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New Hampshire Lawmaker Kills Repair Bill Because 'Cellphones Are Throwaways' (vice.com)
161 points by el_duderino 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 116 comments

I submitted this video link by Louis Rossmann days ago but it was unfortunately mis-classified by HN as spam (and they did clear this up personally with me so don't worry).


He made a clear concise point in 3 minutes why the right to repair is important. Now the good thing is that it doesn't matter how many states the bill has been shot down. As long as one state or one country has it, it will open the Pandora's box.

Its not spam, its clickbait.

Real full house hearing video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHpXJzjin7k Over two hours of arguments from both sides - private advocates and $1K an hour PR shills (easy to spot who is who).

This sounds in part like a classic case of wealthy, indifferent elected politicians being out of touch with the "riff-raff" they purportedly represent and act in the best interests off. (This "riff-raff" would include people who want to repair phones due to cost-effectiveness, responsibility with natural resources, and/or a desire to tinker. Also, because they have less throwaway money than these entitled, bought-by-corporate-lobbyists politicians.)

On a related note... come on, phone manufacturers! That's enough with sealed phones and a lack of microSD card slots for added storage.

Also, come on, app programmers! Let users store data in a microSD card, instead of in limited, expensive built-in storage! If you can't find the data when the card is removed, just deal with it! (I'm looking at you WhatsApp, given your insistence on storing photos and videos on internal memory.)

> That's enough with sealed phones...

People want IP ratings. What same people don't understand is that most phone makers tell you it is not permanent. And same people also don't understand that IP ratings are not ratings of waterproof-ness (which, by definition, would not need a rating).

I don't see why being water resistant needs to be mutually exclusive with replaceable batteries and sd cards. My S5 has survived being dropped in water, and it has both a replaceable battery and sd card. Maybe other phones can go deeper and longer, but I'm not scuba diving with the damn thing. When I drop it in water, I fish it out right away...

> I don't see why being water resistant needs to be mutually exclusive with replaceable batteries and sd cards.

They aren't mutually exclusive at all. You can even have a real headphone jack and maintain a high degree of waterproofing.

I think eliminating the ability for people to replace batteries and use SD cards has more to do with saving manufacturing costs and encouraging people to replace their phones more frequently.

My S7 was fantastic at resisting water until the glass earned some cracks.

With wireless charging we are nearing the possibility of a waterproof, sealed phone. Not sure how you'd turn it on. Glass front and back bonded together could get there. Touch screen. Camera inside the glass?

> Not sure how you'd turn it on

I'm not sure that it needs to fully turn off, many of our electronics don't have that ability. As long as it has power it could run in a super-low-energy mode that just keeps a capacitive sensor going.

I'm reminded of the episode of Max Headroom, where the boss was poking around in someone's apartment and noticed something on the TV: "An off switch? She could get 20 years for that!"

To add to the absurdity of this justification: What income bracket do you need to be in where a $400 device is disposable and you're OK with that?

Over $200,000 a year and single.

MicroSD needs to improve as a format with write durability and speed before it can be the main store of a device. Hopefully SDUC with better durability will be that format.

This is overblown. A completely sealed device has its advantages.

If you want to tinker, buy a second phone and cut it up.

The attitude of complex, manufactured things that require extensive mining and refining infrastructure and include uncommon elements (literally, molecular elements) being single-use is awful. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Aren't humans single-use too?

Yeah, but humans are easy to recycle, and made of renewable resources.

The attitude that even cheap phones are throwaways is troubling to me. Not just because throwing away $200-300 seems reasonable to people here that average people can afford to do this regularly, but mostly because every phone cheap or not, takes resources to produce, many of which are non renewable, resources to ship and distribute and sure they're recyclable, but I'd be willing to be not a lot of people put the effort in to actually recycle them.

Continuing to produce new phone after new phone with only slight improvements between each new model with the expectation that people will just buy a new one rather than upgrade parts or repair old ones is just completely and utterly wasteful from an environmental stand point.

The environment isn’t being wasted, it’s being spent. The only way to stop waste is to reach the point where you make a phone so good you don’t need a new phone for a very long time. We may be reaching that point soon within the next decade. That will require constant progress year after year.

Wasted vs. spent is simply a matter of perspective/semantics. From a sustainability standpoint it's totally wasteful. The idea that we could make a perfect product is also kind of silly. Consumer demand in this society is largely driven by novelty.

