Through iFixit, both Google and Samsung are making Pixel smartphone parts more readily available to DIYers. Parts for the Pixel 2 through the Pixel 6 Pro will be made available later this year, Google said in a blog post announcing the news.
The inclusion of early second-generation hardware is impressive given that Google has stopped supporting the devices with software updates. The parts of future Pixel models will be replaceable as well. In the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and EU countries where the Pixel is available, the program is available.
Repair kits for the battery, display, and camera modules will be available from Google, but the company also suggests that other components will be repairable in the future. The Bluetooth antenna and the USB-C charging port, both of which Samsung provides a fix for in its respective kits, are likely to become swappable parts in the future. For those who aren’t already tech-savvy, the Pixel kits will come with tools like screwdriver bits and spudgers, which you may or may not already have at home.
To avoid the hassle of disassembling your smartphone, Google recommends that you seek out a qualified professional in your area who can repair your device quickly and affordably. In the United States and Canada, the company has partnered with uBreakiFix, while other regions have their own repair facilities.
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that this was long overdue. I destroyed my Pixel 3 by dropping it in front of Marilyn Monroe’s Palm Springs home. When my phone’s screen needed to be repaired, Google required that I ship it to a Texas warehouse and wait there for a few weeks. Because I cover smartphones and maintain a library of devices, I was able to use a backup phone during that time. The fact that there is a local option for those times when you desperately need a working smartphone is comforting to know that people don’t have my gadget privilege.
The gadget industry as a whole has been moving toward reclaiming repairability for consumers. As previously mentioned, Samsung has partnered with iFixit to produce Galaxy repair kits, and both Apple and Microsoft made similar announcements earlier this year. At the very least, these developments represent progress in the industry. Google has also announced a Chromebook repair program for schools that are still using older devices.
While empowering people is certainly an objective, it appears to be secondary to promoting the eco-friendliness of the various companies involved. “Just one of the several steps we’re taking to help you make more sustainable choices,” Google writes in a blog post about this announcement.
It’ll be interesting to see if the self-repair trend takes off once the repair kits are available, and if that means more users are delaying device upgrades.