Earth resources may not be enough for future smartphones

The European Commission, the highest executive body of the European Union, believes that the Earth's resources in the near future may not be enough for the production of smartphones, tablets and laptops due to the high dynamics of population growth. The EC will oblige manufacturers to support smartphones for longer, which means software updates, service support and the release of components. Specific dates have not yet been named, but earlier a similar restriction was introduced for manufacturers of TV, computers and other equipment – they were obliged to support the devices for 10 years.

Earth resources may not be enough for future smartphones

The European Union may oblige smartphone manufacturers to maintain their devices for longer, so as not to provoke a resource crisis on Earth

Probably, with smartphones, tablets and laptops there will be no such strict restrictions, however, most likely, in the near future we will expect a longer period of software support. Manufacturers can be required to release security updates for 5 years, and major updates Android will arrive on smartphones within 3-4 years. We have already written a material in which we reviewed the shortcomings of the S20 Ultra, the main one is the too short support period.

Resource crisis can be a problem

The take, do, use, throw out linear growth model has reached its limits. With the growing population of the planet and increased consumption, the linear model is pushing us closer and closer to a resource crisis. The only way to prevent the problem is to separate economic growth from resource use.

In simple words, the EU wants the economic growth of companies not to depend on how many devices they release, because the more devices, the more resources are needed for their production. Thus, most likely, in the future, manufacturers will offer us smartphones by subscription – when the user will pay a certain amount every month for support and use of the device. This will allow manufacturers to support phones for longer and not worry about economic growth, because in this case, profit will not directly depend on the number of phones sold. Looking for a software update or replacement? Pay! This is a good business model that can solve the problem.

The EU wants to introduce the term 'product as a service' into the smartphone market, when the manufacturer is responsible for the devices it sells and does not lose ownership of the device.

This will allow after some time the user to hand over the smartphone to the manufacturer and receive a new model, at the same time the manufacturer will be able to use the materials of the old phone to produce a new model.

European Commission Principles on Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops

  • Improving the indicators of persistence, reuse, renewal and recovery of the product, solving the problem of the presence of hazardous chemicals in the product, as well as improving energy and resource efficiency
  • Increasing the amount of recyclable materials in products without compromising performance and safety
  • Ensuring the possibility of recovery and high-quality processing of products
  • Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from production
  • Preventing premature device obsolescence

Thus, in the future, most likely, we will no longer be able to buy smartphones for a certain amount and do whatever we want with them. Telephones are, first of all, an important resource, and in Europe they want to control the use of these resources so that in the future there will be no crisis in production due to lack of materials.

Consumers can get a certain benefit from this situation – long-term support, which implies the release of software updates and the ability to easily find parts for repairing a phone that is, for example, 5-7 years old.

How do you feel about the new economic plan of the European Union? I propose to discuss this topic in our Telegram chat. We also have a cool channel in Yandex.Zen, where unique materials often appear.

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