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Motorola and iFixit partner to sell phone repair kits (ifixit.org)
457 points by SifJar 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments



I have a lot of respect for iFixit. They at least appear to have their heads screwed on right, and the tools I've bought from them do really seem to be good quality.

My only recent "complex" task that needed their tools was adding a hybrid water cooler to a 1080ti GPU. Their stuff was great, and their customer service has been good too. (EDIT: I meant to say, the addition went well due to their tools, good quality stuff means easier job with tiny screws)

I'd love to see the right to repair/replace be enshrined in law. It's possible to strike a balance between tiny components and being able to replace them. My phone, a LG V20, is very thin, yet has a replaceable battery and is still waterproof to a "certain extent" (MIL-STD-810G but I'm not sure what exactly that means for waterproof-ness). Which is kind of amusing because I dropped the damn thing in the sink for the first time ever this morning.

I'd love to see something like T-Mobile partner with iFixit and certify particular phones to be user or expert repairable.

Hopefully this is the start of a larger movement in the world.

(EDIT2: I really didn't intend this comment to sound so public-relation-y. I swear I'm not a product placement shill!)


MIL-STD-810G doesn't really mean anything unless they have test results available. That standard is mostly just a list of lab tests and how to perform them. It could mean anything from the product is designed to comply but never tested all the way up it passing the whole gambit of various tests. Military hardware is going to actually be tested if the manufacturer wants to sell it to the government. No one is regulating the standard for consumer hardware. IP codes at least mean something in regards to what the product is supposedly designed to handle, whether or not the rating is legit is another story.


Cool, thank you. From a quick glance at the wikipedia page I saw that it could mean a whole bunch of different stuff, or almost nothing.

I'm just glad my phone is still working after dropping it in water this morning!


My Nexus 6P has pretty much zero waterproof rating but I've dropped it in the sink face up before with the full stream falling right onto the screen. The front speakers are a little quieter but it still works otherwise, I thought for sure it would have been an instant death. Unless you have a real IP rating, it's a crapshoot how well your phone works under harsh environments.


What does T-Mobile know about hardware repairability? They’re a carrier aren’t they? They don’t have anything to do with any hardware.


(I freely admit this is naive and idealistic)

I'd like to see T-Mobile, or some other corporation with similar influencing power, promote the right to repair. I chose T-Mobile because they have this (PR generated, for sure) image of bucking the big telcom trend and "putting their customers first".

I feel that it's another niche that could help people. You have the rugged phone niche, the kid phone, the simple phone, etc etc. A repairable phone might be desirable to some people.


They have a huge infrastructure of fixed hardware, of course (their phones have to talk to something) and certifying & deploying that requires plenty of EEs and a surprising amount of hardware development (and getting in deep with their vendors).

Things have changed since I was a supplier to that industry but it used to be that the carriers really did certify the terminals. GSM (well, the SIM requirement), and then in the US the iPhone, changed that so I don't know how that end works today.

In addition T-mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom which does still do quite a bit of hardware development, though I'm not sure how close the links there are.

(plus they are a huge channel)


They sell phones along with their service so presumably they'd have an interest is selling people quality phones so they can capture more profit for the same total customer spend. but it's hard to beat the planned obsolescence model if they get a cut of the new phone sales


To the extend that carriers curate the hardware they sell in their store (and for some carriers, support on their network), they could provide some sort of indication of how likely it is to be fixable. T-Mobile has a reputation of caring slightly more about their users than other carriers in the US, so they might be a good target.

Fixing phones could be a reasonable side business for their phones, so it could work out as a win-win for them -- if you buy a fixable phone, they would probably be able to fix it for you it's broken.


So, a shade of black that is slightly less black than VantaBlack™?


T-Mobile is an UNcarrier.

And to the extent they can, providing top level customer service is one of their biggest selling points.


The LG V20 is not listed as being waterproof at all. The MIL-STD-810G covers a great many things, and it seems likely that the V20 was tested for impact resistance, not waterproofing.


Huh, I had no idea. I very vaguely recall being told it was immersion-proof by some review or other back when I first got it.

