Why User Replaceable Batteries Don't Matter

Robert B, who is Astak’s Director of Bus. Devl., posted a blog entry about user replaceable batteries. I mostly agree with him that they are a benefit to consumer electronics. I mostly agree because I don’t see them as a positive in every case. I posted the following on his blog as a comment but I wanted to post it here as well. This is in response to the statement that reviewers don’t get the idea of user replaceable batteries.

It’s not that most reviewers do not get the idea of a user replaceable battery, it’s that it really isn’t a selling point to most people. There are three reasons I can think of as to why a user replaceable batter does not matter.

1) Sealed in causes the device to be cheaper to produce and thus cheaper for the consumer. This leads into point two.

2) The device is not seen as a long term investment. This is very reminiscent of how Apple positions the iPod by inciting consumers to upgrade to the latest release. In one or two years the device will be replaced with a newer model. As someone who is looking to buy my third ebook reader for the third year in a row I haven’t had to worry about the battery wearing out and needing to be replaced.

3) Worries of availability. While it is very easy to buy a spare battery now what about in 5 years from now. Chances are the product will not longer be produced as the company has moved on to better and cheaper technology. 5 years from now obtaining a replacement battery can easily be impossible or cost prohibitive.