Consumer Electronic Devices Only Have 3 Months Before Facing Obsolescence

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nbrowser

Yaknow...old tech still works wonders, still rockin an i7 950 overclocked with a boatload of RAM and SLI video cards, how did I make it even more snappy ? 240Gb SSD as the boot drive = System still goes like stink. My laptop, oh it's got to be about 4 years old or so C2D T6600 2.2Ghz, 8Gb DDR3, 18.4 inch screen, GeForce 240M dedicated graphics, again to make it speedier, installed a 120Gb SSD as the primary and moved it's original 320Gb platter to the secondary drive bay. Ain't gonna set benchmark records but I digress. Both machines still very capable and still serve me well to this day. Do I need to replace either ? Nah! SSDs in both make them feel like they are new each and every time I use either.

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Rebel_X

Long time reader, first time poster. :)

I agree that "old" doesn't signify unuseful. But what really worries me is the fact that tech companies can not honor their pledge to support older devices. This can happen to computers (software and hardware) or mobile devices. An example, Microsoft lowering the support for windows 8 until 2018 instead of 2022.

For instance, I still have the first Samsung Galaxy S4G that came in 2011, the support for the device was dead after 6 months much less than the warranty period which was 1 year. Which means not enjoying anything beyond the official Gingerbread despite the fact the phone can function flawlessly in Jelly Beans, which was proven by using a custom rom.

Newer graphic cards can end the drivers support for earlier cards, not because they are useless, but because it takes lots of money and time to do such thing. There is no use beating a dead horse.

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Keith E. Whisman

My circa 2009 core 2 duo processor equipped low end MSI laptop is still running strong and I've run windows vista, windows 7, windows 8 and then back to windows 7 with no issues and it's still pretty speedy and reliable. I've replaced the cooling fan and hard drive and that's it since new. It works great at managing my music and movie collections and browsing the web and doing the odd rip there and conversion here every once in a while. I'm really considering building a new PC for my daughter and getting myself a new spec'd out 27" iMac. I've been really impressed with my foray into the iPhone and now the iPad I think I'm starting to change. I actually put the apple sticker that came with my iPad on my car. I just subscribed to macLife. Someone help, I need to go to rehab fast before I spend thousands on the Apple tax.

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immersive

I went from a Pentium 4 Prescott in 2004, to Core 2 Duo E6600 in 2006, and then to a Core i7-2600k in 2011. The Prescott I just threw away the other day because it was setting in a box unused for the past few years. So the kids are using my E6600 with a GTX 275 as their gaming rig and I'm running an ATI 6950 with my 2600k. Even when I upgraded to the 2600k I really didn't need to. The old E6600 still ran everything I had on max settings just fine. I plan on running my 2600k until I see a 50% increase in speed before I upgrade again.

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Growup

That picture reminds me of my old e-machine back in '99. It had a Celeron processor and 512mb ram. I had to install a 3dfx Banshee in it to at least play half-life at 800x600...ahh memories.

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Arthur Dent

In my opinion, nothing becomes obsolete until it is no longer capable of fulfilling it's purpose. For example, lets say I built a gaming PC with 4x GTX titans, 2tb of RAID 0 SSD storage and an ivy-bridge E processor (obviously I wouldn't be able to afford a system like that in 100 years). Lets say that next year Nividia releases the successor to the GTX Titan, and Intel releases Haswell-E. That system would still be capable of doing everything it was intended to for years after I built it. Obviously most systems aren't that powerful, but a cheap core i5 laptop bought for web browsing and watching the occasional movie would be able to do that for many years to come.

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Renegade Knight

True enough.

I'm drooling over a 3 monitor uber quiet, power sipping, new gaming machine. However reality is the last one I built 3 years ago is doing great. My phone is a little slow but works well enough to where I don't need to upgrade and lose my "obsolete" unlimited plan.

I love tech, but I like the job it does even more. Not upgrading everthing all the time lets me do more with tech than if I had the lastest of fewer things because my money goes further.

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andrewc513

Mostly because people today have this crazy logical fallacy that "not the latest = obsolete". I live and breathe IT, and it's my trade, but my Galaxy S III running Cyanogenmod will suffice for a long while yet. My GTX 680 will be a beast for gaming for at least the next year.

