EU regulators want 5 years of smartphone parts, much better batteries

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enlarge / Repairs to phones and tablets like Samsung’s would be possible for up to five years after they exit the market, if an EU proposal is implemented.

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European Commission regulators have suggested that smartphones and tablets sold there offer 15 different types of spare parts for at least five years, as part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce their environmental impact.

A draft regulation of “ecodesign requirements for mobile phones, cordless phones and slate tablets,” posted on Aug. 31, notes that phones and tablets are “often prematurely replaced by users” and “not adequately used or recycled” (i.e. say, junk drawer -ed) at the end of their lives. The cost is the energy and new materials extracted from the earth for new phones and non-recycled materials in homes. According to the Commission’s findings, extending the life of smartphones by five years – from their current average lifespan of two to three years – would take 5 million cars off the road.

The most notable proposed solution (listed in Annex II) is for telephone manufacturers and sellers to make “professional repairers” available for five years from the date a telephone is withdrawn from the market. Those repairers would have access to parts such as the battery, display, cameras, charging ports, mechanical buttons, microphones, speakers and hinges (including for foldable phones and tablets).

Phone companies are also given a choice: either make replacement batteries and back covers available to phone owners, or design batteries that meet minimum standards. Those still cover 83 percent of its rated capacity after 500 full charge cycles and then 80 percent after 1,000 full charge cycles. For example, Apple claims its iPhones are designed to maintain 80 percent capacity after 500 charge cycles.

Smartphone buyers will also be able to access displays, SIM and memory card holders, microphones, charging ports and hinges under the proposed regulations. And for all those parts, repair instructions should be available for up to seven years after the last day of device marketing, with relatively open systems for professional repairers to register and access. The repair instructions should also be quite comprehensive, including exploded views, printed circuit and wiring diagrams, if required, and access to the software required to authorize locked parts.

There is much more to the proposed regulations, both in terms of repair and reliability. Of particular note is a requirement that companies provide security updates for at least five years, “functionality updates” for three years, and both are offered two to four months after the public release of security patches or “an update of the same operating system … on each other.” product of the same brand.” For Android vendors, this would be a seismic shift in software support.

European smartphone regulation has progressed steadily in recent years, with initiatives such as France’s recoverability rating and an EU-wide rollout of USB-C by 2024. But the Commission’s draft regulation would go even further than the US’s most aggressive targets. restore the right to movement. Repair bills introduced at the state and federal levels typically require manufacturers to supply only the same parts, tools, and manuals as their own repair technicians or authorized stores. Apple, Samsung and Google have recently moved to offer more parts and repair options, but not close to the scope of the proposed Commission regulations.

Feedback on the proposals will be collected from now until September 28. A version of these proposals is scheduled for approval in the fourth quarter of 2022, with most of them written to take effect 12 months after adoption.

It’s still early for comment, but manufacturers aren’t thrilled about mandatory repair considerations.

Tech trade group Digital Europe told the Financial Times that “potential overproduction, subsequent storage and destruction of spare parts” would lead to waste and higher prices for customers.

Xiaomi’s Dutch branch provided feedback on the broader goals of the EC initiative in January 2021. compatible with all serviced versions of the operating system.”

Xiaomi also stated that repairs “must fall within our authorized repair network and use original spare parts” to ensure “quality and reliability”. Providing repair parts and manuals to “outside professional repairers whose level of technical skill, repair time and cost, and success rate” are unknown would pose “serious risks to consumers in terms of quality, safety and security”.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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