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Poll: Manufacturers all over the world are involved in the Planned Obsolescence Conspiracy.

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Thread: Hardware with an Expiry Date




  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Hardware with an Expiry Date

    Two months, I read this article about how product obsolescence are really planned by the manufacturers themselves. I kind of felt depressed after reading it. The breaking point of our devices are pre-determined, our devices are intentionally made obsolete after a certain period and we have to buy new devices when we don’t want to (unless you’re ‘loaded’ or just love buying new replacements every now and then).

    The article wrote that manufacturers are using tricks in their electronic products so that it would break on purpose just after or before the end of the warranty period. And thus the “buy-quick and discard-quicker” loop is created. The reason was obvious: to make as much money as possible in the shortest time. This wouldn’t be possible if all the devices have a long lifespan.

    According to the article, this trends began in 1920’s where light bulb manufacturers made a pact to make light bulbs with an average burning time of 1,000 hours, even though the average burning time up to 2,500 hours was actually possible. The plan worked: light bulbs throughout the world burnt themselves out a lot quicker and the sales of the sales of light bulbs went through the roof.

    The following are some typical examples of planned obsolescence in electronic products currently:
    - Phones are made with irreplaceable battery so that when the battery is dead, the device is unusable.
    - By making CPU fans inaccessible, notebooks are susceptible to heat damage due to build-up of dust.
    - The gear wheels in digital cameras are made of plastic because they wear out quicker, leading to loss of functionality.
    - The enclosures of certain tablets are glued shut in a manner that ensure they cannot be open up easily, making repairs impossible.
    - HDTV are equipped with cheap electrolytic capacitors that rupture at high temperatures, rendering them inoperable.
    - Cheap power buttons on monitors lose their contact ability too quickly, fooling users into thinking their monitor is dead and can’t be repaired.
    - Many camcorders are equipped with 'smart' firmware chips that detects whether the battery in use is from the manufacturer or a 3rd party. The end result is affordable batteries expend large amount of energy and last for a very short period of time.
    - Many inkjet printers ensure ink is depleted quickly by ‘cleaning’ their printheads frequently. In the process, a few drops of ink find their way into a little receiver-sponge. As soon as the sponge gets filled up, the firmware ‘declares’ the device is defective beyond repair.

    While inexpensive repairs is possible, manufacturers often keep their circuit diagrams under lock and key. Furthermore, they ensure that replacement parts are so expensive that repairing the device isn’t worth the effort. You could get a brand-new device for about the same amount of money.

    By using these tricks, manufacturers intentionally make their products worse than they could have been. Expensive devices are artificially rendered defective by inexpensive components. Repairs are made too difficult or too expensive to conduct. And this strategy has served them well. Sales are created continuously and increased over time.

    What do you think? Another conspiracy mambo-jumbo, or there’s truth in it?

  2. #2
    Lvc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Hardware with an Expiry Date

    In my opinion, this is not surprising at all. As a matter of fact, I'd be surprised if it wasn't this way

  3. #3
    profJim's Avatar
    profJim is online now Chief Munchkin + moderator
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    Question Re: Hardware with an Expiry Date

    Food for thought:

    You are a major battery manufacturer. Your R & D engineers design a new battery that has the following features:
    • the new batteries last twice as long as the old batteries and are more reliable
    • the new batteries cost 15% less to manufacture
    • manufacturing the new batteries will let you lay off 20% of your current employees

    How much do you charge for the new batteries?
    Remember, your goal is to make a profit, provide a quality product, and be a good corporate citizen.

    When I bought my first 7600GT video card, I paid $125.
    A little over two years ago, I bought 2 high end GTX 460 video cards, 6 months apart.
    Total cost for both GTX 460 cards was $290.
    Needless to say I got much more performance and more/better features with the newer cards that only cost about 20% more than the 7600GT cards.

    Not too long ago, AMD came out with a premium line of high end video cards and they charged a super premium price because the then current Nvidia high end cards couldn't compete with the much higher performance of AMD's newest cards.

    AMD didn't lower the price of the new cards for several months until Nvidia's new high performance cards were shipping in volume.
    Did AMD do anything wrong?
    Were they immoral or amoral?
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