I will make sure it is fully dry and no damage has occurred.

Thanks for letting me know, I appreciate it a lot!


What exactly would qualify a phone as user repairable? I'm guessing something could be repairable by users, but the costs of the tools are prohibitive. Would that be considered user repairable or would cost of materials and tools have to factor into the equation?


iFixit actually has a rating system for that: https://www.ifixit.com/smartphone-repairability


Thanks! That list is really cool! Interesting that only a few phones have scores of 10. One of them is called Fairphone, which actually looks like it would be a nice device.


As far as I know the Fairphone 2 is the only phone with a score of 10. Coincidentally, I have one, and it's pretty amazing. I can detach and replace the screen of the phone without even needing a screwdriver.


> but the costs of the tools are prohibitive.

A device being repairable does not equate to the device being repairable by the owner only.

The cost for a tool could be prohibitive for a single person but would still make sense for a professional third party repair company.


There is an apple official repair video for the replacement of a battery on the iPhoneX (IIRC) -- and its comically complex process to replace the battery - and requires this specally constructed aluminum scaffold-like rig structure to apply the appropriate adhesion pressure. The device is custom made for apple by some machine shop in the south bay, and obviously unlikely available to plebs-like-us... (I can't find the video any longer - apple likely had it removed)

My point being; if apple has such stellar HW designers, 1. the fact that they needed a ~30 minute official training video on the proper replacement which required 2. a custom rig to install the new battery which was 3. only made by some small-ish machine shop in san jose is mildyinfuriating....

I think that a measure of HW design prowess should be service/repairability as a base KPI for considered being 'good design'.


I don’t really think the government needs to legislate this. I buy iPhones because I don’t give a shit about repairability. I use the phone for 3-4 years and then set it up as basically a remote control in my house until it’s useless. If I break it out of warranty I throw it out. Other people who care about repairability can buy other brands.


Except hardware and software are patentable. If we didn't have that and companies could make true alternatives, sure, but as far as technology goes it's highly monopalistic. Your argument is also the definition of selfishness given that you only take into account your own circumstances. You're literally advocating against yourself.


I don't think GP is selfish - he's just outlining what works for him and what his use-case is. For example, I kind-of care about repairability, but not enough to go through the effort of switching from the iOS echosystem.

Finally, what's wrong with being selfish? I think it's a completely rational approach to take.


I don't have a problem with selfishness, however, I do feel like not caring about repair ability of a device is a bit more complicated. Plus, apple likes to bully people, just take a look at the recent seizure of Rossmanns batteries.

Frankly, this is a much bigger problem. The world is moving to everything being a subscription rather than true ownership. Often, people that once did not care will start caring eventually. When your macbook pro breaks and you can fix it yourself for $100 but the apple store tells you it will be $1000....your point of view will shift drastically.


i honestly don't think any significant fraction of iphone buyers care about repairability. if they do at all, i really doubt they care enough to compromise on price or visual appeal / thinness. could be you're the selfish one trying to bend the entire industry towards your fringe interest.


No, I’m saying that different peoples needs are different. I’d rather have the phone 1mm thinner than repairable. You may be different. Companies should compete for our custom.


>> If I break it out of warranty I throw it out. Other people who care about repairability can buy other brands.

One of the many reasons I don't use Apple products. I don't want to throw away technology because the battery wears out, or the screen cracks. Setting aside the environmental nightmares, I don't want to participate in planned obsolescence. My phone dies when I say it can die, not when a manufacturer deems it time for me to give them more money. I also don't throw away cars when their paint chips or the radiator leaks.


I buy mostly Apple specifically because I find the build quality ensures they last the longest. I'm still using a 2009 Macbook on a daily basis, and my youngest daughter is using my original iPhone 4.


The good old Consumerist Mentality that will be the downfall of humanity.

