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Repairability May Become Legal Requirement for Mobile Phones

18 March 2020 - 11:32:32

Regulations being planned by the European Commission could ultimately force smartphone manufacturers to ensure that the devices they sell to consumers are far more repairable than they are at the moment.

These measures are being introduced as a means of improving the sustainability of the consumer electronics sector, which is seen as being environmentally problematic at the moment because of the way that many millions of devices are designed and sold.

While the awareness of the availability of mobile phone recycling services is growing, and more people are choosing to sell their old phone rather than hang on to it, experts argue that it is also necessary to give consumers the power to fix the device they buy rather than having to do away with them when a component breaks or is damaged.

Replacing key parts like the screen or battery can be very difficult, especially on high-end handsets like the iPhone. Meanwhile, the cost of official repairs by manufacturers can be prohibitively expensive, meaning that there is little incentive to fix damaged devices.

A similar issue exists with upgradability, since phones are designed to be used for a couple of years and then discarded in favour of a more powerful replacement rather than having components swapped out for faster counterparts while retaining other aspects that do not need to be upgraded.

The introduction of the repairability regulation rules could improve things both for consumers who want to save cash as well as for the health of the planet as a whole. It will no doubt be something that manufacturers are less eager to adopt, although since the sales of smartphones have hit a plateau at this point it may not be as much of a concern as it would have been five years ago.




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