Product Improvements Outpacing Even Planned Obsolescence?

from the perhaps dept

We've written a few times in the past about how your memory isn't fooling if you if you think today's gadgets and gizmos are built with lower quality than consumer electronics from years gone by. Part of the reason is simply planned obsolescence, where companies are innovating so much they expect you to simply upgrade when the last one you bought breaks. However, a new article suggests that even planned obsolescence is a thing of the past as the pace of innovation is such that people feel compelled to upgrade relatively quickly, not waiting for their gadgets to break. The main focus of the article, though, is how this presents quite the conundrum for consumer electronics buyers, who always know that what they buy today will be a lot cheaper tomorrow. Of course, it's not really clear how that's any different than how things used to be. People have always struggled with the timing on when to buy computers or consumer electronics, knowing that there was always a next generation coming, and today's products would just get cheaper. However, if you wait until the next generation is released, you should realize that you're only going to be tempted to buy the newer, fancier one anyway.
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  1. identicon, 2 Jan 2007 @ 11:38am

    This piece is less like a news article and more like a rant. Structuring your whole business around compelling consumers to continually buy new items is nothing new. Yes, I agree the level of confidence in products manufactured nowadays is very low. (May I point out the manufacturing job loss in America :-) ) Also, innovation is so high due little machines like the one I am typing to you on. When innovation is high and manufacturing quality is low. You have people buying new stuff before the old stuff breaks. This business model will only fail when consumers demand better longer-lasting products due to lack of innovation. Let’s take the vacuum cleaner for example. It hasn’t really changed a whole lot in the last couple decades. It’s a sucker machine. So a person could reasonably expect the quality of products featuring this sucker machine technology to become better when there is no innovation. Basically people just want quality sucker machine technology and they don’t require the newest innovations. Innovators by definition have no competition and so their products may not be optimal. They have value because they do what the product before them could not. This rant is solved very simply. Simply do not buy a product until you need what it has to offer.

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