Yesterday my two year old mobile phone suddenly decided not to make noises anymore. And no, it wasn’t on silent – it simply no longer rings out loud, no matter how I set the volume or ring tones or profiles and so on. Interesting, then, that the Oslo courts have just decided that mobile phones should last for five years, like fridges and washing machines, and that the mobile phone producers are responsible for fixing them for that long too, so long as the customer wasn’t irresponsible in her use of the device.

Maybe I won’t be buying a new phone after all 🙂

5 thoughts on “mobile phones should last for five years

  1. Mark Bernstein

    That seems an arbitrary ruling that’s bound to have deleterious effects.

    First, Moore’s Law means that 5-year-old phone will be dreadfully obsolete. If carriers need to engineer phones and networks in order to support 3 generations of Moore’s Law, then you’ll always be well behind the state of the art.

    Second, cell phones aren’t major appliances. You carry them around. You drop them. You CAN build them to last, or you can build them to be light, or you can build them to be inexpensive. Choose two: you can’t have all three.

  2. Thomas

    You would expect something you paid 200-500 US$ for to last more than two years?

    I know we live in a use and throw society but this is certainly an environmentally unfriendly policy that it should be a good thing to slow down.

    I just read about how mobile phones now are a major risk to the environment because they are not disposed of in a manner that recycles and takes care of the dangerous substances in the phone. I would say that anything that makes phones last longer and makes phonemakers more responsible are a good thing.

  3. Jill

    I sort of agree, Mark, that phones are not much like fridges in that you do carry them around, but whether they’re obsolete or not entirely depends on what you want to use it for – if you simply want to make calls and send SMSes a five year old phone is absolutely fine – and I certainly want to use my phone for more than two years.

    On the other hand, I would assume this also should mean that cameras and ipods and so on would be expected to last for more than two years too?

  4. Martin

    In general I think that it’s just silly that objects aren’t built to last. When I
    lived in the US when I was 14, we bought this can opener. It was big, cost almost nothing, and made out of plastic and it broke after two weeks (as did everything we bought at K-Mart). My parents have had another can opener for the past forty years (and I actually think they inherited it. ). It’s a slab of metal with a sort of knife blade attached. It requires precisely the same amount of force as any other kind, and opens cans faster, most of the time. And it lasts for forty years. Why is this model not the leading model? Because it is fairly inexpensive, and you never have to buy one again.

    Personally, I’d pay more for the model that lasts forever.

    I know you can’t make technology last that long, but I get upset every time my stuff breaks after three years, and everyone says that I should have expected it. I really shouldn’t. People shouldn’t need to upgrade every 2 years, if nothing else then because it’s unenviromental, and Moore’s law will just have to deal with it. Unless we can find some way of having stable, solid casings for technology, and then changing the contents for it every now and then. Gibson, as always, had a thing about this in Idoru. That’s one of the reasons I like the iPod, by the way.
    But I still have the distinct feeling that’s not going to last more than another year (it’s third).

  5. Martin

    I meant *information* technology.

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