in tech •  last year

 Can you remember the first cell phone you had and the insanely sweet sensation it brought you?

 It must have felt good to know that you do not have to explain to everyone in your family that the Harry that called every evening is just a friend and it must have been so pleasing to know that you didn’t have to look over your shoulders to be sure no one was listening on your conversation by picking up the extension. 

Cell phones have become a very big part of our lives that I am not even sure how we functioned outside it. The early models had nothing close to the sleekness that even the low-end phones of this era possess. Writing about this now, I remember the Nokia 3310 I used to have. It fell down a thousand and one times but was still functional. Those early models were there to get the work of connecting with loved ones done. They came with replaceable parts and if they ever fell in water, all that was needed was a bowl of rice to dip them in or for one to open the panels for them to be aired/dried out. 

We never had to bother about upgrades that will reduce their functionality and the market was saner than it is now. The phone companies were not shipping out newer models bi-weekly(ok, I exaggerated) .  One would think that the saturation of the market with all sorts of advanced tech would bring with it even more liberation but no. the phone companies have devised very sneaky means of getting us hooked and making us part with our hard-earned money. They fed our vanity. It started with radios,then music players to cameras and hundreds of apps we may never find use for.   The phones became more delicate and the designs were more ambitious, we raved about every new feature but we are the losers in the long run. 

We lose and the earth loses even more.  Our control over these small devices have slowly been arrested.   


I would explain. I know I sound like I am about to reveal the secrets of the illuminati but it really isn’t that deep.;)

 Ever heard of the term planned obsolescence? Well, if you haven’t, do you recall the case of HP and expired cartridges and How your cartridge starts to malfunction after a period of time due to some programming done by HP. 

Well, I think we are on the same wave with phone manufacturers. The incessant production of newer and upgraded models makes us despise the old one we have. Do not even get me started on the fragile frames. An unintended drop can cost you hundreds of dollars. The fragile beauties that we carry about are not made for the happily ever after. The plot is even thicker now considering the price of repairs. A screen replacement can be a little shy of a new replacement making the later option more desirable. 

 Apple apologised the other day to its customers for releasing software that slowdown the performance of its older models. Devious apple. They explained however that it is a process that helps to elongate the life span of the old device. We hear you Apple but I dare say SNEAKY.

 No doubt there has been a lot of improvement to these devices but it is all part of the plan. I was in New York some time ago and I mistakenly dropped my phone, I was told that the screen replacement would cost me about $300. Of course, I decided getting a new one was a better option.

 In many African and Asian countries, you may get cheaper repairs but the parts sold parts used in the repairs pale in comparison to the factory fitted parts. I was at a press conference for the unveiling of one of the fast-rising Chinese phone brands. After the presentation, the brand rep reinforced the need to use original batteries. Surprisingly many people in the audience lamented not having access to the brand’s original accessories. This inaccessibility to accessories such as original chargers lead to the phone batteries becoming useless and ultimately affecting the functionality of the device. The rep stuttered through his explanation of why that may have happened but then again...planned obsolescence.  

 It is no surprise that phone companies have kicked against the legislation for the Right To Repair in the U.S, it has become apparent that these flaws are intended. It is a gimmick to keep us all faithful for a very long time.

 Quick facts, do you know that the average cell phone has a lifespan of 21months. 

How many times have you changed your device in the past five years? 

With every new model we welcome with open arms, I think we have slowly given up our rights to repair. It wouldn’t be long before I start to feel the need to let go of this Galaxy S8. It is the curse of the new century, the conviction that new and more is better. 

To be fair, there are many manufacturers that are guilty of this. it isn’t your fault that you suddenly feel the need to buy an upgraded model of your car. It is all a plan that is working too well.  

In all these, I want for you to sincerely ask what about the earth?         

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