Do technology products need to last beyond obsolescence?


— 4:00 PM on August 11, 2010

Tested is running an interesting article on the longevity—or lack thereof—of modern technology products. They don't build 'em like they used to, or so the argument goes. Having witnessed plenty of modern gizmos flake out at a much younger age than their now-antiquated forebears, I'm inclined to agree.

While it's easy to chide new products for their lack of long-term durability, the author questions whether there's much value in having a product work long after it's become obsolete. He has a point. My original Xbox was a reliable gaming machine for years, and the console still works perfectly to this day. However, it's been lying dormant since I upgraded to an Xbox 360, which has already suffered one RROD failure. Even when I was waiting for my replacement 360 to arrive, I had little desire to dust off the old model.

Obviously, it would be great if everything we bought lasted forever. Some products, like mice, keyboards, enclosures, and even sound cards, also tend to be more resistant to obsolescence, and they thus hold their value longer. But the useful life of most PC hardware, game consoles, cellphones, and other bits of technology is quite a bit shorter. Maybe it's okay if technology products don't last beyond their useful life, at least as long as they're cheaper to purchase initially.

   
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