Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Jul 2017 17:07 UTC
In the News

"We must reinstate the reparability of all products put on the market," said Parliament's rapporteur Pascal Durand MEP: "We have to make sure that batteries are no longer glued into a product, but are screwed in so that we do not have to throw away a phone when the battery breaks down. We need to make sure that consumers are aware of how long the products last and how they can be repaired".

Parliament wants to promote a longer product lifespan, in particular by tackling programmed obsolescence for tangible goods and for software.

This is a very noble goal, but I am afraid that in many product segments, this ship has sailed. Does anybody honestly expect, for instance, smartphone makers to go back to screwed cases and removable batteries? I would love if they did, but I just don't see it happening.

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Let's go sub-system by sub-system.

Rechargeable battery:

Rechargeable battery has a life of maybe 500 recharge cycles (at the most). For one using the device extensively requiring a daily recharge, this could mean replacing the battery after 500 days (or less) - or "trowing-out" the device!

For cell/smart phones, a removable back-cover and a non-glued battery does the trick. Up to now, the battery has been user-replaceable in all the cell/smart phones I have purchased since the first one. Non-user replaceable battery is one key reason I have so far stayed away from iPhones (the price being another one).

Over the last couple of years, notebooks with non-user replaceable batteries are become more and more common. One example, the Lenovo T4x0s "ultrabook" now have both batteries, front and back, non-user replaceable since the T460s model introduced last year. I am pretty certain that with some clever design, it would still be possible to have user-replaceable batteries in all current ultrabooks.


Displays can crack and this is a limitation of having a glass sheet in them. There has been a move toward "bezel-less" displays. Such displays look fantastic yet the design makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to replace it when it has suffered damage. A design allowing easy shop replacement of the display could still be possible - if this was a requirement.


Over the last few years, there has also been a shift to soldered RAM chips, soldered FLASH chips, fragile "connect-once" connectors, and many other improvements from a manufacturer's view point. Chip manufacturing and smarter device drivers have, to some extent, diminish the need for replacement. How long should the "weakest" component on the motherboard be expected to last - 2 years, 5 years, more?


The challenge is that corporations generally do not do what is right - unless forced to do so by financial incentives and/or regulations.

Will the EU "win" this battle? It is hard to say and I wish them good luck for our planet's shake.

Reply Score: 3

dionicio Member since:

Agree. After a dropout, batteries charge-discharge behavior risks overheating. [Forget life expectancy.] No silicon logic to oversee this. SHOULD be replaceable.

BADGE Merchandising chains doesn't go all the way down to places where 2nd or 3rd owners are last users. SHOULD be standard.

Reply Parent Score: 3