Phones & Our Sense of Value

by jeremy on March 14, 2007

Jan Chipchase, who has to have one of the coolest jobs on the planet, points out that as phones get cheaper — or at least appear to, as they are sold for very little as part of a service package — so does our perception of their value. Living in a country where you buy the phone yourself, I find attitudes to phones in places like the U.S. and UK startlingly cavalier, as if the device is unimportant and easily replaceable. Which I guess it is. For me, losing my Treo would be deeply, deeply painful.

But the gulf between sticker cost and actual cost hides something deeper than a lighter wallet. Like the humble biro it changes our perception of what it means to ‘own’ a product and may well have significant impact on the speed at which the product ends up reaching the end of its life as a functional object, of being discarded.

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