Everything should be repairable and everything should be repaired, you should not "toss out" electronics in 3 years (or in 18 months like Apple would prefer you toss out in)

The enviromental costs alone should be enough to require this, given your mentality I am sure you do not properly recycle it, but even if you do send to an electronics recycling facility most of them are operating in less than ideal or environmentally friendly ways especially when it comes to Apple contracts given that Apple requires the shredding of all devices and they can not be refurbished or reused

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycle should be the LAST option not the go to default.


Recycle your Apple devices by returning them to Apple. You might get in-store credit:

https://www.apple.com/shop/trade-in


I own a fairphone 1 and after I dropped it once I was able to order a new screen. With instructions made by by the fairphone team I was able to fix my phone.

I'm bitter though, because they soon switched development to fairphone 2 in a higher price class and I'm left with android 4.2.2. Many new apps on the play store stop being compatible.

I believe, something like this is only viable, if the phone maker guarantees software updates for at least 5 to 10 years. Otherwise all that talk about environment and all is just hot air.


I love the concept of Fairphone but I can't believe they're still selling their phone for €530. It's worth maybe 1/5th that, if that. Is it just hubris? I hope not, because even if their phones command a reasonable price premium over competitors, it's worth it to some people. They're definitely filling a need. It would be a shame if few of their phones get into people's hands because they price them too far above cost (because, let's face it, it's almost impossible to turn a profit as a small phone manufacturer).


The price is the true price for any phone, when taking into account being a responsible manufacturer.

If your phone is cheaper, it is being built irresponsibly.


That's what they need to charge to make money. I think it demonstrates how repairability and fairness isn't worth it - I can just buy 4 equivalent phones for the same price (like the Nokia 5) and throw them out when broken.


You're missing the point here. Repairability and fairness isn't worth "it in the current world state".

In a true fair world, manufacturers would be charged for all externalities (pollution from mining, paying decent wages that ensure people don't starve, recycling thrown out electronics, etc), all phones would cost that. Currently, those externalities are just ignored, with the expected consequences.


It's still expensive, but they have been handing out discounts everywhere the past year or so.


Regarding longer software update promises, a good number of recent Motorola phones are on either the Android One or Android Enterprise Recommended lists, so they should get security updates for at least 3 years from launch and see at least 1 or 2 Android letter OS upgrades.

The Android Enterprise Recommended "rugged" devices get at least 5 years of security updates, which is quite good, although Motorola doesn't make any "rugged" devices currently.

Android is getting there and this announcement of factory repair parts through iFixit is awesome to see. It's probably not as easy to repair a Motorola phone as a Fairphone, but it's getting better which is the important part.


> Motorola doesn't make any "rugged" devices currently

all of motorola's rugged phones are designed for firstnet (private, secure LTE for emergency responders). these are relatively repairable (removable battery, screws behind the battery) but i wouldn't hold my breath for consumer models.

https://www.motorolasolutions.com/en_us/products/lte-user-de...


Ah! You're right! But that's a different Motorola (arguably the "real" Motorola) that makes the rugged devices. However those rugged Motorola phones aren't on the Android Enterprise Recommended list.

I'll correct myself to say that Motorola Mobility (Lenovo) don't make any "rugged" devices.


I had one too, and that was somewhat to be expected with it being their very first model - especially considering that they did not even design the phone themselves.

I currently own the Fairphone 2, and that, too, probably won't last as long as I'd hope. Hell, I'm amazed that your 1 still works.

That said, the repairability is great, and I'm confident that it will still last longer than most phones. Still, the main reason I bought them was to support them in their journey towards a phone that does live up to everything they hope they achieve. As they mature, they'll hopefully be in a better position to do so. And if not, they'll at least have shown other manufacturers how to do so.


It's too expensive, phone makers need to collectively support stuff like LOS but they can't because if they do then google won't allow them to bundle google software.

This has been discussed a bit on here but this is a replay of what happened with linux and microsoft back when desktops were a thing.


One (relatively small) criticism: there doesn't appear to be a way to purchase the repair parts without getting the tools, as well. I already have a deluxe toolkit from iFixit, so I'd be getting tools I don't need—ironically, leading to some waste (though far less than disposing of a phone, of course).

