I was reminded the other day about stories my grandparents used to tell me about the first time they had used a washing machine or a fridge, and the wonder they showed at how unbelievable these products had been in their creation. It was described to me as a time when innovation had to be well polished, fit for purpose and built to last for long periods of time to have any kind of success. However, it seems nowadays that it’s become a trend for businesses to be lazy and sneaky whilst expecting customers to subsidise the shortcomings of their products.
This particular memory comes back to me whenever I get to 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I find my shiny iPhone only to discover that I am already down to 12% battery, even though I had charged it to full power the night before and I haven’t used it at all! I’ve heard similar complaints from many others about their smartphones failing on them after a very limited period of time and how others can’t make it through a working day without charging their phones at least twice.
At first I believed that the big tech companies haven’t found a solution yet to compensate for the increasing amount of power that mobile phones use up. However, after a great conversation with some engineering friends about the future of mobile phones, it turns out that more powerful batteries already exist and have existed for a while now. And then I also found out how much it costs to buy a new battery pack. Oof.
Vodafone is one of the companies that provide a similar example but their solution is to leave users without phone signal and convince customers to buy their signal booster to compensate for their inability (or lack of interest for monetary purposes) to boost the connection.
As frustrating as it is to know that companies are holding back innovations we would find extremely useful, even vital, to the products or services that they sell, these tactics are a pitfall which every customer falls into and is certain to increase their revenues and profits.
This strategy is surely slowing down the rate of technological evolution?
Is this strategy is forcing consumers to subsidise the failings of of their product development and preventing them from producing the best products they are capable of?
Is this lazy profiteering preventing people from investing in their products?
I can tell you from my experience that it has. I now avoid the iPhones and Vodafone as I have realised that it doesn’t matter how whizzy or gold the phone is, if the battery is shot by 2pm or I’m stuck with no signal, it’s just deadweight and what use is that for me?
Let us know what you think in the comments.