A smartphone that could be used for an entire decade – it’s such a wild idea that it’s almost impossible to imagine. In the age of Apple and Samsung competing to see who will issue the better campaign of the year, it’s hard to resist the upgrade. Not only that but there are forceful updates that slow down devices and make it inevitable to get a newer model.
Smartphones are becoming the new luxury; eventually, they will convert to a subscription model where you don’t own them. The perfect example is Apple. If you decide to open the phone and change the battery, you’ll face an error message saying that you didn’t replace it in an official store. In that case, do you own the phone or borrow it from the store?
Fixing one phone over and over again
If there is a smartphone that could last for a decade, then the first thing that comes to mind is upgrading. Of course, most people don’t buy the newest phone because it has a 0.1-second screen refresh rate or faster processing speed. They buy it because it looks cool, you can take thousands of pictures, and the camera makes you look pretty. Maybe you’re going to play some games on it too.
However, this means that nothing stops people from taking a phone from a couple of years ago, changing the camera and processor, and using it forever. If the software updates didn’t slow down the phone, it could be used indefinitely.
The most popular brands today don’t use screws, which makes opening them and replacing a part a nightmare. Based on public feedback, the iPhone lasts for about 5 years with its software updates, while the Androids last for two. Technology is being treated like fashion, and these companies compete for what’s thinner instead of focusing on preventing e-waste and improving recycling.
Is anybody else thinking of a sustainable smartphone?
The Fairphone (pictured above) is made by a Netherlands startup and follows the principles of becoming the world’s first sustainable smartphone. You can open it quickly and swap components. And it can be easily fixed, even if you drop it. It’s the complete opposite of everything we’re used to, and they’re leading with sustainability and durability in mind.
While the Fairphone invites you to open it and play around with the parts, Apple invented its own screw and needs a special screwdriver to open the device. Another exciting thing is that if you drop the Fairphone, the plastic cover will pop off, and the battery or a few components will scatter on the ground.
Anyone who had flip or brick phones will remember that this used to be the standard a few decades ago. It makes sense for the phone to disassemble to prevent damage and soften the blow. Compare that to your Android or iPhone falling on the ground and breaking the glass that will cost you close to 300 bucks to replace.
Because smartphones are becoming physically impenetrable, hackers can abuse this fact and go for a workaround. If they can somehow use software to corrupt the hardware, your smartphone can become useless immediately.
This means that these big tech companies will eventually start charging for security under the mask of cybersecurity, probably on a subscription basis. Installing a tracker blocker on your own would become impossible, and you will be forced to use their services instead of choosing by yourself. That’s like bringing your phone to the store instead of repairing it yourself.
The future of personal tech
As things are going now, it feels like people will not own anything in the future. BMW recently announced to the public that they would offer subscriptions for their cars, and if you don’t pay, you won’t have heated seats. You can’t fix your phone now. You won’t be able to fix your car in the future. Everything is directed toward extracting the most value from the consumer.
However, tech companies must put their incredible wealth toward a better approach to make their devices friendlier to use, repair, and recycle, not to mention their impact on the average consumer’s wallet.
Finally, there is the option to reject the marketing ploys of these giants and not create hype over small features and rush to get the newest models. But if everyone keeps being happy, there won’t be anything to complain about. However, we do know that some companies are working toward a sustainable future.
Article contributed by Rita Zeller.
About the author: Rita Zeller is a writer with a deep passion for all things related to technology and innovation. She loves staying on top of the latest trends in the tech world and enjoys sharing insights through engaging articles. With a passion for storytelling, she has successfully crafted engaging and informative articles that cater to readers of all backgrounds.