Edit: never mind! There is a "part only" option for each kit.


Glad you found the part only option. We sell both, but we find that 80%+ of folks prefer to get the kit that guarantees a complete solution.


Looks like my next phone will be a Motorola! I'm tired of "upgrading" phones every couple of years because the battery wears out.


You can replace the battery in virtually any phone, Apple included. Apple'll do it for you for a pretty nominal charge - $30-70 in most cases, and that includes the battery and labor. https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/battery-power

They're not made to be just popped in/out, sure, but it's entirely possible to get more years out of a phone this way. I'd be more concerned with software updates than battery.


The last time I tried to replace a battery the phone (a Nexus 5) was never the same—I broke one of the small plastic tabs in the case, which I think led to a poor antenna connection. If the phone isn't designed for it, it's easy to mess something up like that.

Apple does seem to be doing a better job than most of the Android OEMs at ensuring longevity.


I've brought two iPhones in for battery replacement and both times my phone left with additional issues. One issue required replacing the phone. The other was a minor annoyance with the screen.


Yup I only have done this once for my iPhone 6+. I left with more issues and returned to apple store. Apple replaced the entire internals from screen to motherboard. The only thing that was old was the aluminum casing.


If you have the battery replaced using the official channels you have warranty, both on the new battery and the repair.


I repaired a Galaxy S7 last year which had a broken rear case. It was pretty easy to get the parts and take it apart, but the rear of the phone was glued to the front screen, so when I took it apart it pulled some of the film above the screen off. It was only a cosmetic issue, but in the end was worse than the cosmetic issue I was trying to fix...


Yes, I'm sure a Shenzhen technician can replace a glued down iphone battery in no time. The difference is, a 9 year can replace, say, the battery on my Oneplus 2 in about 3 minutes, with the tools that are already in every tool box (no proprietary clover screw BS). I know, because my nephew did that for me recently.


For me it's been less the battery and eventually the screen itself. As the phone gets older, getting replacement screens or glass ends up more and more difficult and expensive to the point where it can cost almost 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of a completely new phone to fix my old one. At that point it's a harder decision to make to fix the old one when a single drop after that could mean that I've now spent as much to get a new phone (2x replacements) to fix the old one.


Really? It’s like $80 to fix an iPhone 8 screen or %10 of the total price.


$150 from Apple. Brand new iPhone 8 is $600.

You can presumably get a non-OEM replacement for less, but you can also get a used iPhone 8 with original glass for less than $600.


> used iPhone 8 with original glass

Except you would have no way to verify if the glass is original until you take it to Apple and they refuse to service it.


Yea it's going to vary by the phone, iPhone 8 was very common and is still relatively new. In my case it was a Nexus 6p with an actual LCD problem so I needed the full assembly (couldn't find just the LCD). Lowest I could find was $250 to do it myself, and if I took it somewhere, they wanted $400 for the parts and labor, not entirely unreasonable from what I could tell since they also gave a 60 day warranty on the parts. I ended up getting a new phone for $799 instead.


Someone I know dropped a new Samsung phone and it was $600 to fix.


Yep, Samsung list the prices: https://www.samsung.com/au/support/screen-replacements/

Unfortunately I then called Samsung support and was told because I hadn't bought the "Australian model".

Nevermind that there's only one glass/screen/digitiser combo worldwide for the S8+.


$250 in Australia


For the part only or the part and labour?


Sorry for the late reply - part and labour from the official Apple store. Although prices can be as low as $30 for non-genuine ones. Obviously screen will be easier to crack if you don't take care of it but damn it's way cheaper.


FWIW, you can now get an official iPhone battery replacement for $30 on the "last-gen" models, or for free with Applecare.

https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/battery-power

It looks like on some issues, we still have market power.


This $29 official Apple battery replacement ends in December 2018, so if you want to take advantage of it, act soon. I expect the price will go back up to the former $69-$79 range in 2019 even for phones affected by this $29 campaign.


> free with Applecare.

"free" battery costs at least $130 for Applecare and it's rarely worth it. Without Applecare, it only costs $30 to replace.


