Electronics are not like leather gloves.
They don’t age well, especially given how many things can cause something to stop working. When we were working on hardware, we started to learn about how many things can cause a device to fail. I wrote a bit more about this in Why Do IoT Devices Die?.
What made me think about this is the slow demise of another headset. I noticed the connector starting to fray. The plastic was torn and it exposed the copper wiring. In an effort to preserve the wire, I resorted to Sugru.
Sugru is a mouldable glue that comes in different colors. It has the consistency of play dough but hardens about 30 minutes after exposure to air. I’ve used rescued a few headsets from demise after they broke off.
Thinking about aging electronics, I look at devices like Lamborghini branded phones (or diamond encrusted electronics) and even Apple Watches and think about their two year lifespan. Perhaps they’re meant for collectors who want to put these in displays after they’re deprecated.
For a device to age well, there seems to be a few criteria:
- It needs to be simple.
- It should be usable every day
- It should still work when services for it have stopped being supported
- It should look good even after a long time
- It should have its own style that is not dependant on the style of the time it was made
- It needs to have few or no moving parts.
- Any component that will be yanked or subject to ongoing stress needs to be reinforced
Analog watches can remain in fashion for the reasons above. Old speakers and speaker drivers can also continue to age well and sound great. The Pebble Watch (the original or Pebble 2) holds up to this. It’s similar, can function even when the company’s assets have been sold.