A UK-based consumer rights group has warned that smart devices could stop working prematurely after just two years without software updates. It reached out to 119 brands and less than half responded, but many of them said they offer only two or three years of updates before abandoning a product. Obviously, these are products like washing machines, TVs, dishwashers, etc. – things you would normally expect to last a decade. To add insult to injury, these smart variants can cost hundreds of pounds more.
While missing out on feature updates after a few years may not seem too bad to users, the lack of updates also includes security updates which means devices become vulnerable to hackers. which one? says that brands also don’t guarantee the longevity of product updates either, leaving consumers in the dark about when they’ll need to upgrade in many cases.
Which of the answers? In response to queries, LG said its dishwashers, smart TVs and washing machines get guaranteed updates for two years, Sony TV updates for two years and Samsung TVs for three years. Updates v. HP said its smart printers are supported for three years, although an inkjet printer has a life expectancy of 13 years.
Not all brands fail to provide updates though. Hisense said its smart TVs get updates for ten years, while Miele also supports dishwashers and washing machines for a decade. As consumers learn which brands support their devices longer, it may force other companies to provide longer support for their devices. which one? It also suggested that the government should intervene in this area if brands do not provide better support.
“It is unfair for manufacturers to sell expensive products that last for many years and then abandon them,” Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy said. “This means the product may lose the features that justify the hefty price tag and potentially create a security risk or add to a mountain of electrical waste if it has to be replaced.”
If you are thinking of buying any smart device, which one? Recommend that you check manufacturer update policies before purchasing. If you want to save money by buying second hand, which one? It also urges you to make sure you’re not buying any devices that are already out of support.
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