I got a battery replacement for $30 (that’s a temporary price which Apple provided because of the PR flack they were getting for slowing down phones with poorer batteries). Unfortunately, it’s clear it wasn’t a new battery, or maybe the replacement wasn’t done correctly, but the battery life isn’t great and I can no longer get a battery health reading from the settings>battery section.


The replacement has a 30 (or 90?) day warranty. Get that fixed.


Only after apple was caught red-handed slowing down older phones to entice users to upgrade.


And they said sorry and let users disable it. FWIW disabling it makes my phone turn off when I'm using it in cold so they had their reasons. Not only that, they released ios12 which makes my iphone 6 feel like new again, which is unprecedented in other OSes.


Wait, so how do we disable it? I thought all the did was add "battery statistics" one could view?


Under Settings => Battery => Battery Health. The option to disable throttling only shows up if it's been applied to your phone.


So it's ok to screw over customers as long as you apologize after they find out?


I mean you could at least pretend to have a charitable interpretation of their position. Apple implemented a software workaround to extend the useful life of phones with aging batteries which engineering thought would be transparent.

Then after what could only be described as a media shitstorm Apple responded to the criticism by putting the decision in the user's hands and offered battery replacements for around material cost. I mean $30 is ridiculously cheap when just the battery for my Android phone is $24 before shipping and labor. I'm honestly jealous.


> which engineering thought would be transparent.

What engineer thought that slowing down devices would be 'transparent'?


It's not screwing over customers as a slow phone is better than a phone that turns off at the same time.

At most you can say they where trying to fix a hardware issue with software which is never a clean solution.


Except the situation isn’t binary. It’s not either slow your phone down or let it not working. The problem is Apple makes the other option, battery replacement, extremely difficult. If you do it with Apple, then you have to pay a ludicrously high amount (and I’m not sure if they give you a new or a refurbished battery). Further, Apple does not provide third party repairers, or customers, access to genuine parts. Even worse, as Louis Rossman has publicized, they work with US customs to prevent 3rd party repairers from even acquiring genuine batteries.


> The problem is Apple makes the other option, battery replacement, extremely difficult

Take it to an Apple store, call Apple support, or take it to any one of your friendly neighborhood repair shops?

> ludicrously high amount

Battery replacement costs:

Google Phones: $79

Apple Phones: $79

Samsung Phones: Nothing 1st party, $50 was the cheapest 3rd party I could find.

This honestly doesn't even seem like that much when the battery itself retails for $25 before shipping. That plus an hour of skilled labor to do the replacement puts us right around $80-$100. And when a new battery extends the life of your $800 phone for another 2 years its hard to say the value isn't there.


It took me like 15 minutes to replace the battery in my Mi5, 5 of which were spent watching a tutorial video. And I'm neither skilled nor did I have the right tools. The battery itself was 10 EUR including shipping from a local seller, fwiw.

That said I don't think 79 USD every two years is ridiculous for a 700+ USD device. It better not take an hour, though!


iPhone is very water resistant which makes this a little harder. I also doubt it takes an hour if you know what your doing.


That's a gross misrepresentation of fact.

Apple engineers slowed the CPU in the phone, in order to keep battery life reasonable, and prevent the phone from restarting when worn batteries couldn't deliver power. Windows does this with laptops.

Apple's mistake was not disclosing it. There an argument for user experience that advocates making the best choice for the user and not over burdening them with options.


It’s not just not disclosing it. Their geniuses would actively tell you that the phone was not any slower and that you were imagining it.


I'm not sure why you're expecting miracles from what are essentially sales reps turned helpdesk. You have every right to be mad because they are representing their company but we get senior engineers from MS that don't understand basic things about Windows.


I guess that makes it OK? "Whataboutism" at its finest.


> Apple's mistake was not disclosing it.

They did, technically, in the release notes for the update that introduced it. That said, it could (and should?) have been more prominent.


Apple's mistake was really that they didnt do proper load testing on their batteries. Had they shipped a battery that was capable of keeping up with the phone, this wouldn't have been a problem to begin with.

