Cell phones do not live forever. You can enjoy several years of function if you take the time to care for your mobile device. Power the phone off at least once a week for no less than 10 minutes. Avoid dropping the phone, or exposing it to wet environments. Using a phone carrier instead of sliding the phone into your pocket adds another level of protection. Determining the life span of your phone requires identifying the technology used and comparing it to newer devices.
Open your user manual, and identify some of the basic information regarding your phone. For example, the Blackberry Torch uses a 1300 mAHr Lithium Ion battery with approximately 5.5 hours of talk time, 4 gigabytes of on-board memory, connects to 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and has a 5 megapixel camera. Identify features of that nature, even if you do not know what they mean.
Consult your carrier's website, and identify the latest smartphone they are advertising. Locating the latest smartphone requires clicking the "Shop" link on the provider's website. The latest phones will be advertised on the main screen.
Click the link to view the smartphone, and click to view the "Specifications." Compare your phone's specifications to the latest smartphone you have identified. You have 2 or 3 years of solid function left with your phone if your features equal or surpass those of the newest smartphone. You have approximately 1 year left if the latest smartphone has improved features that differ from your device. Better features are identified as larger numbers. For example, 8 gigabytes is better than 4 gigabytes. A 10 megapixel camera dwarfs the 5 megapixel camera.
Cellular contracts are 2 years for a reason; it takes approximately 1 year to recoupe the costs of marketing, manufacturing, activating, and maintaining a cell phone, and the average cell phone lasts only 2 years. Battery life spans average 18 to 30 months. You are best served if you replace your cell phone every 18 to 20 months, ensuring that you are migrating to a newer phone before you lose all your data from a dying cell phone.