Can we cut down e-waste with upgradeable hardware?

I wish PC hardware could be reconfigured, directly through software, to prevent everyone having to upgrade every few years to support new chipsets, processors, memory architectures and buses.

In an article on the BBC’s website last November, the United Nations explained the extent of electronic waste:

United Nations Environment Programme estimates that up to 50 million tonnes of waste from discarded electronic goods is generated annually.

Cut down on upgrades and we cut down on e-waste.

Of course we have firmware upgrades, but this just affects the BIOS. I’m talking about the ability to reprogramme the micro code in an x86 processor, to switch on new functionality; programmable gate arrays that can be reconfigured through software to improve hardware performance.

I bet the hardware companies must think I’m mad. But I believe the gap between an older generation PC and the latest spec is getting smaller and smaller. Soon, PC buyers simply won’t see the value of an incremental upgrade.

Instead, why not shift to revenue based on services, where the PC hardware can be completely upgraded via the Internet. The user simply pays for the upgrade when they need it and there is no need to buy a completely new box. The only time a PC will need to be shipped back to the manufacturer is if a component fails and needs replacing.

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Super geschrieben und gut gemeint.