Smart devices risk losing functionality in as little as two years – Which?

A consumer group has warned that “smart” devices such as TVs and washing machines risk losing their features and functionality after as little as two years, as manufacturers fail to provide vital updates.

Which? He said his research has found that devices that can be expected to last more than a decade, such as dishwashers and inkjet printers, can quickly stop working as marketed or pose hacking risks as “smart features” stop working as intended.

With their smart update policies, “almost no brand comes close to meeting expected lifespan”, others say Which? when asked to clarify the duration of support.

Which? It reached approximately 119 brands in hundreds of smart device products in 20 categories.

As of November last year, only 49% responded with clear information about support periods.

In the case of dishwashers, a “smart” option can cost around £300 more on average than a traditional option, but offers remote control using an app – allowing homeowners to use their smartphone, tablet, Alexa or Google Assistant. The app can also determine the most suitable program for the dishes and select water and energy efficient washing programs.

However, when the product loses manufacturer software support, the smart features are compromised and the risk of online hacking increases.

Which? It found that while dishwashers have an estimated lifespan of 13 years, LG dishwashers can lose support just two years after launch, while LG’s smart TVs and washing machines alike only have two years of warranty support after launch.

Sony offered only two years of guaranteed support for its smart TVs from launch, while Samsung provided three years of support. I said.

Although inkjet printers have an estimated lifespan of 13 years, HP has only guaranteed three years of support for its smart printers.

Which? He noted that Hisense has supported smart TVs for 10 years and Miele has supported smart dishwashers and washing machines for 10 years.

Rocio Concha, Which? The director of policy and advocacy said: “It’s unfair for manufacturers to sell expensive products that are supposed to last for many years and then abandon them.

“This means that the product may lose the properties that justify its high price tag and potentially pose a safety risk or increase the mountain of electrical waste if it needs to be replaced.

“Manufacturers must up their game and provide longer vital technology updates for their smart products, otherwise the Government should consider further intervention in this area, including setting the minimum number of years these products must be supported.”

What did Samsung say? It has supported TVs for at least three years from its launch and said it will ensure it fully complies with the new law on product safety and telecommunications infrastructure.

Sony said: “Sony provides new software updates every two years; The latest software version released can be used for a period of eight years after end-of-life.”

LG confirmed it’s guaranteed support for two years, but added that the TVs will be “supported by firmware security updates for up to five years from launch.”

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