Motorola has announced that it will begin selling repair kits for its own devices and has partnered with iFixit to do so. In doing so, it’s become the first smartphone manufacturer to openly support the right to repair.
Modern electronics manufacturers are often fundamentally hostile to the idea that you should be able to repair electronics you’ve already paid for. It’s an attitude on display in a thousand different ways, from the way John Deere tries to prevent farmers from performing tractor maintenance to the extremely user-hostile design of Apple’s MacBook keyboards. Apple, at least, has been getting a crash course in why over-engineering products within a micrometer of sanity can be a bad idea. Apple has revised the MacBook keyboard twice, and neither revision actually solves the underlying problem — a single grain of dust can jam the keyboard. Since the keys can’t be removed and the keyboard assembly can’t be cleanly replaced, fixing a problem you could solve with a key remover and a pair of tweezers on machines built by non-trillion dollar companies now requires physically replacing the entire keyboard assembly.
But it’s not just Apple. The FTC had to sharply warn companies like Microsoft and Sony this year that they weren’t actually allowed to tell consumers that opening the console would void the warranty. Both firms have shipped stickers (which remain on tens of millions of devices) to precisely that effect. Sometimes these steps are taken to push consumers into buying brand-new products, sometimes to induce them to use the manufacturer’s own services. But either way, the one thing you aren’t supposed to do is fix the hardware yourself or pay someone else to do it that won’t be handing Apple, Microsoft, or Sony any money for the privilege. Except now, there’s a single company taking a different stance.
In a blog post discussing the alliance, iFixit has unveiled their new Motorola OEM Fix Kits:
That screenshot is from the iFixit store, where they’re selling kits focused on screen replacement and battery swaps. Those are almost certainly the two most common kinds of failures for which someone might use a kit of this sort, and there are still certain kinds of problems that would necessitate sending the device in to Motorola (customers have an option to do that, as well).
It’s a great step forward to see a company voluntarily embracing this idea. Hopefully, Motorola won’t be the last. Kits appear to be available for the Moto Z, Droid Turbo 2, Z Play, G5 Plus, Z Force, X Pure, and G4/G4 Plus.
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