There’s a lot of repair news lately - with Google being the latest manufacturer to announce selling spare parts for its smartphones directly to the public later this year.
As we said about the recent announcement by Samsung, more repair options is always good news. That said, we wouldn’t want to confuse this positive step with having achieved a real right to repair. Why?
This is an announcement, the parts aren’t on sale as of yet. And just like with Apple’s self-repair programme, or with the Samsung’s announcement, still no word on the pricing of these parts.
If priced affordably, genuine spare parts can reduce uncertainty when choosing repair (whether self-repair, or repair by a professional). However, genuine spare parts don’t make a repair easier automatically if the phone isn’t designed to be repaired easily
We also wonder whether Google will continue to prevent independent repair businesses from advertising via Google Ads, if they can use genuine parts bought via iFixit…
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s rather ironic that Google commits to provide spare parts for phones which it no longer supports with software and security updates. It shows that these phones are still in use, and there’s no reason why they should have stopped at least providing security updates for them
Compared to the announcement about Samsung, at least we see more parts being mentioned, and notably the battery. We’ll see how expensive later this year (the self-repair programme by Apple, which received massive publicity when announced in November, still hasn’t landed, not even in the US)
This article by The Verge, featuring comments by both Kyle Wiens of iFixit and US PIRG Right to Repair campaigner Nathan Proctor, is interesting, as it mentions the role played by new legislation in Europe in pushing manufacturers to do “something” about repair options for their devices. This should give us confidence that continuing to campaign for ambitious legislation promoting repair everywhere around the world is the way forward. Let’s keep pushing!