Another month and a another round of new mobile phone announcements and we are not even half way into September! Every month of every year there seems to be newer and (disputably) better featured phones hitting the market. It could even be world wide that a 100 new designs hit the market each month. Most of these phones are barely designed to last a few years and notoriously difficult to get parts for and repair.
The most recent launch this month was the iPhone 11 and variants. With each release of a new iPhone I wish and hope for a new radical future for the phone, one where they build into the phone longevity through more modular design where parts are easily accessible and replaceable by anyone with basic technical know how. I was hoping to see an announcement or even some fineprint saying ‘we’ve made the iPhone modular and repairable’! So with anticipation, knowing this would be extremely unlikely, followed the announcements, checked over the press releases and features carefully only to not see those words. It’s extremely unlikely to happen, but hey doesn’t mean we should give up!
Why is the ‘modular and repairable’ so important? Well, simple, you should always have the right to repair even if you don’t want to do it yourself. You splash out some big dollars on a shiny new phone you should be able to keep it for as long as you wish right? Think of it like buying a care and you can’t do the oil change yourself and most third party care service centres can’t do it for you as the filter is not available to them. Worse you need to replace the worn tyres and no one has the original tyres from the manufacture so you must buy possibly inferior quality tyres and try your luck. You go to your car manufacture and they tell you they no longer support the car as well for any repair! So you are left high and dry. We should all exercise our right to repair and also our right to have items repaired by any person or business they see fit.
Rant over, let’s move onto a company that does have you and your right to repair in mind! This company is called Fairphone and they have just released the Fairphone 3. On their website you’ll find the words ‘modulare and repairable design’! It has the latest Android 9 operating system and all the parts are available to buy off their website. These parts most owners can also replace themselves. It doesn’t stop there, they also go all out to ensure that all the materials used were sourced from suppliers that are not harming people or the planet (see their website for full details, its quite interesting). Well done to Fairphone for going all out to make such a great phone. Sure, its not up there entirely with the wiz bang features on the iPhone 11, but for the vast majority of users the Fairphone 3 will be a step up from their existing phone and they can look forward to years and years of use. Oh and the Fairphone is almost half the price of the iPhone 11. Ifixit, the teardown tech company just did a teardown review on the new Fairphone 3 and rated at 10/10 for repairability. Great for the end user and great for the environment.
In future posts we’ll go over some other alternative phone options that show a lot of promise. These ones are a bit out there but certainly worth checking back here to read about them.