> "We may be reaching that point soon within the next decade. That will require constant progress year after year."

How are we not there already? What does your phone do today that it couldn't do five years ago, and is that thing actually so important as to justify five years of ewaste? And what do you think it doesn't do today that a few more years will fix?

The biggest problems right now are fragile hardware (a phone should not shatter when dropped), poor repair-ability (particularly battery replacement, which should be a trivial matter) and shitty wasteful software that has fewer features than it did years before but somehow uses more ram and more CPU time because the industry is obsessed with hiring the cheapest most inexperienced developers.

> The only way to stop waste is to reach the point where you make a phone so good you don’t need a new phone for a very long time. We may be reaching that point soon within the next decade.

Do you seriously think manufacturers would ever do that?

Hehehe They tried that with light bulbs in the US. The electric companies colluded to crush it and it became the start of planned obsolescence. I think Eastern Germany under Soviet rule made an amazingly cheap and efficient light bulb, but it didn't survive the fall of the Berlin wall - not enough money in it.

Good phones are in many cases being obsoleted with forced updates. 5SE, for instance. It's impossible to stick to a phone that you like, it will eventually stop functioning properly way before the phone's physical death.

You're forgetting planned obsolescence. It's not a coincidence that battery life drops off a cliff and performance issues crop up right at the 1 year mark for most phones.

> Cellphones Are Throwaways

That's the point - they shouldn't be. The cost of a cellphone does not cover the cost to the planet of producing that cellphone.



The good old "yet you participate in the society you criticize" non-argument.

Woah, woah, woah. You ever heard of the perfect being the enemy of the good? Maybe some people need to function in modern society in order to evangelize their deeply-held beliefs about sustainability.

My current smartphone was released in 2009; the second one that I use if the first one can't do the job anymore is from 2012. Both nicely repairable, with replacable batteries etc. Am I able to say that phones shouldn't be throwaways or are those not old enough for you? :P

Yup it's nearly 4 years old. Newest kit I have (along with my 2014 desktop, 2013 mac and 2010 thinkpad)

Sometimes individual consumers change things, most of the time it needs regulation to help them. The 'invisible hand' may well steer the ship, but it's an oiltanker, not a speedboat.

I wish all the energy being thrown at "repair" laws would instead go into better warranty laws, which I think is the real underlying issue of which "repairability" is only a symptom. An easy to repair device still leaves the consumer paying money, and often ridiculously early (within a year or two even for top end gear). When people spend $500-1k for a smartphone say, I think there is the general expectation it'll work for at least a good 4-5 years under normal usage, and that most people do in fact experience that. But a percentage don't, and then have to take on the entire cost, or else everyone has to overpay heavily through "extended warranties" which are big profit centers that have no clear pricing, are hidden from the sticker price, and create perverse incentives.

So basically it's a classic externality problem. Instead the law should simply make sure that "how long a device lasts" matches reasonable expectation. There are many ways to do this, such as saying everything is 6 months minimum for the first $50 and then another month per $15-20 up to a maximum of 5 years, and mandating repair/replace will happen within 2 weeks. The specifics could be hashed out, but the goal should be to makes sure that for the price consumers see advertised they are promised it will than work for a knowable reasonable lifespan for zero extra cost. "Extended/enhanced warranties" should only exist for special commercial/professional use cases, like extreme support periods, specific fast SLA, or advanced RMAs. By law though all standard use should be covered.

Then manufacturers can figure out the right mix of strategies to meet those goals. Repairability might be part of that, because they could satisfy their obligations more cheaply. But it's not the only way or the necessarily right way in all cases, like sometimes additional QA or better design upfront (reducing failure rate even if each individual failure or more expensive) would be more important. Or just having large enough margins to eat the cost if they can add enough value in other ways. It's a bad idea to have government mandate the method, what government should do is mandate the goal and the goal should be that products last, at zero additional cost. That way everything can be compared with no digging.

I want to repair and modify the hardware that I own whether or not I have a warranty.

And I don't want anyone to be able to "repair" or modify certain classes of hardware that I own (though I do want to be able to have root keys for the software side). I don't see why hackability shouldn't be a feature that people can pay for. I can see a solid argument I could get behind for a very minimal requirement that you may request a device-specific bypass for any cryptographic restrictions. Ie., Apple entangles aspects of the hardware for security, but I'd be fine with requiring them to offer owners at time of purchase the choice to have a root hardware signing key for that device only themselves or not.