Instead, they pushed their users to buy new phones, or pricey fixes for a manufacturing mistake


How did you come to that conclusion, did Apple admit they did improper testing?


Because we saw the evidence: The batteries they shipped started dying early. I'm willing to believe that they did do proper testing and ignored the results, but I'm not sure that's better.


I'm not a battery engineer, nor a battery tester, so I cannot comment on what a proper test would be, and if that would include testing the battery for extended period of time prior to releasing them to market.


But you don't need to be a battery engineer to understand statistics. If these batteries are dying early, then either Apple didn't do enough testing, they did and ignored the results.


US only probably


I had a couple Motos and recently moved to Xiaomi.

The last one was a Z2 Play. The USB-C port broke and I couldn't charge the device anymore, 6 months after purchase. When I contacted Motorola Mexico they asked me send the phone so they could determine if this would be covered by warranty or not. Of course I had to pay for all shipping myself and be without a phone for a couple of weeks. Yeah no thanks.

Instead of wasting money on shipping I invested that money into a new Mi A1 which does everything I need from a phone and cost me half of the Z2 Play. It also comes with Android One.


FWIW, Motorola is very slow with software updates. My G5 plus is currently still on Android 7.0 on the June (!) 2018 security patch level and this is usual. I think that an update to 8.1 is around the corner, but they've promised an update to Oreo for over a year now...


> My G5 plus is currently still on Android 7.0 on the June (!) 2018 security patch level. I think that an update to 8.1

Not as bad as most Samsung phones, I got no update at all to Samsung S4 and S4 mini and these were the last Samsungs I bought. I have Moto G4 now and a few weeks ago I got patches for last BT and WiFi KRACK attacks, better late then never I guess? My next phone will be Motorola too, it's bloat free, runs fast after 2 years, and now it will be easier to fix.


Samsung is now a lot better with security updates specially for S and note series. My S8+ got Sept 18 android security update in September. And I got my screen fixed at a Samsung repair shop at +15% of the wholesale price of the screen on AliExpress. They even replaced the battery under warranty.


Previously I had an s8 and would get security patches 6 months later. Plus they screwed up the ecosystem with their crappy clones of apps built into Android. I wish Google would just ban that practice if they want to be able to use the play store.


Be happy you got updates in 2018! My unlocked LG G5 is still on Android 7.0 but the most recent security update is December 2017.

My advice is to focus your next Android phone purchase on devices which are on the Android One or Android Enterprise Recommended lists. They'll get 3+ years of timely security updates.


Honestly, I've strongly disliked recent changes to Android so much that I'm not interested in updates. I got a Moto X4 last month because I got tired of being terrified that my Nexus 5X would bootloop again, and I'm keeping it at Nougat even though it keeps nagging me to upgrade.

Oreo is so visually ugly that I'd rather keep my phone on an old version than upgrade.


do you log into any important accounts on your phone?


Be careful, my last one was a Motorola X Play, which I stopped using because its battery became bad. I was happy to be able to buy a new OEM battery to "refurbish" it and use it as an emergency phone but it's not ob the ifixit website.

I bought a Motorola Z2 Play because now all phone seems to no longer have user replaceable battery but with the "mod" if the battery goes bad I can always add one. They also doesn't sell batteries for it on ifixit.


not sure why you got downvoted. i agree w you.


FYI: Motorola is also friendly towards ROM development. You can easily unlock bootloader and slap lineageOS/AOSP. Of course, for people from US - it may not work if you have a carrier branded phone.

https://motorola-global-en-uk.custhelp.com/app/standalone/bo...


My only problem is that you can't unlock the bootloader without notifying Motorola so they can void your warranty.

As much as I want to root my Moto X4 to get the notification LED back, I'm waiting until my warranty expires next fall before doing so.


Where do you live? I'm pretty sure that one can't renounce the mandatory warranty for stuff bought in the EU, so if you live here, you should be OK (but don't blame me if they're hard to convince!).


