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Study: Brand affects lifespan of smartphones

Study: Brand affects lifespan of smartphones
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Christian Boas

The negative impact of smartphones on the environment is often compounded by the relatively short active life of the equipment. However, when it comes to extending the life of these products, the brand name is more important than the repairability of the hardware. This is the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at Yale University, in which Apple devices lasted more than a year longer than their competitors.

Apple vs. Samsung
For their study, the researchers examined the performance during the resale of devices from the two largest smartphone makers in the US, Apple and Samsung. Both producers together control around 70 percent of the smartphone market. Around 500,000 ads of used Apple and Samsung smartphones, which were advertised on eBay, fell into the focus of the investigation.

For their comparison, the study authors extracted the resale prices and detailed device information and then calculated the percentage of the total value that each device had lost to resale based on its original selling price. While products are similar enough that manufacturers are even in an ongoing patent infringement lawsuit, Apple ranks higher in terms of brand value.

“I know people are bombarding phone companies for ‘planned obsolescence’ of their products, but in most cases, phones will be replaced if they still work well, so improving repairability will not necessarily help much,” study author Tamar Makov told moobilux .com.

Promote sustainability
After the evaluation, based on a number of variables including repairability, battery size, data capacity and screen size, the researchers found that Samsung smartphones lost their value more quickly and reached the end of their “economic life” after around 54.5 months. While Apple iPhones were faced with it only after about 67 months. iPhones therefore have a longer life of around one year, even if they have the same age, size and functionality as the products of the competition.

The results illustrate, according to Makov, the potential of using such intangible properties as the brand name to promote sustainable consumption. This concerns not only the market of smartphones, but also many other consumer goods.

“It’s not that technical specifications do not matter. But no matter what combination of specifications was included in our analysis, the brand name had a significant impact, “says Makov.

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