Software updates should extend, or at minimum not end, older products’ lifespans. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FINAL-10YearsSmartphones-Report-Design-230217-Digital.pdf
Design choices to extend product life include 1) material selection, i.e. whether the plastic or metal is non-virgin and is suitable for clean recycling, 2) accessible components, so that devices can be easily repaired and later disassembled, 3) availability of software updates, repair manuals, and spare parts.
Manufacturers should measure their innovation not by fewer millimeters and more megapixels, but by designing devices to last, by making them easily repairable and upgradeable, and using components and materials that can safely be reused again and again to make new phones.
In our new report From Smart to Senseless: The Global Impact of Ten Years of Smartphones we unpack the problems with the current smartphone production model.