• Reversing the
    obsolescence trend

Toughbook and Toughpad - reversing the obsolescence trend

Citing the Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1986, Wikipedia describes planned obsolescence as:

“A policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again.”

So why is it becoming such a commonly heard phrase in the world of mobile computing today? The answer lies in both the speed of change in computing technology and the increasing proliferation of mobile devices available to the modern user.

Take tablets, for example. More and more popular in both consumer and professional markets, the evidence of planned or ‘built-in’ obsolescence in the design and manufacture of many leading tablets is all too clear. Batteries are often sealed within the unit, meaning the user is unable to replace them once they’ve reached their planned lifespan. Screens are bonded, so again become unreplaceable by the user. And internal components are fixed within the device, so can’t be upgraded when required or desired.

Damaging to business and the planet
This inability to service, maintain or upgrade devices during their lifecycle leads to harmful waste – in terms of both cost and materials. The user has to replace an entire device as it becomes obsolete, incurring more financial outlay and the device itself is added to the ever-growing mountains of technological landfill. So planned obsolescence becomes damaging to the financial prospects of many businesses AND damaging to the planet.

There are exceptions to this trend, however. Rugged laptops and tablets, such as those in Panasonic’s Toughbook and Toughpad ranges, are designed to last significantly longer than their non-rugged competitors and achieve far lower failure rates. Similarly, Toughbook and Toughpad devices include user-replaceable batteries and other features and components that are backwards-compatible with previous models.

Reduced obsolescence means reduced cost of ownership
So that means laptops and tablets with longer lifecycles, that are easier to maintain, that fail far less frequently and don’t become obsolete within a year or two. Which adds up to solutions that reduce total cost of ownership, that avoid constant headaches for IT departments who need to replace entire fleets of devices on a constant basis, and solutions that are more kind to the environment.