This study aims to use empirical research to verify and to quantify planned obsolescence effects, and specifically to identify the role of user expectations. The products chosen for this study were portable devices such as laptops, notebooks, netbooks, and ultrabooks. The population researched were students of a university in southwestern Germany. A questionnaire with 29 single questions was handed out to a total of 215 students, with a return rate of 99%. Indicators measured covered the life span expectations of the computer, the life span of the previous computer model used, the time of repairs, the warranty period length, and the reason for replacing the last computer. The results indicate that about two thirds of the notebook users might claim to be subject to planned obsolescence due to a mismatch of expected and delivered use phase length, although from a merely technical viewpoint a sufficient notebook performance had been delivered.
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