Europe wants iFixit-style product repairability ratings

The European Parliament has approved recommendations for companies to make devices easier to repair and even add labels showing an iFixit-like “score.” They also want batteries, LEDs and other critical parts to be removable and not glued in, “so that we do not have to throw away a phone when the battery breaks down,” wrote Green MP and author Pascal Durand. This is exactly what groups like Greenpeace and iFixit have been demanding for years, but at this point, it’s just a series of recommendations and not law yet.

Some of the specific rules it’s advocating are:

  • “Robust, easily repairable products”
  • Automatic warranty extensions if the repair takes longer than a month
  • Member-state incentives to produce long lasting and easily repairable products
  • Giving consumers the option to go to an independent repairer
  • Cheaper prices for critical spare parts
  • Removable, not glued, batteries, LEDs and other essential parts

The report also recommends that tests and a definition of “planned obsolescence” be developed, along with dissuasive measures for disposable products. It also urges firms to issue software patches for longer periods of time, so that consumers won’t chuck them into landfills when they become obsolete. Finally, it’s calling for a “voluntary European label” that notes a product’s durability, eco features, and upgradeability — something like iFixit’s “repairability score.”

The LG V20 is one of the few high-end smartphones with a removable battery (AOL)

Besides discouraging waste and aiding consumers, the EU does have some selfish reasons for suggesting the measures. Most electronics goods are made outside of Europe, often in Asia or the US, and have little benefit to the EU economy. Making devices easier to fix by consumers and local repair shops, on the other hand, would create jobs in second-hand sales and repairs.

Some of the recommendations would be tough to implement — Apple, for instance, has never made an iPhone with a removable battery and never will. Its reason, which also applies to many other companies and devices, is that gluing the battery into place allows it to make a thinner phone with a longer battery life.

Also, it might be hard to convince consumer-product companies to lower the prices of parts, which are a reliable profit generator. On top of that, without incentives, many tech companies might balk at providing software updates to ten-year-old products.

On the other hand, it’s not impossible to make decent devices with removable batteries, as LG has shown recently. And having replaceable batteries certainly would have made Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall easier to pull off.

Nevertheless, it’s a start. Citing a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, the report notes that “77 percent of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones … but they are discouraged by the cost of the repairs and the level of service provided.” As mentioned, the legislation is not yet the law. However, the EU Parliament has now sent a strong signal that it would likely pass such legislation into law if the European Commission were to put it up for a vote. If that happened, the recommendations would become obligations, and companies would have to change their ways.

Via: FrAndroid

Source: European Parliament

Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget giveaway: Win a Product Red edition iPhone 7 courtesy of Speck!

There’s been plenty of chatter lately about the new Product Red edition iPhone 7, which finally breaks free from the muted metallic lineup with its brilliantly colored exterior. From what I’ve seen around NYC, though, you’d be well advised to protect any new phone or suffer the all-too-ubiquitous cracked screen. Case and bag maker Speck has just the thing to protect and show off this brightly hued handset, its clear Presidio iPhone 7 case.

This protective shell cleared the 8-foot drop test with honors, offers scratch resistance and its custom-engineered material resists UV yellowing, since many users tend to walk around with their phones out and, you know, beach selfies. Speck has provided us with one of these enviable iPhone 7 handsets and a clear Presidio case to keep it safe for one lucky reader this week. You get up to three chances at winning this prize by entering in the Rafflecopter widget below. Don’t let that stop you from making a purchase, however, the Product Red edition profits go towards raising awareness and fighting HIV/AIDS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive one (1) Special Edition Product Red Apple iPhone 7 and one (1) Speck Presidio clear iPhone case.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Engadget and AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until April 5th at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!

Engadget RSS Feed