How “evolving” technology creates mountains of waste and fewer options
Microsoft Windows is the operating system that powers approximately 90% of all personal computers in use today. Windows is updated every two years. Many applications, including your favorite web browser, will support the newer version as soon as it is released. In a few short years, the applications will stop supporting older versions as much.
Google Chrome is an example. It no longer receives Google updates when it runs on Windows Vista, an older Windows operating system. Support was removed. Microsoft itself has stopped supporting Windows Vista.
It is difficult to find an appropriate external hard drive that will work with my Windows Vista laptop, which has been fully functional for eight years.
Most external hard drives are compatible with some of the latest versions of Windows. How can I, as a consumer, get the hard disk required? Answer: They probably cannot.
Product life span
The companies plan their technical support and warranty in accordance with the expected lifetime of the product. You can estimate the product’s lifespan by looking at its warranty period. This will help you to guess how frequently its manufacturer launches new products.
Apple offers a limited one-year warranty and releases new iPhones nearly every year. You will need to buy an extended warranty after the initial warranty period.
Apple releases a new iPhone nearly every year. Thomas Peter/Reuters
The warranty period does not represent the expected lifespan of a product. It does mean, however, that if your device is not well-maintained, you may have to pay extra for additional coverage or buy a more expensive and newer device.
Even your caring attitude is bound to diminish after a few short years because the software technology that drives it changes much more quickly, no matter how good the hardware may be.
The new products are viewed as having more choices, but if you don’t have the money, there is actually less choice.
You are limited in your ability to use an older device due to the lack of support it receives for its software and hardware. What happens if your device has minor issues? There is no longer any support for hardware or software. Your only option is to upgrade or find someone who can repair it.
Upgrades can be costly, and there may not be enough people who have the required skills. Has seen a decline in technical repair skills.
It is not only the case for the consumer electronics sector, where the US Bureau of Labour Statistics has predicted a decline of 2 percent from 2014 to 2024 in electrical and electronic engineering technician jobs. This trend also applies to automotive and other industries. This trend is seen in all advanced economies.
In developing countries, there are often thriving second-hand markets, as well as repair bazaars. Examples include Nehru Place in New Delhi and Gaffar Market, Harco Glodok in Jakarta, and 25 de Marco in Sao Paolo. These markets may be accessible, but their quality is rarely guaranteed. Not all services offered are legal.
Their financial resources limit the purchasing power of a person. It’s another thing entirely when it is curtailed due to fewer choices.
The author’s laptop is a functional one but still doomed. Sharad Sinha is the Author.
Companies try to set user expectations. Some companies try to determine user expectations.
Steve Jobs is often cited as an example of this idea. This idea’s goal is to manipulate customers in order to achieve a company’s goals.
A company does not have to continue supporting pre-existing product lines when a large number of customers switch over. Some people don’t need the product but still buy it because of the technological “evolution,” even if this is just a feature enhancement.
Contribution to E-Waste
It may be not easy to notice a reduction in choices when a service provider sells consumer electronics on leased terms. Consider, for instance, the smart phones like Apple’s iPhone that mobile providers sell. Customers may be able to upgrade their iPhones at a price when a new model is released. This is seen by many as an opportunity to upgrade every few years.
Some devices that are thrown away as a result of this may end up in vendor-buyback programs. Others could be recycled or refurbished on certain markets, but most without warranty. Some of these devices end up in landfills and contribute to electronic waste. Others are recycled or refurbished versions.
Will consumers exercise their choice if we offer them the option to either not contribute to electronic waste or to delay it as long as possible? The rate of technological advancement makes it unlikely. The landfills are likely to be filled with devices that were thrown away due to a lack of technical support.
Many of the innovations in the consumer electronics industry today are not aimed at solving a pressing problem. It’s more about fulfilling desires that are not necessarily human. In the process of reducing our choices, it reduces the number of options we have.