Modifying the software (for example, temperature-triggered CPU throttling?) might move liability to the customer side, if the hardware's integrity is software-controlled: https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/dealing-with-customers...

" the injured party must prove that: damage took place, your product was defective, the defect and the damage were linked."

"You bear no liability if you can prove that: he defect causing the damage did not exist when the product was placed on the market"


That sounds quite reasonable. If you break something due to your own modifications (hw/sw), the manufacturer should not be held accountable. The trouble is of course proving that is was not due to the mod if the device breaks.


Fair point, but that page is not related to the warranty, only to damages caused to people or other things. Personally, I think it's unlikely that my phone will harm someone or destroy over 500€ of stuff, so I'm not concerned.


North Texas. I'm pretty far from the EU, and I ordered my phone through Project Fi.


Meh, that requires you to create an account and ask them for permission to unlock. I'd rather take a Nexus or OnePlus where it's a much simpler offline process (allow unlocking in dev settings, `adb reboot bootloader && fastboot oem unlock`).


>I'd rather take a Nexus

Pixels, the ones bought from the google store (as opposed to retail channels), do allow you to unlock the bootloader, but that is still an implicit network permission check. You cannot get to the oem unlocking screen without turning on wifi, which is basically how it phones home to check if you are allowed to unlock it.


That is because the phone has theft prevention feature which needs internet connection to know whether the phone was not stolen before allowing the user to bypass the theft check forever with a new rom


That could be, but nexus didn't have that. The internet check started with Pixels due to the verizon deal. So the main reason for it seems to be to check if the phone is in the verizon database since all the phones ship with the same ROM.


Verizon completely locks down nearly every motorola phone they sell. It's horrible


As much as I hate Best Buy, it was the first realistic option I had to quickly get an unlocked phone that would work on Verizon.


I bought it in Colombia and got the code from Motorola to unlock it, nothing seemed US or carrier specific as the initial code was obtained via adb.


A majority of hn-readers are from US.


I'm somewhat (pleasantly) shocked that it is Motorola doing this. I've been a Motorola user for >15 years now, but my current phone (xt1650 moto z) had me recommending family members to go for a different brand. I've always liked the nearly stock android and build quality up until this one, which had me convinced Lenovo was destroying the brand. Of 2 identical phones bought at the same time, by 13 months I had 1) replaced 3 screens 2) replaced 2 batteries 3) replaced 1 rear camera 4) replaced 1 USB-c connector

As well, this phone is just as bad as an iPhone for repairability, at least IME.

Hopefully this is a trend for the brand going forward, parts availability was always one of the downsides of Android (after 1 or 2 years, even alibaba doesn't have any parts at any quality for many models). Additionally, I hope this signals to designers that there is a market for phones that sacrifice thinness for repairability and durability. It just depends on how many people buy these parts. I know I would gladly pay a premium for an OEM battery, but a market of 1 isn't significant.


I had the Moto X Play and it lasted nearly 3 years, the battery went bad, which is to be expected. That was my only issue with it.

I currently have the Moto Z2 Play, no issue and it's been more than a year now.

My experience is anecdotal, but so are yours. Are you just missing the fact that you happens to drop your phone pretty often? It would still be crazy because I do drop mine from time to time and never wear phone case.


> He challenged his engineers to design an inexpensive radio that could be installed in most vehicles

In the late 1970's, as a teen, I was given an old Motorola car radio. It was all metal, greenish blue, no plastic. It had vacuum tubes! And it actually worked. It was very well built. Like a tank. I opened it up for inspection. When powered on, it made a very quiet buzzing sound. There was a "vibrator" (yes that is what it was called), used with a transformer to get the high voltages for the tubes. With just a short lead connected to the antenna connector, it could receive nearby radio stations. It's speaker had the impedance matching transformer typical of vacuum tube equipment I had seen in TVs and radios.

As a teen I didn't realize how short life is and that radio might have been a good thing to hang on to.


Partnering to make repair parts available is a good step but modern phone design makes accessing the phones internals very difficult.

