Over the past decade, an increasing number of appliances have offered internet connectivity, allowing users to remotely control them via a mobile device, or engineers to remotely diagnose problems. Some devices like Samsung's Smart Fridge Freezers include large touchscreen displays, allowing users to do tasks that would otherwise be performed on a smartphone or computer.
These devices are, obviously, vastly more expensive. A smart fridge typically costs £855 more than one without a Wi-Fi chip whirring inside. Smart dishwashers are £259 more on average, while smart tumble driers (don't laugh, they're a thing) command a premium of £190.
For consumers, that ambiguous (if not outright short) lifespan raises the possibility they could be forced to replace their expensive white goods before they otherwise would. According to the consumer watchdog, fridge-freezers typically last 11 years.
If a manufacturer decides to withdraw software support, or switch off central servers, users could find themselves with a big, frosty brick in their kitchen.