But I would strongly oppose anything further than that, such as changes to the physical hardware itself. "It works for the expected lifetime" should be required, but features within that should be up to creators and customers.

This doesn't need manufacturer intervention... look at secure boot as it is on x86. You have the option of enrolling your own keys, or not doing it, and can lock down the BIOS. If using a TPM then you get okay assurance that the OS has not been tampered with.

Sure, there are exploits for these things, just as there are exploits for iOS.

Warranties are mostly to ensure you don't get sold a brick instead of a phone. Extended warranties are better termed service contracts or product insurance. The prices are high, but that might be because it's self-selecting to the people who break products frequently.

I'm not sure how you expect "how long a device lasts" to be defined. Manufacturers do typically design with some lifetime in mind, but it's not clear that has any real world relevance. If I buy a phone and stick it in a drawer it's going to last for a lot longer than its designed lifetime, but if I hook it up to a TV and play Fortnite all day it'll probably last significantly less due to the heat.

As far as software updates, although Apple does 3-5 years for iOS, Google has gone from 2 years to only 3 years, and other Android devices still seem to be in the 1-2 year range. So every Android phone is supported for significantly less than the "4-5 years" you seem to expect.

And the reason the repair bills are getting such interest is because the authorized manufacturer repair shops are so screwed up. They don't do any component-level repair, because the training and equipment is expensive, so the choices are just replace, replace, replace.

tl;dr Mandating a 5-year warranty is just handing out free phones everyone

I wish all the energy being thrown at "repair" laws would instead go into better warranty laws

This is a very good point. I've noticed that when companies are on the hook for warranty, they tend to make more repairable products. Example: Hilti angle grinder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9xhr0MsAZw

Those models are oriented toward "fleet" contracts. The Hilti grinder in the above video is designed so that all of the gears can be replaced by replacing the "head" section.

Err, why would a mandatory warranty be paid? Under current US law statue of limitations is for 4 years, and in a few states the seller is unable to disclaim any implied merchantability or suitability for a particular purpose.

So, effectively, all warranties are 4 years. But you have to go to at least small claims court.

Also, if the defect is within 30-90 days, you don't need to do an RMA regardless of what the seller and manufacturer say. The person who took your money has to take it back.

The warranty should be optional, though, since otherwise people who properly care for their phones will be paying to repair/replace phones of people who abuse them.

This is silly, as I stated "under normal usage" can perfectly well be a condition of protection (and already is). Fall damage, water, and so on are not manufacturing defects. Signs of abuse (and it's generally quite clear) are grounds for being made ineligible. Furthermore, all mass manufactured products always have a defect rate, period. Quite a few 9s can be chased in manufacturing and QA, but 100% doesn't happen, and when we're talking millions of devices a small rate still adds up to a lot. Gambling that you won't be the one to roll snake eyes and thus subtracting in from the upfront price is simply letting the manufacturer improperly externalize that failure rate cost onto its customers.

But then we're back to it being about repair again. If you drop your phone on the concrete and break it, it's completely reasonable that that isn't covered under warranty, but you still want to be able to repair that phone rather than throw it away.

>but you still want to be able to repair that phone rather than throw it away

But I don't agree that this "want" should be a legal requirement. I think it's perfectly acceptable and reasonable that it's possible for someone to cause a level of damage to their property that will destroy said property, leaving it totaled/unsalvageable. In general, where it won't hurt anyone else, that's a matter for individuals. It can be dealt with via insurance, or by buying products that cater to it through higher durability (or conversely just plain being cheaper, spend 1/10 as much and expect to replace them more often).

But that involves tradeoffs and costs which are subjective in value, so I don't think it should be the subject of legislation. The principle I'm stating is fully generalizable, it's not an electronics thing it covers everything. Everything you buy should last under regular use for a reasonable lifetime given the price, no tricks with secret information that the manufacturer knows but that the customer does not. That's foundational to functioning markets. But think about what you're saying, how would it apply to the many beautiful but more fragile decorative things many of us like to buy? Many of those make use of hard but brittle materials like glass. It's reasonable to expect they'll perform as advertises in regular environmental conditions, and not just shatter from regular indoor temperature differentials for example. But if they are dropped and smash parts may not be repairable, and that's fine.

