To Jump or not to Jump

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I am a gadget enthusiast, so when T-Mobile announced their JUMP program a year ago, it caught my attention. If you haven’t heard of it, the program allows you to trade in your device after 6 months for a new one. It also offers insurance on the device. From the outside, it looks like a ripoff. Here’s why it’s not.

A flagship phone will cost you around $650. If you get it through T-Mobile, you are paying $0 down and $27/month. JUMP costs $10/month, so after 6 months, you have paid $162 for the phone, and $60 for insurance1. T-Mobile pays the difference, regardless of the condition, and you walk away with a new phone.

Doing this on your own will cost you $600-700 up front, plus the time to sell a device (and ship it to the buyer). And if it breaks in that 6 months, you are on the hook for repairs or a replacement.2 You may get slightly more than the 75{ead1ec57d01dc4f3b6fa9a50fe76fe28ebab2fc9140c3ee6280f16d7c1e45e74}3 of the price T-Mobile “pays” for it, but not enough to offset the streamlined transaction and insurance.

The real issue is whether it is prudent to upgrade a phone every 6 months. Probably not, but right now the HTC One hits some checkmarks4 that my Nexus 5 did not, and I’ve already paid for the JUMP, so I am pulling that trigger as soon as I am eligible.


  1. I’m not sure about other insurance plans, but T-Mobile also covers theft and loss. Basically, you are paying to always have a phone. 
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  3. I have been down this road, about a week after paying in full for the phone. Then it is another 1-2 weeks before it comes back from Samsung. You never need that insurance until you do. 
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  5. If you are not grandfathered in, they only pay half the cost of the phone. It is basically the same story, just over 1 year instead of 6 months. 
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  7. Battery, external storage, tap to wake. 
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Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone

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In a spare, drab office park in Sunnyvale, California, a bunch of two-by-fours and foamboard have been nailed together into a makeshift model of a shipping container. Inside, a bare, unlit Edison bulb hangs from a wire, over some simple IKEA furniture and a table with Lego blocks on it….

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Building blocks: how Project Ara is reinventing the smartphone
from Pocket via IFTTT

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The Hold Steady @ the Vogue Theater, 4/25/2014

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Some highlights from the show:

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  • Some Deer Tick fans popped up in front of us at the beginning of their set, affectionately referred to as Tick Heads. I have never seen someone’s mind constantly exploding from that close for that amount of time. They clearly could not contain their enthusiasm, and were escorted away before the end of the set.
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  • The Vogue does not know how to make a Tom Collins (maybe just the one bartender). We stuck with whiskey coke after that, considering the band:n
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  • Craig Finn almost looks out of place at first but makes it clear that he is having just as much fun as you are, which makes the whole show pretty refreshing. Read more about it here (about halfway in, just past the part about bookshelves).
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  • Hold Steady fans are generally unthreatening. Lots of plaid button-ups and thick-rimmed glasses. There were some d-bags in the front that were watching ESPN on their phone, literally less than 10 feet from the mics. Disappointing, but they weren’t jumping around and throwing elbows and screaming, so whatever.
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