DEAR MS. SMARTPHONE: WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL THE NEED TO GET A NEW PHONE WITH EACH UPGRADE? MY FRIENDS TALK ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME. I HAVE HAD THE SAME PHONE FOR FIVE YEARS AND IT WORKS JUST FINE. Harold, San Francisco
Dear Harold: We all get familiar with our smartphones and they can come to feel like an old friend. Sometimes people get a new phone for the same reasons they seek a new outfit or a bigger car. They reward themselves or they want to impress others. But people also get new phones when their contract expires or they perceive that there is a better feature, like a new keyboard or sharper camera. Americans replace their phones more frequently than people in any other country and the average time is two years.