Have Our Gadgets Become Disposable?

from the limited-lifetime dept

People think I’m strange because I still use the mobile phone I bought nearly five years ago. These days, as gadget mania seems to be sweeping the world, they’re increasingly becoming a fashion statement beyond having any particular practical use. As a result of this, it seems our gadgets are becoming disposable. We use them for a year or two, and then toss them in our “old gadget heap,” and move on to the next hot gadget.

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Comments on “Have Our Gadgets Become Disposable?”

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Rob Henderson says:

If only I could...

I’ve yet to own a mobile phone that I was able to keep for more than 2.5 years. Antennae break off, buttons crack, charging/data ports become unusable.
Some of our ‘disposable gadget’ notions do come from our mindset about the value of these things. Much of it, however, comes from the cost cutting at the factory that results in such short product lifespans.

Michael Kohne says:

My cellphones are certainly disposable.

Not that I necessarily WANT to dispose of a cellphone every 2 years, but since I usually end up taking the ‘sign up and we’ll give you a phone’ device, I find that every year or two I need a new one as the old one has died.
In this case it’s not so much that I want a new phone, it’s that I NEED a new phone (or to give up having a cell phone at all, which is something I probably ought to consider).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: My cellphones are certainly disposable.

Well we are Americans !
Send our used phones to third world countries.
We really only deserve the best and newest.
And Verzion told me so.
Just sign up and spend lots of cash and we will give you a new phone every year.

Do any of you ever donate your used equipment to women’s shelters or other facilities that refurbish and sell these ” old ” phones to help others ?

David Pachura says:

It's a consequence of manufacturing technology

This is not a surprise. With modern manufacturing technology, the real cost of the device is in the design, not the actual manufacturing. With VLSI chips, high-density printed circuit boards, and million-line software intensive systems, modern systems are not repairable, or in many cases upgradeable. Combine that with rapid technology changes and it becomes inevitable that a problem means replacement, not repair. My 5-year old cell phone has obsolete analog technology, and my current cell phone doesn’t accommodate GSM, which is what my cellphone provider is converting to in the next year. The high-fashion fads in cell phones is a side-effect to increase churn, but it’s not the driving factor over a long time.

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