How should we upgrade our portable devices?

The ability to upgrade our computers provides us with several benefits.  We feel our investments continue to be useful through extending their lives.  We also gain features for modest additional expense and are able to adjust to the changing world around us.  I love to enjoy new features as software is upgraded and I benefit from the increases in usefulness and the “joy” of using my computers.

This same functionality applies to our mobile devices though some are extremely difficult to upgrade.  To upgrade my PDAs or traditional phones takes some work.  I have to find the updates, download them to a PC and connect a sync cord which didn’t come with my earlier phones.  Then you run the software on the PC and upgrade your phone or PDA,  Many times in the process you lose everything you had on the device and then you need to go about restoring it.  Sometimes the software helps with this, other times it doesn’t, depending on the vendor.  Lately things have been getting better and upgrades restore at least your basic data.

For PC’s OS upgrades have been somewhat automated when running Linux, Mac and Windows systems.  It would be nice to have similar functionality for our phones.  One case in point is the iPhone, the iPhone upgrade process is very seamless compared to all of my previous phones (some 10 now).  There are benefits to Apple for this as within a short time they know all of their phones will be upgraded and they can then count on additional OS features being there.  The same benefits are there for the users, and they don’t have to worry about their data because iTunes backs up and restores it during an upgrade.

With MIDs being Linux based they will be able to update their OS as upgrades are released to the public versions of the OS.  I hope that the OEMs packaging the systems together will take advantage of this process and allow MIDs to be upgraded online and over the air and thus benefit their user base.

PC Magazine has an interesting article suggesting that the iPhone method of upgrading should become a standard practice.  Here’s the link:,2817,2343326,00.asp


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