What's a phone actually worth?
By Alex KIDMAN
Just up the road from me, someone's trying to sell off a caravan for $28,000.
I've absolutely no idea if it's actually worth $28,000, and, to be totally honest, I'm not even particularly interested in buying it -- but every time I drive past, I see its rather forlorn sales poster slapped on the back. My very first reaction when I spotted it was one of slight shock -- I hadn't really thought that caravans went for that kind of money.
It's the same reaction I imagine many folks have when they discover what their smartphones were actually worth, having hastily destroyed them one way or the other. Apparently down the toilet is embarrassingly common. Anyway, a top of the line smartphone typically runs between $600-$1,000, depending on the manufacturer, specifications and who you're buying from. That's a figure that downright baffles many used to only thinking of their phones costing them so many dollars per month on a cap contract. But it's what the market has set as the smartphone "price"; you can save some money by direct importing, or for that matter downgrading to a lesser (or older) model, but that's what you'll pay for a phone.
Thinking of a phone purely in outright purchase terms removes an important consideration, and that's what the usage of the phone is worth to you. If you're constantly using it as a business tool over the two year average life of a phone contract, it could very easily be worth its $1,000 asking price; that's about $1.36 per day. Not that much for a smartphone in that context, and I'd imagine that having the phone is worth more than $1.36 to most people. That's not including call or data costs per se, although those would be factored in any contract.
I suppose my sticker shock on the price of the caravan should be viewed in a similar way. If you headed off around Australia with your $28,000 caravan being towed behind you and stayed in it every night for the same two years, it would cost you $38.35 per night, quite a bit less than any hotel or motel you'd be able to find. Bargain!
Then again, I'm never going to fit that caravan in my pocket, am I?
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