How long can a cell phone last if there has been no programmed obsolescence?
Universal / La Voz de Michoacán
Most cell phones that are manufactured, have a service life of 18 to 24 months. But some experts say they can hold out for much longer. What happens if companies do not intentionally shorten the life of the products?
How many times have you changed your mobile phone? Most buyers are just waiting for two years to get rid of their "old" smartphone. But what happens if companies do not intentionally shorten the life of these devices?
It is easy to find a reason to change a mobile phone: it is outdated, does not do the same, does not have 4G (or 5G, or 6G or something else), the battery does not work, the camera is damaged …. or, simply, it came out of fashion
According to global data from the MarketWatch financial information site, the average consumer updates their mobile phone every 15 months. And the average life expectancy of a mobile phone is currently short-lived: from 18 to 24 months.
“They teach us to consume to match the verb“ to have ”instead of the verb“ to give, ”says BBC Mundo Benito Muros, president of the FENISS foundation (“ Energy and sustainable innovation without programmed obsolescence ”), who have been investigating this issue for 19 years .
Often, smartphones are discarded prematurely.
Muros says that the lack of awareness added to the practice of companies to deliberately shorten the life of their products – the so-called “programmed obsolescence” or “planned” – is a “very serious problem” at the ecological and social level. ”
The specialist says a ton of e-waste is generated, and “inequality is being promoted around the world, allowing wealth to accumulate in the hands of banks and large corporations.”
What is programmed obsolescence? It is planning or programming the end of life of a product or service. After a certain period of time, previously requested by the manufacturer, it becomes obsolete, non-functional, useless or unusable. UN, we generate about 50 million tons of electronic waste per year. This waste is usually found at large landfills located in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
"From 10 to 12 years"
According to Muros, a cell without programmed obsolescence "should last from 10 to 12 years" in terms of mechanical and electronic parts. "
“As far as software is concerned, its useful life should be between six and eight years if it were designed to incorporate certain advances into technologies that do not leave it obsolete,” said a specialist in an interview with BBC Mundo.
How often do you update your mobile phone?
Fabian Hühne (Fabian Hühne), a representative of the Dutch company Fairphone, which developed the world's first “ethical phone” in 2013, which was built with responsible devices with resources and people involved in this process, told BBC Mando that This question is important because “shorten Life Span (cell phones) contributes to an increase in the amount of e-junk that often ends in the southern hemisphere.”
Hyune says that the accelerated production of cell phones "generates CO2 emissions and releases precious minerals that are discarded every time the phone is not recycled."
The Fairphone rate, which developed the “first removable phone” in 2015, which is easy to open, repair and upgrade, “extends the life of each smartphone to three or five years,” he explains.
But Hühne adds that the lifespan of cell phones also "strongly depends on how people use them."
Usually e-waste usually falls into the southern hemisphere.
Obsolescence is "premature"
Muros agrees: “The point is not to stop buying what you need, but to demand that the products be repaired and updated, that you can always use the latest technology so that you do not have to buy the entire device”, he says.
“The task is to inform people about a very serious problem, which is a programmed obsolescence. It is necessary to change the model, not based on constant growth, but on sustainability. ”
But he also says that many companies are not interested in these changes and that there are lobbies in Europe that “are going to introduce rules to talk about premature obsolescence and not to program”.
“Planned obsolescence has a criminal connotation, while premature obsolescence may mean that products break down spontaneously, because materials no longer stand or do not break. That would cause us to be in the falsity of the system, ”he says.
What do the manufacturers say?
“All manufacturers to a greater or lesser extent shorten the life of their products,” says Muros.
“The problem of ordinary citizens is the lack of information. Not much media that talk about it. It is believed that this is normal when everything is so small – adds Barcelonan.
Apple acknowledged that it created a feature in the software of some of its iPhone models, including 7, to “avoid outages.”
Apple recently published headlines when it first admitted that it deliberately slows down its phones, claiming that it does so because of the "aging" of lithium batteries.
“Our goal is to provide the best experience to our customers,” the company said in December last year.
Both Apple and Samsung, the company that sells the majority of mobile phones in the world, received fines from Italy’s Office of Competition and Market (AGCM) Italy on October 24 for intentional damage to cell phones.
AGCM said that Samsung has forced its customers to install software that degrades the performance of Galaxy Note 4, which the company refuses. The company declares that it will appeal to the decision of the agency.