Appliances such as washing machines or televisions run the risk of losing their features and functionality or posing a security risk after just two years, as manufacturers fail to provide vital technology updates.
Consumer organization Which? He looked at popular smart TVs, dishwashers, washing machines, smartphones, inkjet printers, smartwatches and fitness trackers and found that almost no brand comes close to meeting their expected lifespan with their smart update policies.
For example, smart dishwashers cost around £300 more on average than conventional dishwashers (average £455 versus £746 on average). Smart models offer remote control using an app; so people can start, pause and stop washing using their smartphone, tablet, Alexa or Google Assistant. The app can determine the most suitable program for the dishes and select water and energy efficient washing programs.
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However, when the product loses software support from the manufacturer, these smart features are compromised and the risk of online hacking increases. LG dishwashers may lose support just two years after they’re on the market, even though dishwashers have an estimated lifespan of 13 years.
Similarly, LG’s smart TVs and washing machines are only supported with a two-year warranty after launch. That’s despite the estimated lifetimes of TVs and washing machines being around seven years and 11 years, respectively. Who did LG say? He said his TVs could receive support for critical vulnerabilities for up to five years.
Which? It also found that Sony offers only two years of guaranteed support for its smart TVs from launch, while Samsung offers three years for its smart TVs. Although inkjet printers have an estimated lifespan of 13 years, HP only warrants three years of support for its smart printers.
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.
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“Manufacturers must step up their game and provide longer-term 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.”
Which? 119 brands applied for hundreds of smart device products in 20 different categories, and as of November 2022, only half (49%) responded with clear information about their support period. Major brands like AEG, Apple, Epson, Hoover and Whirlpool failed to respond with guaranteed update support times.
Some companies such as Hisense, which has supported smart TVs for 10 years, and Miele, which has supported smart dishwashers and washing machines for 10 years.
Watch: Your Smart TV may be vulnerable to hacking