher price of a smartphone over a laptop: my own Android phone is $250. And my Chromebook, on sale, was about $200. So my phone cost more than my laptop. How can that be?

Another example of device cost disparity is found in Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup too. With new Apple iPhones now on sale, you might be faced with choosing one that costs more than a MacBook. This is “just a phone” we’re talking about here, right?

The new iPhone 12 Pro Max with 512GB storage costs $1,400 while the entry level MacBook Air is priced at $1,000. Why does a phone cost $400 more than a computer?

Whether you’re looking at an expensive iPhone or a flagship Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy Note20, you’re likely to spend as much, if not more, than you would on your laptop or desktop computer. That sounds a bit ludicrous, but it kind of makes sense when you think about it.

The Most Personal Computer

These days, we rely on smartphones more than our computers. And although computers are productivity machines, our phones do as much or more. Since phones are pocketable, they’re more versatile than traditional computers.

Your phone is your point-n-shoot camera; it’s always with you to capture life’s moments. Then on that same phone you edit the photos or videos from the camera, much like you can edit video on a desktop PC.

Smartphones are now our wallets too. They wirelessly pay for things at the store. And they secure your identity so you can pay online. Speaking of money, you can budget finances right on your phone using a spreadsheet or a specialized app.

Our phones, using GPS and an accelerometer, record our steps and calculate our general fitness; they’re like pedometers. Try doing that with your laptop in your backpack.

And phones are now the best music playback devices. They stream wirelessly from the internet to any bluetooth speaker or headphones, at home and on-the-go.

So a phone’s utility often outclasses a productivity laptop. Smartphones changed computing life as we know it starting back in 2007 when the first iPhone debuted. Many people today couldn’t live without a smartphone; they’re as necessary as cars.

Yet when we look at a new phone that costs $1,000 or more, we wear a grimace emoji on our face. Sticker shock shows we forget how much we rely on our phones for all their many capabilities.

I tend to be budget conscious and frugal. Yet I think that since phones are the most important computer in our daily lives, it’s reasonable to pay a high price for them. And to offset that cost, we can say a laptop is our secondary computer, like a peripheral that is ancillary to our mobile phone, and thus pay less for it.

In other words, flip the script.

Instead of a low cost phone and high cost laptop, get a high cost phone and low cost laptop.

Either way, the more I think about all that I use a phone for in daily life, and how much I rely on it, the higher prices seem justified. Our smartphones are tiny marvels of modern mobile computing.

Yet novelty, hype, and marketing work hard to sell those high priced smartphones; I work hard to resist.

What’s your take on high cost phones these days? Do you feel the prices are warranted?