I had a Moto X4 that suddenly stopped turning on or pulling charge when plugged in. I suspected the battery so I went to pull the phone apart. Here's ifixit's guide to replacing the battery on a Moto X [0].

Modern phones don't have screws, they use clips and glue. Waterproofing adhesive is popular on waterproof phones, maybe there isn't another way to seal a phone, but that just looking at a phones internals will break the water proofing. The battery on a Moto X is accessed from the screen side, removing the screen requires a heat gun, cutting and prying on a fragile screen.

[0]: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Motorola+Moto+X4+Battery+Replac...


I recently got a Moto S2 Play and went the LineageOS route with no Google Apps. With no IM apps installed I made it my house's router (small house) and 5-7 devices can happily connect to it. I really recommend it.

Lately I have been finally understanding how Open Source and right to repair go hand in hand.


Cool, how did you connect it to the outer network?


Yep, WAN is unlimited LTE, which is around 25mbps (on a somewhat rural area). This is 5 times more than available coaxial-based bandwidth.


Presumably the WAN connection would be over LTE.


This is a really cool place for a company to situate themselves. I always felt Motorola was the power user brand of the Android world, and there's something very Radio Shack about being able to buy replacement parts for your phone.


Perfect timing from Motorola; amidst all the Apple iPhone and Mac proprietary repair nonsense, price gouging, and counterfeit replacement parts floating around in lieu of official ones, this is a beacon in the darkness. Techies are sure to appreciate the shift in philosophy from a well-established player like Motorola.

The gap between various mobile phones is ever shrinking these days, this is definitely enough to get me to give Motorola serious consideration for my next device.


This is great! I have been looking at replacement batteries for my Moto G4, and all of the ones available on Amazon/eBay have terrible reviews on the quality.


Nice! Although it's not clear from looking at the store whether this covers all the most recent models or just some older variants of e.g. Moto Z?


I've been out of the phone market for a while, but have we reached a point were we're celebrating that we can pay $40 to buy a kit to change the battery of a phone?

When and why did this become a thing? I remember screens being a pain to replace, but the batteries just plopped right out.

Edit: Sorry, that came out more cynical than I intended. I'm just curious why we did away with batteries that fall out.


I own a Moto G, and you don't need any special tools to replace the battery. They just make it easier.

Also, the kit includes a new battery! It's not $40 just for some tools.


I had a Moto G2, and it was incredibly easy to break the up and down physical buttons on it whilst repairing it.


I used to use a Moto G2 as well and I second this. My volume-rocker keys were super wobbly, and literally popped-out in my finals days with the device.


Nice that even the first MotoG still has LineageOS development active - hopefully will get Oreo from LOS!


This is probably a try-out. 'Motorola' is just one of the phone brands owned by Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Lenovo. Motorola Mobility produces mobile phones and slaps whatever label marketing thinks appropriate on it, which in some cases is 'Motorola'.


I've been putting off getting my Moto X screen replaced - a small crack in the corner doesn't impair my ability to see the screen, and the touch interface works most of the time. Just ordered the repair kit, thanks!


Happy to read about that Motorola is taking an initiative to make their cell phones repairable! We should not produce unnecessary amounts of electronic waste, this surely is a step in the right direction.

Thanks to iFixit, Motorola and its engineers.


I used to own an original Moto G, and the only complaint I had was the crappy camera. I would buy Morotola again if they made reasonable sized phones.


The camera is the bad part on their phones. A family member has the X4 on Fi and although miles better than the G line, it's still bad, especially on low light.


I was hoping one of the kits would offer USB port replacement. USB ports are what always seem to wear out on my phones.


Seems like none of the new Motorola kits are available in the EU store. Anyone know why?


Simple logistics. We're launching them first in the US, then bringing them to Europe. Stay tuned!


>battery eliminators became obsolete //

Seems there would still be a [small?] market for them?


There's a small market for most obsolete things, usually not a profitable one.


Aye, but even in the 80s/90s I'd have thought there would be a big enough market for a mains-powered battery replacement; so "soon" after 1928 I'm surprised the market disappeared.

I guess everything got designed for mains only.




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