The future of smartphone repairs is self service: Google follows the Apple and Samsung model

Source: Google

Google recently announced that it would soon join the growing number of companies offering more consumer-friendly ways to service and repair smartphones and other devices. Google will join iFixit to offer replacement parts and tools, such as screwdriver bits and spudgers, for devices going back as far as the Google Pixel 2 series.

Google announced the news in a blog post, and said that it’s working with iFixit to “make it easier for independent repair professionals and skilled consumers with the relevant technical experience to access the genuine Google parts they need to repair Pixel phones.” ā€¯Microsoft and Samsung also teamed up with iFixit recently to offer repair guides, official accessories, and tools to consumers to repair their own devices. Apple was also one of the first companies to offer a more consumer-friendly approach by offering spare parts, manuals, and tools to their customers.

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Google says that users will be able to purchase spare parts for “common Pixel phone repairs”, including “batteries, replacement displays, cameras and more.” Parts will be available on iFixit’s website individually, or in iFixit Fix Kits, including other useful tools such as screwdriver bits and spudgers. The self-service repair will be available later this year in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and EU countries where Pixel is available.

Google Pixel 2 XL teardown by iFixit

Those who do not wish to repair their devices will be able to get professional help by using authorized repair services from independent partners such as uBreakFix, which has more than 750 locations in the US, and Canada. Google also says that it has similar partnerships in Canada, Japan, and the UK. It’s worth noting that “Pixel repair options are available in all countries” where Pixel devices are officially available.

The company then reiterated its goals to make 100% of Google hardware products out of recycled materials, and go fully carbon-neutral for shipments of Google hardware, which is a great start. Google also mentioned that the Pixel 6 series would receive five years of security updates, and it will provide five years of automatic updates for Nest-connected home devices. The company also recently partnered up with Acer and Lenovo to launch the Chromebook repair program, and it also introduced ChromeOS Flex to repurpose old Mac or PC devices. We also have a handy guide on how to install ChromeOS Flex on your device.

Why are companies teaming up with iFixit?

iFixit right to repair web page Source: iFixit

iFixit has been a loud advocate for the Right to Repair bill, and it has campaigned for several years to make the repair more straightforward and more consumer-friendly. The company has more than 80,000 free manuals, 187,000+ solutions, and more than 36,000 devices in its database, offering an extensive range of products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, computer parts, gaming consoles, etc. The manuals are done professionally, and the company already has tools to support most manufacturers with supported screwdriver bits and other tools required.

The service also sells some genuine replacement parts, and it makes sense for companies to sign up with iFixit to bring a more accessible and fairer repair system. It’s not entirely clear why companies that are valued at billions and, at this point, trillions, are signing up with a third-party company, but the extensive list of parts and manuals is one of the main reasons.

iFixit already has a large supporter group, and for a large company such as Microsoft and Google to join the alliance is massive news. iFixit also has well-established channels, and it has stores in many countries where Pixel and other Microsoft products are available, offering an easier and more streamlined solution to tens of millions of customers.

Why are more companies making it easier to self-service electronics?

Apple Right to Repair legislation featured

It’s hard to tell, but the Right to Repair bill and the pandemic are likely the two main events that helped fuel the decision for more companies to give in and provide a fairer and more consumer-friendly solution. More OEMs are joining the self-repair movement, and it’s great to see that large companies are opening up and offering these new services.

The Right to Repair bill was introduced in the US in June last year. We covered how the FTC would set out its rules to force companies to follow the new rules. Companies not complying could face hefty fines, and it would also hurt their reputation, while most other OEMs are making it slightly more accessible and cheaper to repair devices.

The second reason is likely due to the pandemic. Companies were forced to shut down over the past two years to protect their customers and staff members. Many repair services and in-store support had to come to a halt, making repairs more complicated and impossible. Apple devices left to be serviced were often not returned for many more months.

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