The fact of obsolescence rests uncomfortably on our industry.
The classic prevailing example of obsolescence is of course the computer industry, where our old friend Moore's law has dictated the doubling of hardware capacity every two years.
Some of you may have read the Frederick Pohl novella "The Midas Plague" from 1954 wherin it actually becomes a crime not to consume items that are over produced by the robotised economy and wealth is measured by how little one is obliged to consume. There is a particular scene where the home inspector visits and destroys the much loved old family petrol car that the heroes thought was protected by classic status but had unfortunately been recategorised (as the owner of a 1973 Rover P5 one feels particular horror at this scenario ...)
I have noticed that some of our most wealthy clients have abandoned the mobile phone except for most immediate family and as such have removed themselves from the treadmill of the wireless communication boom. These same people appear to have a tendancy to drive immaculate old motor vehicles and live in houses that are 19th century in original build ( in the UK they would no doubt be living in something Elizabethan ...)
Could it be that the real aristocracy has already fullfilled Mr Pohls future visualisation and the rest of us aredoomed to endlessly consume to keep the wheels of the economy turning?
So do the rich people really support the poor through their consumption as per the Republican/Thacherite ideal? .. Alas not any more ... It seems that particular duty has fallen on the common people thus to consume thence to create work in the manufacturing and service sectors... in the meantime the fiscally fortunate just buy something once that the rest of us buy again and again.
So whilst on the one hand CE sales are won or lost around the supposed "future proofness" of a particular device , on the other; we the resellers are clearly reliant on new products being released that cause consumers to purchase a device in a particular category several times over ... we seem to be inexorably falling into Mr Pohl's nightmare scenario.
Where is the 1949 Volvo of the CE product embolism ... wheras the apposal items are as much as five or ten multiples cycle turnover for the same time in a household context, we have other items that are electronic but may persist in a household for 25 years or more.
An extreme example of product persistance that one may find in a rural Australian home would be a bakelite 40's radio still good for ABC AM. However they have no real bandwidth of operation.
One particular client of CAV has a set of Wharfedale sand loaded loudspeakers from the 1950's powered by Quad amplification. This is the Boeing B52 of devices that has maintained a duty cycle into 60 year plus territory with viable and sweet musical performance and is still being used for DVD and Digital Music playback today.
It does seem that amplifiers and speakers have the potential for real domestic longevity if bought carefully.
Lets score some kit on the basis of how long it could last the typical human market animal and put some numbers on some brands and see which kit that you buy has the longest in home duty cycle of the game ...
So for example: Quad ... the English veritas of music ... 9/10 ... (How many years have you owned that for?)
Bryston ... This Canadian companies Amplifiers have an unprecedented 20 year warranty
Cyrus ... the same magnesium alloy chassis for nearly 20 years now ... a fanatics favourite.
If for example you were the owner of an Arcam AV9 or Marantz AV600 srround preamp from 15 years ago, you would then be currently kitted to run the latest Blu Ray Audio decoding through the systems.
And as for Samsung ... the Korean dictatorship of Consumer Electronics ... 1/10 ... (I'm sorry Sir, That's last nights software ... )Thats not to say that Quad is good and Samsung is bad by the way ...
Samsung have become one of the technological drivers of our planet ... (how did it happen that they exist within artillery range of the war that never finished on the 38th Parallel?)
Samsung have managed to grow promote and manufacture panels beyond the ken of mere Westerners. They and Japan own the true heritage of our good Lord the LCD Panel.
We must ask how well companies devise their particular life cycle strategies .... they presumably design phones to last a max of 18 months before disposal. Perhaps it would be better to construct them from truly predictable degradeable materials such as Papier Mache laced with bacteria that are activated when the packageing is opened so as to ensure compliance with a use by date.
So we are going to end up as a thin layer of rock characterised by a layer of Trilobitic compressed mobile phones ...
How many times should we the people be expected to buy the same fridge/motor car/radios over and over again?