TECH KORNER

With Wonky William

 

Planned Obsolescence: Buy A New SmartPhone

 

Ya ole bozos out there just go out and buy a new smarter phone when it gets slower and start sending you annoying messages to “upgrade.” Bet you did not know that Apple, Samsung, Nokia et al have PLANNED it this way. Yep. There’s a thing called PLANNED OBSOLECENCE and there the skivvy about that! Let us not get technical here; this is what it is – a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of non-durable materials.

 

Recently, Apple got smacked with a class action lawsuit after the mega-tech giant admitted it DELIBERATELY slowed down older iPhones to get you sods to buy newer versions with just cosmetic changed – and slick marketing. This practice is planned obsolescence. Wikipedia defines planned obsolescence (or built-in obsolescence) as: “in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.”

Samsung, Nokia and Apple are not the only tech companies that wants you to buy their latest and greatest gadget-widget. ALL companies do it – from software that needs to be “upgraded” constantly to household appliances and gadgets that suddenly stop functioning and even promoting the newest, most flashy and “must-have” upgraded thing. 

Ever notice that the moment a new iPhone or Samsung Note is released you immediately rush out to buy a new phone? Tech companies WANT YOU TO THINK that your phone is now “old” and very soon will not work as well. Sometimes, many times, you do NOT HAVE TO UPGRADE but the “shelf-life” of the phone and its propensity to slow-down and get buggy is built into the phone and this automatically forces you to buy a new $1,000 phone.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: technology is constantly improving, and tech companies want to continue to offer the latest and greatest, sometimes the “older” equipment just doesn’t work as well anymore. I get that. That’s normal and I do not have a problem with things getting old. The problem occurs when a company intentionally and DELIBERATELY slows down older devices or takes other measures to actively “strongly encourage” you to upgrade. I’m annoyed because this process is BUILT INTO EVERY new smartphone or appliance etc. that you buy. These companies know how long they are gonna last you and start to pitch slick advertising to you to “buy now.”

So, economics 101 tells us that for-profit companies do their best to get people to buy more things from them. Tech companies are notorious for forcing you to upgrade, but other companies also do their best to make things obsolete so you will upgrade and buy more from them. That’s just how companies make money. That’s why, planned obsolescence is here to stay. In fact, one could argue that planned obsolescence is good for investors, but not for consumers.

However, beyond greedy companies wantonly fleecing their customers, the practice does have some silver linings. There is no denying that to some extent, planned obsolescence is an inevitable consequence of sustainable businesses giving people goods they desire. So, do not shoot the messenger! planned obsolescence is an unflattering reflection of a ravenous, consumeristically-driven culture that industries created for their benefit, yet were hardly alone in doing so. 

Planned obsolescence is a part of our daily lives. From so-called contrived durability, where brittle parts give out, to having repairs cost more than replacement products, to aesthetic upgrades that frame older product versions as less stylish – tech and product makers have no shortage of manufactured and “brain-game” ruses to keep opening people’s wallets.

 

Your smartphone has built in planned obsolescence, well, built in. All of these new, shiny, wonder handsets get old, loose their attractive sheen, and get discarded after a couple years’ use. Yep. Screens or buttons break, batteries don’t hold charges, or their operating systems and apps get buggy, and so can suddenly no longer be upgraded.  The solution? Buy a brand-new handset model that’s pumped out every year or so, and touted as “the best ever” Yeesssh! Gullible consumers alive and well!

If you have a question or need information on any tech topic shoot Wonky William and email at mdr@caribbeantimesnews.com

 

 

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