Expensive smart appliances, like TVs, washing machines, and dishwashers, are usually expected to last more than a decade. However, new research from the consumer group Which? has found that many stop working properly after just two years.
According to the research, some products are being “abandoned” by brands and the lack of software support means they stop working as they don’t get the proper updates.
Internet-connected products – also known as smart products – have extra features like voice controls and these can be used to power up, pause, switch off, or change the settings on an appliance via an app, smartwatch, or smart speaker.
Many products also come with apps that include other features, like identifying the most energy-efficient options for the appliance or automatically switching on at a certain time. They typically cost a lot more than the average appliance, and people assume they will last longer.
As smart devices get older, the risk of hacking rises and they need regular updates to function properly. Updates are also essential to recognize and fix any flaws in the security of the device. The report found that “hardly any brands even came close to matching their expected lifespan”.
Which? looked at a variety of products for its research including smart TVs, dishwashers, washing machines, smartphones, inkjet printers, smartwatches, and fitness trackers, and found that most didn’t live up to the expected lifespan with smart update policies.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It’s unfair for manufacturers to sell expensive products that should last for many years and then abandon them.
This means the product could lose the features that justified the hefty price tag, and potentially create a security risk or add to the electrical waste mountain if it has to be replaced.
Manufacturers must up their game and provide vital tech updates for their smart products for longer, otherwise, the government should consider further intervention in this area, including specifying a minimum number of years that these products have to be supported for.”