You know that thing they have each year all of the companies who make consumer electronics get together for a convention to show off their stuff (and apple never comes because they have their own way of doing everything)? Well, it’s called the Consumer Electronics Show & it just happened. Here’s a quick list of 10 winners & losers from techradar.com – the interesting news is that they think Lenovo has situated itself as a future electronic superpower.
I stumbled onto another interesting strand to the conversation at the CES 2012 via twitter. CES 2012 was trending, so I thought I’d bite. The conversation I was eavesdropping on was happening somewhere deep inside nerd-city, so I only understood a fraction of their language. However, it seems that there is a certain faction of Consumer Electronics experts who believe this year’s show signals a move toward the end of planned obsolescence.
Nothing is more annoying to the consumer than planned obsolescence. And for the Christian, it’s an important ethical issue. Planned Obsolescence is where manufacturers intentionally build gadgets with a limited use life. Sometimes this means gadgets are made so that they will break down within an appropriate time (not so fast people will feel ripped off, but fast enough to where they’ll run out and buy another gadget). Within the world of consumer electronics, they just make new generations that outperform old generations of the same product. It makes companies more money, to be sure. But it crowds the landfills with incredibly harmful and totally worthless electronic junk. Planned obsolescence is a bad deal for everyone over the long term. However, it is sacrosanct among consumer electronics firms; a necessary evil and huge part of the business plan. Yet, some companies might be waking up to the consumers growing distaste for it. Lance Ulanoff, who covered the show, wrote:
“Samsung smart TVs will actually feature an upgrade slot, making them, in Samsung’s words “future proof”. It’s the closest thing to heresy I’ve ever heard at a CES press conference: Buy these new products and then keep them indefinitely, upgrading only the software with, essentially, bios updates. What happened to the idea that consumers would upgrade their CE products ever few years whether they wanted to or not? Clearly Samsung has discovered that consumers (who once kept the same TVs for two decades or more) are not so keen on dealing with HDTVs that expire or seem wildly outmoded after just a few years of use.”
Nothing would make me happier than if this were true. If you are looking for a TV over the next year or two – ethically speaking – I’d encourage you to look for the Samsung smart TV that is trying to be “future-proof.” You can read Ulanoff’s whole recap here.