Built in Obsolescence

This weeks post by the marketoonist http://tomfishburne.com/2012/04/planned-obsolescence.html

Reminded me of observation I wanted to write about but had not developed any further, this gave me the extra push. Here is what I posted.

‘Built in Obsolescence’ This is an issue that has bothered me for some time. It echos a lot of the philosophies about future design put forward here:

(Interesting the association with a consumer electronics company)

This is an idea that is very popular especially in the fashion industry and I think is likely to be the next big thing in how we shop. It’s the reason I love http://www.howies.co.uk/

From a personal point of view I find myself working entirely on cloud based services meaning that as long as I have access to the net I can get to my info (I share your frustrations about old iPhones, I’m still chugging away from 2008) and the device I use is less and less important as long as it works.

In response to Tom’s thoughts about the trend shift to longer lasting products, I see this in the offing with the introduction of 4G and more specifically Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology being build into devices. This means that devices are built with capabilities beyond what is currently possible, thus, by default, increasing the longevity of devices. If a device is capable of receiving data speeds that are planned for two years time, it still needs to work at that point in time.

With the current business model this does not make economic sense for manufacturers, with share holders that demand profits, to stop forcing you to upgrade every year or two (perhaps). There will be a trade off and perhaps mobile devices will become more upgradeable or recyclable.

Let me know your further thoughts…


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