From Planned Obsolescence to the Circular Economy in the Smartphone Industry: an evolution of strategies by looking into product architecture and product features

Mário Barros, Eric Dimla

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Abstrakt

Planned obsolescence can artificially increase sales by stimulating desire or perceived need. This can be done in many ways and some companies are releasing newer models sooner than necessary or engineering the product to fail after a certain amount of use. In recent years, we have observed a change in the pattern of planned obsolescence strategies employed by technological companies,
shifting from aesthetic to technological obsolescence. The reaction to this model comes from social enterprises and grassroots movements addressing the circular economy and repairability. This paper illustrates these relationships in context, taking the mobile phone industry as a case study. We focus on product architecture and product features, as a reference point to discuss the embodiment of strategies, and the degree of control the consumer is given for repairing the product. Using netnography as a method to collect data in a digital-mediated environment, this paper highlights how planned obsolescence strategies are embedded in product characteristics and summarises their evolution. It concludes by opposing planned obsolescence strategies to circular economy principles to discuss more sustainable pathways for the smartphone industry.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelProceedings of the Design Society
Antal sider10
Publikationsdatoaug. 2021
Sider1607-1616
ISBN (Elektronisk)2732-527X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2021

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