Also, I want to note that as I said in another reply I can fully see and support an exception for any purely soft restrictions like encrypted components. A company shouldn't be able to prevent you from attempting any repair or modification you like on a product you bought from them. I absolutely support a law requiring that at time of purchase you be offered root hardware keys, root software keys, or both (on some devices I'd want both, on some only software). But I'm not in favor of the more generalized arguments for "repairability" that I've seen, and I think it wastes a big opportunity to try to fix a major market failure in America at least. 90 day/1 year standard warranties are utter bullshit.

They WERE throaways for the first 10 years of smartphones. Every iPhone or Android release brought so many new improvements that last year's phone looked ancient.

Nowadays, we've finally hit diminishing returns and a 2 year old iPhone X is still about the same as an iPhone 11 Pro. It's become more like buying laptops. Therefore, we really need a way to repair these things.

I strongly disagree. I think it would be hard to articulate why an iPhone 6s (released in 2014) which is the phone my partner has, is not usable today.

Many of my friends have phones that are currently 2-3 years old, and they work just fine.

I assume this has to do with relative income: either $1000 per year is a lot of money for you, or it’s not.

I see jdlyga's point as, iPhone 2 made iPhone 1 a throwaway, and from then on to arguably iPhone 6 where maybe phones were more alike than different on critical metrics.

On the other hand your point is that current phones don't have much different between them. I held on to my iPhone 5 for 6-7 years so I think I have even better evidence for you than your resourceful friends.

I think you two are actually in agreement

I use a $12 phone from Walmart. I am certainly the exception though. I only know a few other people that use throw-away phones like mine. Most people I know have their entire life in their phone and would lose their minds if (when) their phone fails.

The actual quote is, "in the near future, cellphones are throwaways." Which is still disagreeable, but substantially different from the manufactured quote of "cellphones are throwaways." This isn't outright sham journalism, but it's not credible journalism either.

I'm struggling to imagine how you think leaving out "in the near future" changes the meaning of that sentence in any way.

Did I miss the part where he predicted a price crash in the smartphone industry? If not, what are you talking about?

Furthermore, Apple's entire business plan goes out the door if this does indeed take place.

> I'm struggling to imagine how you think leaving out "in the near future" changes the meaning of that sentence in any way.

You're really struggling to understand how a prediction about the future is different than the state of affairs today?

Unless you can identify specific things that he thinks will be changing in the future, yes. It sure doesn't seem like smartphones are becoming any less valuable or more expendable.

Obviously that's not possible because Vice doesn't give any context. Your line of thinking has me worried-- finding context shouldn't be left as an exercise to the reader.

One reading would be "cell phones should be considered fundamentally throwaway items" vs "for the foreseeable future, people will consider them throwaway."

I'm not sure the repairability of many types of electronic devices will be able to meaningfully survive into the future. The general trend in computing is to bring all the components together into a single module, as this improves power efficiency, latency, and bandwidth (e.g. going from DDR memory chips to stacked HBM chiplets connected to the processor by an interposer). Portability, and the aesthetics of thinner / lighter devices also creates a push towards more extensive integration. Repair increasingly means replacement.

Maybe the legislative solution we should be pursuing is longer mandatory warranties.

That said, in many cases a device fails due to a low value discrete component -- a resistor; a capacitor. This repair legislation would help here.

Most failures I've seen are either mechanical wear on a port, button or cable of some sort, glass panel damage or a power supply system not being built fully to spec because of cost cutting or stupidity. Also batteries wearing out due to use or more rarely, ssd storage drives wearing out due to usage. There is also 'glue & waterproofing wear' as the glue & rubber goes through multiple heat / cooling cycles and unsets, then water damage occurs.

Those issues will never be going away on some level. The chips themselves are usually the most reliable components, unless they are power management chips.

> Most failures I've seen are either mechanical wear on a port, button or cable of some sort

Eliminating ports seems to be some manufacturers' solution to this. There's no wear if it doesn't exist.

> There is also 'glue & waterproofing wear' as the glue & rubber goes through multiple heat / cooling cycles and unsets, then water damage occurs.

I wonder if in the future, the glass will just be hermetically welded to the case (glass-to-metal seal). No moving parts; no external adhesives; no possibly of getting into the device without cutting through it.

It would be cheaper getting new lawmakers (throw them away).

It is seriously insane viewpoint in an overcommercialized consumer frenzy environment destroying worker exploiting mass industrial insanity that the humanity exhibit nowadays.

