Thursday 4 April 2024

The consumer electronics industry is broken, says expert

In this week’s Net Hero Podcast, we spoke to the Founder of modular laptops company, Framework, who said that the electronics industry is inaccessible to its consumers
The consumer electronics industry is broken, says expert

You shouldn’t have to replace your electronics every few years.

This is what the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of modular laptops company, Framework, told us in this week’s Net Hero Podcast.

‘We've got all these companies that are building products that are not especially friendly to their end users and that are pretty damaging to the environment.

‘[I’m] increasingly seeing the computer industry broadly move away from that kind of natural place where these things were modular, upgradable and repairable to a place where they are glued together and soldered in a way that they are no longer accessible.

‘It’s [also] this idea of ownership that if you’re buying a product as a consumer, that should be your product, you should be able to use it for as long as you’d like to and be able to make it do the things that you want it to do rather than being restricted by the company that made the product.

‘It creates a downward spiral, that feedback loop of companies building less successful products and consumers expecting less accessible products.’

However, Nirav told us that consumers are starting to reject wasteful products.

‘One pretty promising thing that we are seeing is that Generation Z and younger consumers especially are actually rejecting the status quo.

‘But of course, we're back in that chicken and egg feedback loop – they can reject the status quo but if there aren’t alternative computers available to them, then they’re stuck with what’s out there.

‘But you can see in other categories like apparel or consumer packaged goods, where there are quite a few brands coming in with more environmentally friendly, less anti-consumer ethos and a younger audience does gravitate towards those.’

Nirav told us that Framework hopes to make the electronics industry more sustainable.

‘Our general philosophy is that we want to make products that last twice as long and not just last like it's purely functional for twice as long.

‘We actually want the end user to have a good experience for the entire span of time so they’re not suffering for the last few years with a bunch of broken stuff.

‘The processor in the mainboard and the main chips around it are the ones that require the most energy consumption during the manufacturing process.

‘So we’ve designed the main board to be functional as its own standalone computer outside the laptop and we’ve streamlined the process where if the consumer doesn’t want the mainboard anymore, they can send it to some other consumer or business.

‘We’ve created an ecosystem and a marketplace around our products so that it's not just use it, wear it out and then throw it away, it's use it, repair it, upgrade it and then pass it on to someone else to use.’

Watch the full episode below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.


Written by

Garima Satija

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