The phone’s mmWave antenna module.
☕ Good morning! Another Monday, another entire pot of coffee consumed. Oops!
Self-repair or self-preservation?
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Late last week came the news that Google is joining Apple and Samsung and announcing a self-repair program for Pixels.
- Sort of? Apple’s announcement on 17 Nov 2021 hasn’t led to anything yet. It’s been about half a year since it was announced but that doesn’t mean you can buy parts to fix an iPhone yourself.
- More on the Apple situation here.
- The Google situation is more of the same: Google’s self-repair is a long way from self-repair — it doesn’t have a name or an explicit release date, though at least we know where it will be active, which is basically anywhere a Pixel is sold, and that it’s with iFixit.
It’s topical for me because my sister has had a Google Pixel 4a 5G, like me, for about 14 months, but while mine has been pretty solid, hers started having charging issues and randomly turned itself off, until it died:
- A repair shop in Australia told her, that a “pin on the motherboard” somehow “connected the charging port” causing the phone not to turn on. Which, er …sounds unusual at best.
- But the perfect thing to fix yourself, right?
Anyway, my colleague Matt Milano, who’s joined us in the last few weeks, points out that, uh, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and Google aren’t doing this to help you fix your phone. They’re doing it because it’s more about self-preservation than customer service. Quotes from Matt:
- “Microsoft announced it would begin investigating self-repair options, followed by Apple in 2021, Samsung in March 2022, and Google in early April. In the case of Microsoft, it was responding to pressure from shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. Interestingly, despite acquiescing to pressure, Microsoft has only committed to publishing the findings of its investigation by early May 2022, with the goal of making self-repair options available by the end of the year. Similarly, neither Samsung, Apple, nor Google has committed to specific release dates.
- “Taken together, these various factors paint a picture of companies being reluctantly forced to embrace self-repair, or making the decision in an effort to head off legislation that could be far stricter than they would like and force significant design changes to their products in order to comply. Either way, it’s clear these efforts are not being made out of any real concern for customers or the environment.”
- Too true!
- It may well be a good thing but this announcement followed by months of waiting shows us that none of these companies are very serious about self-repair.
- And it’s somewhat of a shame that iFixit is involved in the marketing loop.
- I really like iFixit, but it shouldn’t be part of this sometime-soon-maybe-we’ll-tell-you-we-promise game.
♠️ It looks like OnePlus is now borrowing the names of its phones from Oppo: OnePlus Ace? (Android Authority).
🍎 Mark Gurman says beta versions of iOS 16 are “full” of references to Apple’s mixed-reality headset with iPhone interaction a key component, which could be groundwork ahead of a later announcement? Plus a bunch of iOS 16 features previewed (Bloomberg).
🪁 Could high-flying kites power your home? (Knowable Magazine). (One comment: “This will never take off…”)
👉 This is a really interesting one: The long shadow of the ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam. Nigeria’s tech ecosystem is maturing and becoming part of many large companies, but cybersecurity concerns mean many are unwilling to forget its fraudulent past, with all sorts of ramifications (Wired).
🤔 “What in Harry Potter did you think was magic but later realized was just British?” (r/askreddit). Answers include: Prefects, Houses in schools, Night buses, Being punted across a river…”
Have a great start to your week,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor