How Successful Leaders Keep Their Hardware Products Relevant

Speck Design
3 min readJun 10, 2024


In today’s fast-paced tech landscape, keeping hardware products relevant is a formidable challenge. Successful leaders, however, have found ways to navigate technological obsolescence by strategically planning for future updates and deeply understanding their users’ needs. At Speck Design, we’ve seen firsthand how foresight, flexibility, and a user-centric approach can ensure that products not only survive but thrive in an ever-changing market.

They Integrate the Latest Technologies

One key strategy for avoiding obsolescence is integrating the latest technologies in a way that allows for future updates. This means planning for potential upgrades by designing a product roadmap. For instance, if a base model currently lacks a camera but might include one in future iterations, ensuring the board design can incorporate a camera and that the machined parts have room for that upgrade is essential.

This foresight helps extend the product’s lifecycle and keeps it competitive. Planning for future technology integration also involves considering elements like connectivity, sensors, and emerging tech trends. By anticipating future advancements, you can create a product foundation that adapts seamlessly as new components become available.

They Plan for the Unknown

Planning for future updates involves building a flexible architecture. This means creating hardware that can accommodate software updates and new technological integrations without significant modifications. Over-the-air (OTA) updates, for example, enable remote software upgrades, ensuring your hardware can receive the latest features and security enhancements without needing physical changes.

Taking a page from Tesla, their products’ longevity is measured in decades, not years. We are seeing this more often in products with traditionally shorter lifespans. By embracing a forward-thinking approach, products can remain relevant and functional well beyond their initial release.

They Understand User Needs

Nothing shortens a product’s lifespan quicker than discovering unmet user needs post-launch. Through in-depth user research, ethnographic studies, and observational research, we help our clients truly understand their users. Observing how users interact with low-fidelity prototypes can reveal insights into future use cases that might not have been initially understood.

One of the biggest mistakes we see is leaders assuming they completely understand their users without conducting adequate research and observations throughout the process. It’s essential to continuously engage with users, gathering feedback at every stage of the design and development process. This ongoing dialogue ensures that the final product aligns with user expectations and adapts to their evolving needs.

They Build Partnerships with Manufacturers and Component Suppliers

Creating partnerships with manufacturers or component suppliers is crucial for future-proofing hardware products. Open communication with these partners allows you to design your product with an understanding of what future technology they will be releasing and how long their current technology will be available.

For instance, if your product utilizes a specific chip, you need to ensure that chip will be manufactured for the necessary duration. Understanding future upgrades from your suppliers can guide your company’s planning, ensuring that your product remains compatible with the latest advancements.


Navigating technological obsolescence requires a proactive approach that integrates the latest technologies and plans for future updates. By adopting modular design, incorporating smart features, staying updated with industry trends, and learning from successful leaders, companies can keep their hardware products relevant and competitive.

At Speck Design, we specialize in creating innovative, future-proof hardware products that meet evolving consumer needs. Let us help you design products that stand the test of time. Reach out to Speck Design. Let’s make something remarkable together.

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Speck Design

We improve human connections and experiences through innovative product design.