What's next? Get a new car if someone scratches it? Get a new home if the window breaks? Get a new lawmaker if it says something dumb?

Lobby money. Legal bribery at work

This article is blogspam. The original article [1] is better and shows that the main objections were about security concerns.

[1] https://www.nhbr.com/nh-house-panel-votes-to-nix-right-to-re...

When people talk about non-renewable resources, the biggest of all is the workers' time that went into engineering and manufacturing the thing. You'll never get that back. You can always find more rare-earth atoms, at the worst they'll be sitting in some landfill.

You can also say you can always make more humans too...

This comment was typed on an iPhone 4s. It is ancient and is on its 4-5th screen, second ear microphone and second power button. I did all the repairs myself usually following ifixit website.

My phone was $7 / month during the two years that I was paying for it. That was a small fraction of the amount that the carrier is charging me for service. People who buy more expensive phones also tend to buy more expensive service plans. So the phone turns out not to be the significant cost component of cell service.

What, nobody mentioned fairphone?



You can vote with your dollars.

"Everything is disposable, even my constituents."

this day an age cellphones aren't getting much better from year to year. my iphone6 from 5 years ago still works great and hope it will continue to work great for the next 5 years. I don't want to throw away my cellphone, they're way too expensive for that.

Who's his opponent? Let's donate and make him a throwaway.

This is for a state. What's the status on a bill nation wide?

There's an ALEC talking point against this right-to-repair stuff. https://www.alec.org/tag/right-to-repair/

Alec, the "American Legislative Exchange Council," is a far-right-wing organization that feeds legislation to state legislators. Looks like this guy picked it up.

All you New Hampshire people are welcome to come south to Massachusetts where we've had our right-to-repair laws for years. But, horrors, you may have to pay sales tax if you pay one of our fine repair establishments for this service.

Or you can chuck your old phone in a roadside ditch along with your no-deposit-no-return beer cans.

Sad that the "live free or die" state can't pass simple regulation that gives consumers the freedom/right to repair.

That's a contortion. You can try to repair your phone already.

Its legislation to require manufacturers to make a more expensive, repairable device and provide instructional materials. Who's 'freedom' is that supporting?

From the article.

>The bill would have forced manufacturers such as Apple to share repair manuals and parts with independent repair stores. House members didn’t kill the bill, but sent it back to committee for a year of interim study, citing security concerns

Doesn't seem like they were forcing the manufacturers to make easier to repair devices to me but I also haven't read the text of the bill.

I wonder how much money Mr. Potucek got to make such a patently ridiculous argument?

It’s hilarious that the land of the free, the kingdom of capitalism has restrictions on right to repair while highly regulated market like the EU has no problem with it and most of the times sides with the consumers anyway. I won’t even mention Russia or China where you can do whatever the quack you want with your device in any of the countless shops... Dear Americans, I think you didn’t notice you lost your democracy and the republic to big business and lobbyists. And don’t fool yourselves that if Democrats win it will be better. Ironically, you really need to drain the swamp and make deep, systemic changes. I wish you great luck.

> the kingdom of capitalism has restrictions on right to repair

There are no such restrictions. There simply isn’t a mandate for repair. Consumers have shown limited preference for repairability over other factors.

The article is about "a big California farmers’ lobbying group" signing away rights on behalf of its members to John Deere. No government is blocking the right to repair, some companies are. Others aren't, but purchasers don't prioritize their products.

There is no law in the United States that blocks or restricts rights to repair.

The fact that it was possible is the problem. EU consumer laws make such agreements void. But I guess it’s a matter of mindset. Maybe that’s why I’m downvoted below zero :P

>The new iPhone 11 costs between $699 and $1,349. And it can be hard to find one at the moment. Google’s Pixel 4 costs between $799 and $999.

Vice is seemingly not biased at all. (They push the point that mobiles are not throwaways by choosing the most expensive mobiles as if they were the standard. Most people I know just buy the cheapest Android they can find; those are definitely throwaways)

About half of user in the U.S. use an iphone and a large portion of the other half use pixel or samsungs all of which are easily $400+ phones do I think your experience is atypical. (I'm guessing your friends are either young or thrifty)

And the reason for that is that the market for phones in the US is greatly distorted by carriers - the handsets themselves (which are dirt cheap compared to the service), subsidies in the past and pure market dominance.

Canada might be similar, but outside of NA, people know exactly how much they pay for the handset and how much they play for the service (which is 5-10 times cheaper for similar limits), and as a result, most people don’t actually buy a flagship phone.

