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My vent-based phone holder started to give way on me recently. I was happy with it for a few weeks after purchasing it before the rubbery gripper started to deform, likely from the heat coming out of the vent. The result was an occasional violent undocking of the phone, sometimes hitting the windshield wipers and turning them it. It wasn’t good and it needed a fix.

I’ve now given up on the vent and the suction phone holders. The suction holders are just as bad. They can detach easily, especially in a hot car. The suction pads, after falling on the floor, can further lose adhesion after being covered with dust. They also require a smooth surface and many dash surfaces are now textured. Otherwise, mounting on the windshield can obstruct views or have a strange angle.

The vent mounting issue goes beyond the phone dismounting. It can lead to phone overheating, especially when you’re warming up the car in the winter time. This can cause the phone to reset or worse, lead to damage on the phone, and more distraction while driving.

My hope is that this new sticker based option will using a two sided specialty tape to attach a plastic arm. The arm can then snap into a phone holder.So far, the solution is much stronger and at least doesn’t look like it’s going to fail anytime soon. The fall back would be to affix the arm to the dashboard in some other means.

I’m sure there’s some metaphor to other areas of life here. Maybe there are a set of products that work in certain circumstances but I can imagine that in many designs, there’s eventually a huge heap in a landfill because of shorter term design thinking.

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