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Arthur Dent

Exactly! In the case of a gaming machine, it only becomes obsolete when it isn't capable of running new games at decent framerates. With that in mind, the GTX 680 will probably last another 3-4 years, if you'r willing to turn the settings down on more demanding games.

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ApathyCurve

I bought my Droid RAZR as soon as it hit shelves. Four months later they released the RAZR MAXX. Bastards. Oh, well... it's been a good phone for the most part.

I have 'solved' this problem with PCs by getting eighteen months behind the curve and staying there. It's simply not worth the ridiculous premium to build on the bleeding edge.

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Scatter

I don't think that obsolete is the right word. If I purchase a top of the line PC or video card and then a new one comes out a week later it doesn't make mine obsolete. Mine may not be the most powerful but it will certainly perform it's job just fine for well more than three months later.

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praetor_alpha

It seems that everyone thinks that since a faster video card (or other component/gadget) came out, that the one they have is slower. With few exceptions, you can get X in benchmark Y on hardware Z forever.

I bought (and got screwed by) one of the first Sandy Bridge i7s. I don't intend to upgrade it for another year or two.

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Paul_Lilly

Valid point, though the word choice was more in relation to the supplier side of things and how quickly newer products are coming out. According to Digitimes, they used to have a good six months to make money off of a new product, but for various reasons, these recently purchased gadgets now face obsolescence (in retail) after just three months.

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Renegade Knight

Fair point. The market is all about what's selling now. Not what we all got 2 years ago even though it's working fine.

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John Pombrio

Yeah, it shelf life that is in trouble. Another real issue to too much choice. This phone has these specs, that phone has those specs. One spec might be close to the other. Then there are the manufacturers that release several sets in succession, all a little better than the other phone.

This issue will shake out as the smaller dealers go under and less people buy more than one of a device. remember how many PC vendors there use to be? Graphics cards companies? This will happen with smartphones and tablets. I have three different e-book readers from different vendors. Now I only buy Kindles. Things will shake out once the bling is gone.

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methuselah

The picture you guys found for the article is classic!

Where did you find it?

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praetor_alpha

The exclamation marks keep the obsolescence away.

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Paul_Lilly

Dug it up from Flickr.

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LatiosXT

The way I define obsolescence is if your current machine or part can't do something a newer part could that you need or want and how desirable it is.

Otherwise, couldn't we sue pretty much every electronics manufacturer for selling "obsolete" parts if we define obsolescence as "it has a better version"?

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MahoneyOH

Even though there is always a newer device available for purchase, this does not imply that the device or component you just bought is no longer useful, i.e., obsolete. Whether electronics or automobiles, newer doesn't negate the usefulness of existing devices.

If the device is still reliable and performs the functions you want from it in a timely fashion, then I think it's okay to step away from the technology treadmill.

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Paul_Lilly

I agree, though this is more slanted to the supplier side, in which the definition of obsolete better applies. Because new products are coming out at such a rapid pace these days, vendors have just a few months to cash in on them before they're replaced by something newer. Instead of having six months to move a new product, vendors now have (on average) about three months. After that, they become obsolete in terms of retail, forcing vendors to mark down prices to rid themselves of unsold inventory. To avoid that, they're taking on shorter term contracts from their suppliers.

On the consumer side, it really depends on the product. Any recently made CE device should still be useful after three months, though it's unfortunate when the manufacturer abandons supporting the device. It's especially noticeable in smartphones, where a slightly older model may never receive a software update because the manufacturer's devoting its resources to a newer product.

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iheartpcs

It's a lovely little scam, isn't it?

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dragonfang18

I feel like its more than just a scam, this practice also produces a lot of e-waste.

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PCWolf

My sister had an E-Machines with that stupid "Never obsolete" sticker on it. Now, you cant even surf the Web on that 400Mhz Dinosaur. I wonder if I should sue E-Machines for the blatant lie.

Also, this hoopla about Carriers implementing a program that lets us Upgrade once a year is OLD!!! We used to be able to Upgrade our phones once a year with a Subsidized new Phone every year once our Contract was completed, but then carriers got Greedy & started the 2 Year thing. Now they are going back to One Year. But now, Carriers like T-Mobile will not subsidize your new phone, but you are going to pay more than retail for it.

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Renegade Knight

My first computer was a Kaypro with a special design that let you put in new CPU's on a sub board as they came out. I was sold on the never obsolute design. It didn't last.

At least the OEM's don't tell us that anymore.