May 26, 2022

Apple proved last year that it can still surprise when it announced a self-service repair plan. The offer is still limited, and the company, as always, encourages users to take their products in for repairs rather than causing additional damage to them. However, this marks a major turnaround for a company that usually kills self-repair.

This morning, Samsung announced its approach to this category. A new program launched for Galaxy S20, S21 and Tab S7+ owners will provide tools, parts and repair guides for things like the display, rear windows and charging port. In the future, the company plans to add new phones to the lineup. I suspect we won’t see folding display panels added to the list due to their relative complexity, but time will tell.

Interestingly, this news suggests that Samsung is working with teardown specialists from iFixit. There isn’t much digging at Apple, though the iPhone maker has been a bit quiet about its repair issues over the years. Paying tribute to Apple’s decision last year, the site noted, “Apple has finally realized that many of us have the technical know-how on how we can fix our stuff.”

Regarding the Samsung deal, iFixit CEO Kyle Weins said, “We are excited to partner with Samsung to help them develop DIY parts solutions and repair know-how. When you fix your device, you are helping the planet.”

The latter is certainly a big draw in press coverage related to the news. In recent years, Samsung has made a lot of noise about sustainability, including reducing packaging and using more recycled materials in its devices. Of course, the surest way to get rid of e-waste is to simply make and buy less electronics. Custom repairs, if performed correctly, can extend the life of existing products.

A heavy shadow on all of this is likely to be legislation passed in both the national and state senate to empower consumers. The introduction of these services can be seen – at least in part – as a proactive defense against possible legislation. Essentially, this is something that companies can point to to show that they are truly on the consumer side.

The service will appear this summer.

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