Smart appliances could stop working after two years, says Which? – BBC

Smart appliances could stop working properly after just two years because manufacturers are failing to provide tech updates, according to Which?.
Research by the consumer champion found products like expensive dishwashers, TVs, and washing machines – which might be expected to last more than a decade – are "being abandoned" by brands.
A lack of software support from firms means devices do not get updated.
The older they get, the risk of online hacking also increases, Which? says.
It found that "hardly any brands even came close to matching their expected lifespan" with their smart update policies, while others failed to respond when they were asked to clarify the length of support.
Products' operating systems need updates, because if support ends, then their functionality cannot improve.
The updates also include security patches, which can fix flaws if any come to light.
Traditionally smart – or internet-connected – products bring enhanced features including options like voice controls.
For example, you can power up or pause a machine with an app, on a smartwatch, or by using a smart speaker.
Apps can determine, say, the most suitable cycle for a dishwasher and choose one to buy that is water and energy efficient. It can also recognise how many dishwasher tablets you have left and automatically reorder more when you are running low.
According to Which?, these types of appliances cost almost £300 more than average ones and the general expectation is that they will last longer.
Which? looked at popular smart TVs, dishwashers, washing machines, smartphones, inkjet printers, smartwatches and fitness trackers. It found that hardly any brands even came close to matching their expected lifespan with their smart update policies.
A total of 119 brands were approached about hundreds of products, across 20 different categories, and, as of November 2022, only half (49%) had replied with clear information on length of support periods.
Of those who did reply:
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: "It's unfair for manufacturers to sell expensive products that should last for many years and then abandon them.
"This means the product could lose the features that justified the hefty price tag, and potentially create a security risk or add to the electrical waste mountain if it has to be replaced.
"Manufacturers must up their game and provide vital tech updates for their smart products for longer, otherwise the government should consider further intervention in this area, including specifying a minimum number of years that these products have to be supported for."
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