In the US, carrier subsidies on phones haven't been a thing in like 3-4 years now. The carriers have moved everyone to installment plans, and when buying a new phone, it's laid out pretty clearly how much the device costs up front. They then give you the option to pay for the phone outright, or pay monthly for the hardware (on top of your service.)

Frankly, most people in my life, family, friends, etc, are using flagship phones. I know people who keep said devices for 4+ years, but I genuinely don't know anyone using throw-away cheap Android phones. Those people who keep their phones forever, balk at the prices of new iPhones, fully knowing the "nice" ones go for $1000 or more.

I don't think my experience here is atypical. A few years ago, the price of a phone was heavily abstracted by the carriers, but that really is not the case anymore.

Once the subsidies are gone, the main thing is the price of the plan - compared to which a flagship is small.

In many places in Europe, you can get reasonable monthly plans for ~$10; If you only use data, about half that. If you pay $1000 for 6 years of service, it puts the phone price in a completely different perspective than if you pay that for 18 months (which, last I checked US prices, was the case).

>Most people I know just buy the cheapest Android they can find; those are definitely throwaways

Well there are 100 Million iPhone users in the US (45% of the market). And the Representative that killed the Bill by requesting a year long study I'm sure has no conflicts of interest (Apple stock, Google Stock, hell no interest in the group that will be awarded the government contract to conduct the study)

Some mobile phones are throwaways, and others are not. When someone says that all mobile phones are throwaways that don't need to be repaired, it's valid to rebut their point by pointing out popular expensive phones that people would want to repair.

Most people I know buy expensive phones, and many of them are in need of repair.

> the cheapest Android they can find; those are definitely throwaways)

If you give a damn about the environment, I think it hardly matters how much it cost.

All publication are biased, one way or another (or in multiple different way)

This point is often overstated, so as to almost make it seem like shameless propaganda outlets like RT are equivalent to an actual journalism outfit with standards. Though I'm sure that's not how you meant it.

I think intent matters. It can be argued that any media is biased, in the sense that you literally cannot cover every possible angle, every possible fact, etc. But that is very different IMO from intentional bias.

I'll take your disgarded phones. I'm sure I can find a market.

> The new iPhone 11 costs between $699 and $1,349.

Nit: iPhone 11 tops out at $849. iPhone 11 Pro goes up to $1349.

If consumers value the ability to repair a device they will avoid buying non-repairable devices. The government need not get involved.

What if manufacturers collude to all reduce or eliminate the need to repair devices?

The barrier to enter the cell phone market is kinda high.

Or they will vote for laws that encourage repairable devices. Why do you want to reduce citizens to consumers?

When companies act unethically and make decisions that limit consumer choice and harm the environment, the government should most definitely get involved.

I am not so sure it works that way. Sometimes you need evolutionary jump. Like latent/subconscious demand is there but people have no idea they want something. Or the demand is there, but no big player serves it.

Most people don't care about this because mobiles for them are, indeed, throwaways. So, according to some, this should be written into law so we all are forced to care.

Most people can’t afford the unplanned expense of a device should it break. If it’s not repairable, by law, then it will be manufactured to last for a shorter period of time, compounding the problem.

I can’t use plastic utensils in California but I can use a disposable phone. Mind boggling.

> I can’t use plastic utensils in California

It’s not hard to?

The bill in question is just about manufacturers providing parts and manuals to repair shops. People who aren't phone manufacturers and don't repair their phones don't have to care about this at all. It doesn't affect them.

The only con of allowing people to fix the items they own is you don’t know the quality of the parts you’re replacing.

You’re going to have people who think they’re getting a good deal buy from AliExpress or Amazon, replace something like the battery, then have an explosion or fire. Goes on the news and next thing you know Samsung/Apple/Google get dragged through the mud because people see “Galaxy/iPhone/Pixel burns house down!” Now the company that made the phone has to do damage control. Reputation is everything.

If there were some sort of regulations in place to only allow replacement parts that meet safety guidelines, it would make it safer for right to repair. You can’t trust people to not cut corners on saving money to fix their phone.

I think that my generation - with teen years in late 80s to early 00s got spoiled on PC repair ability. And it shaped us about what can we expect. Same with buy computing device, install os of your choosing. The computers were just integrated enough so sizable modules were discreet, but they were running on well defined slots, the crypto was not developed enough to drm components, there were competing players in the market for different parts and repair was 99% of the time just replacing the defective part.

