iFixit Terminates Self-Repair Deal With Samsung


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The gadget surgeons at iFixit have been working to support tech repairability for years. In 2022, iFixit teamed up with Samsung to provide official smartphone repair kits and guides, allowing smartphone buyers to fix their aging gear instead of throwing it away. However, the company says it has been unable to make this program work due to Samsung’s obsession with glue and high component prices. If you need replacement parts for Samsung devices, iFixit will still have some. In fact, you might get a better deal after the partnership is kaput next month.

The Samsung Repair Hub partnership began with great fanfare. iFixit already sold various replacement parts for phones, including Samsung devices, but the deal gave iFixit access to official components. It was also well-equipped to produce repair guides so people could use those parts to fix their devices quickly and easily. Issues began appearing soon after the announcement, though.

To start, Samsung only offered replacement parts for select phones, and it was slow to roll out parts for new ones. It also insisted on providing some components only as bundles with other parts. In general, Samsung’s increasing use of glue to stick phones together has been an issue for repairability and hindered the Repair Hub program. For example, iFixit calls out Samsung’s decision to only offer replacement batteries glued to an expensive display. Instead of spending $20-30 on just a battery, buyers had to spend $160 or more for a battery and a display they probably didn’t need. Batteries degrade over time, so swapping in a new lithium-ion cell is among the most common repairs.

iFixit says that the high prices encouraged some Samsung users to upgrade their phones instead of repairing them, contrary to iFixit’s mission. The company had to conclude that Samsung’s lip service for repairability was not sufficient to support the Repair Hub. As a result, the partnership will end in June 2024. The site will no longer get official parts directly from Samsung, but it will continue to stock a variety of components for Samsung hardware, both official and aftermarket. The guides iFixit produced under the program will remain online but won’t make any new repair manuals for Samsung devices.

genuine battery

Samsung only provided “genuine” batteries glued to an expensive screen.
Credit: iFixit

Samsung seems more interested in the positive PR spin of announcing consumer-friendly initiatives than in supporting those programs. iFixit notes that it previously supported Samsung with its Galaxy Upcycle initiative, which would have unlocked old phones so owners could install any software they wanted. However, Samsung quickly soured on the idea and only released a neutered version. The iFixit self-repair program seems to have suffered the same fate, ignored and unsupported by leadership that couldn’t see the value without profit. And that’s not a good look for Samsung, which has spent the last several years increasing the length of software support for its phones. What good is extended support if it’s not economically viable to repair your phone?

iFixit promises to continue its quest to make repairs, not replacement, the default for consumer technology. It currently offers more replacement parts than ever before and is working to expand repairability scores to more product categories.

View original source here.

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