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Planned obsolescence in the smartphone industry: How long a phone should last.

smartphone industry

In today’s fast-paced world, smartphones have become essential to our daily lives. However, there is a growing concern about planned obsolescence in the smartphone industry. Designing products with a short lifespan to entice customers to purchase subsequent iterations of the same product is known as planned obsolescence. This article explores the issue of planned obsolescence in the smartphone industry and how long should a phone last.

The average lifespan of a smartphone is around 2-3 years. However, many consumers feel that their phones should last longer than that. The question of how long a phone should last is contentious, with no easy answer. Several factors influence a phone’s lifespan, including the components’ quality, the frequency of software updates, and the user’s habits.

  • One of the primary drivers of planned obsolescence in the smartphone industry is the rapid pace of technological change.

Each year, manufacturers release new models with upgraded features and improved performance. Even though their existing phone still works properly, people feel pressured to upgrade to the newest model. In addition, manufacturers often stop providing software updates for older models, which can make them slow and unresponsive over time.

  • Another factor that contributes to planned obsolescence is the use of non-replaceable batteries in smartphones.

Most smartphones today have sealed batteries that the user cannot easily replace. Over time, these batteries lose their capacity, and the phone’s performance can suffer. Many consumers buy a new phone rather than replace the battery when this happens. But the fact which is being ignored that the problem remains there no matter what you do.

  • Planned obsolescence has prompted consumers to demand that manufacturers design phones with longer lifespans.

Some have called for legislation to mandate minimum lifespans for smartphones, similar to regulations for other products such as cars and appliances. Others have advocated for using modular designs, which would allow consumers to replace individual components of their phones, such as the battery or the camera, rather than buying a new phone entirely.

  • There are also steps that consumers can take to extend the lifespan of their smartphones.

One of the most important is to take care of the phone’s battery. This includes avoiding extreme temperatures and charging the phone properly. Consumers can also reduce the strain on their phone’s processor by closing unnecessary apps and disabling features that they don’t use.


Planned obsolescence in the smartphone industry is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted solution. While some consumers may be willing to upgrade to the latest model every year, others expect their phones to last longer than the current industry average. As technology evolves, manufacturers must balance the desire for innovation with the need for sustainability and responsible consumption. Ultimately, the responsibility for extending the lifespan of a phone lies with both the manufacturer and the consumer. By taking care of their phones and demanding longer lifespans, consumers can play an active role in reducing the impact of planned obsolescence.

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