I doubt that many people re-soldered defective chip on a ram module.

The only way right now to ensure repairability is to legalize how phones should be assembled and basic architecture. The same way eu did with the charging port - although they didn't went after apple for some reason.

On the other hand moving to system on a chip makes sense the way semiconductor have developed.

The other alternative would be to set standards for recycling to make sure things get really recycled. This would probably drive up cost which then hopefully would make repairing more attractive.

The problem with repairability is that you must decide to what level. Replacing transistor in a chip has been impossible for 50 years. Replacing chip was possible 30 years ago. Right now we have soldiered on ram and storage in phones and glued displays.

I think that we should insist that parts are replacable - we split the phone into 10-15 parts. But even if I could rule by decree I am not sure I can make the right call what exactly is the right way.

At minimum devices should be able to be disassembled without high risk of destroying the device. Some phones are so complex with glue and flex connectors you might accidentally snag or snap something just by trying to look inside.

> The only way right now to ensure repairability is to legalize how phones should be assembled and basic architecture.

Which would prohibit further innovation and optimization.

I'd like to see smaller devices available. Many people would like phones with smaller screens that better fit their hands, which leaves even less room behind those screens for modular components and batteries.

I'm currently looking forward to the Purism phone, because it'll serve as a platform for Open Source innovation in small touchscreen interfaces. That doesn't mean I have any illusions that it'll be anywhere near as nice as a less modular phone, and I really have no interest in the modularity aspects.

I like the idea proposed elsewhere in this thread, of pushing for standards on recycling and then letting manufacturers innovate on how precisely to meet those standards.

It didn't prohibit innovation and optimisation on PC. You just have a few form factors and the motherboard has to have the appropriate dimensions. None of the connectors on a motherboard today fit any of the hardware that was current when the ATX standard came to be except maybe a ps/2 port and a headphone jack. Having half a dozen standard phone sizes seems reasonable, along with standard sockets for CPU, GPU, memory etc. At the small sizes of a cellphone it's quite possible you'll need a special device to actually replace components, but that would be acceptable. You should also have a standard battery connector so you could e.g. buy a super thick case and a 6Ah battery.

> It didn't prohibit innovation and optimisation on PC

And PCs don't have their architecture determined by legislation, so that further proves the point.

> Having half a dozen standard phone sizes seems reasonable, along with standard sockets for CPU, GPU, memory etc

There are a lot more possible sizes or form factors, CPU and GPU aren't necessarily separate, and memory is typically either soldered-down chips or built into one of the other chips depending on quantity. Separating any of those into removable boards will necessarily make phones larger, heavier, and otherwise suboptimal.

> You should also have a standard battery connector

Modern devices often don't use a single discrete battery; they distribute battery cells through a device anywhere they fit and wire them together.

Yes, but you're ignoring the fact that there were millions of PCs manufactured that weren't ATX, and could not be upgraded.

ATX wasn't a legally mandated standard.

There's little to no innovation anyway so I don't see why this is an issue.

Is it just our generation? My dad was born in the 40s and repaired all sorts of stuff himself. Our furnace, vacuum cleaners, computers, boat, cars, etc. I even helped him change the transmission on our Jeep when I was still in middle school. And take apart and reconstruct our boat's engine. I think its just that the 80s-90s were the last decades where things were repairable.

I specifically mentioned electronics. In the 90s assembling a PC was already like assembling a lego, that didn't require too much knowledge. And computers were usable enough with the internet to become indispensable part of our live.

> I doubt that many people re-soldered defective chip on a ram module.

What individuals can do to repair a device isn't particularly relevant to this discussion. The legislation seeks to force manufacturers to make repair manuals available to independent repair shops. It's fairly common for such establishments to have the tools and expertise to replace soldered components.

>The only way right now to ensure repairability is to legalize how phones should be assembled and basic architecture. The same way eu did with the charging port - although they didn't went after apple for some reason.

> On the other hand moving to system on a chip makes sense the way semiconductor have developed.

That's kind of the problem, right? Consumers demand higher performance, higher performance requires higher integration, and higher integration means less repairability.

> with teen years in late 80s to early 00s got spoiled on PC repair ability.

Given that things in general used to be more repairable than they are now, and that planned obsolescence is absolutely a thing, I highly doubt it.

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