Do you know about planned obsolescence in the tech industry?

When was the last time you bought a gadget or any tech device which lasted for more than 2 years? And even if you remember any rare event like this then you must be talking about an incident which dates back to almost 10 years.

You just bought a phone which has been bundled with the latest operating system updates, camera, and apps and just in 1 or 2 years, you find that all the apps available in the market are not compatible with your phone. You may also find your phone slowing down even after updating it to the latest version.

This can look very usual in the era where technology is evolving even faster than the economy of any country, but what if someone told you that the big giant companies develop the gadgets and tech devices in such a way that it will not last more than a specified period of time? Yes, it is true and is popularly known as the practice of ‘planned obsolescence’.

What is planned obsolescence?

Planned obsolescence is the practice of making goods in such a way that it will go obsolete in a particular period of time so that it will need replacing. The planned obsolescence is practiced by making frequent changes in the design, adding new features, uses of non-durable materials and by making the spare parts of older models unavailable.

If you are thinking that this practice is very new then you haven’t looked at the tech market deeply. The era of selling high-end tech devices which will last longer wiped out almost 10 years ago and it has been strengthened with people making tech devices as a fashion statement.

Different ways of practicing planned obsolescence

Making frequent changes in the design

This is one of the most common ways of practicing planned obsolescence in which the company designs the product in such a way that the older model will start looking outdated. One of the best examples of this is the automobile. There was a time when changing car was not a trend and that’s what the automobile industry realized and then by adding styling and cosmetic changes, they made the older models look outdated.

Making spare parts of older model unavailable

If some parts of your old device are not functioning, then you will go to the spare parts shop and search for the specific spare part but there are maximum chances that you will not find it. This is not due to the mistake of the shopkeeper or supplier, but this is a planned strategy by the company for amplifying the sales of its latest products.

Use of non-durable items

Do you know that in many museums, light bulbs made by Thomas Edison are still glowing? Yes, and bulbs can be made in such a way that it can last for a very long period of time but that’s not what the companies want. Therefore, they used non-durable items in their bulb so that it will be replaced in a very short period of time. The same can be seen in the case of mobile, laptop and other tech devices which were earlier bundled with strong hardware parts.

There are various other examples of planned obsolesce like Intel, in which they have already started to manufacture their new generation PC even before marketing the last one. Other cases include features and updates which will be no longer compatible with the older model or which will make the old model slow. It is like a child is able to speak a new language which the parents don’t understand, but the child is able to understand both the languages.


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