The programmed obsolescence of smartphones is a controversial issue that has already put major brands in uncomfortable situations, as is the case with Apple, sued in Chile, Portugal and the United States, for decreasing the autonomy of older iPhone models via software updates, in order to make users purchase a new device.
In Europe, however, brands looking to sell smartphones will likely have to deal with the fact that the life of the devices will be more useful.
That’s because the German government is trying to get the European Union to demand seven years of security updates and replacement parts for smartphones as part of negotiations with the European Commission.
This new proposal requires two years longer than another recent Commission suggestion, which called for five years of updates, and can effectively give cell phones a support cycle more like that of a computer.
But both proposals are, of course, being strongly rejected by smartphone makers. Industrial law group DigitalEurope, which serves big techs like Apple, Google and Samsung, wants the EU to adopt a maximum of three years of security updates for mobile phones sold in the block. In addition, it charges that replacement parts are limited to screens and batteries — instead of continuing to offer cameras, speakers, and more.
This extended update support can be crucial. The idea of the European Union with such a measure, which should come into force in 2023, is to increase the life of smartphones and, consequently, reduce the amount of electronic waste in the block. The devices generally and currently remain protected and working in good condition for a maximum of three and a half years.
What’s your opinion on program obsolescence? Do you think the measure requested by Germany was a good idea?