The Right To Repair Thread

We have been discussing this in multiple threads previously, but the “movement” around it seems to be accelerating of late with this being the latest…

I’m not going to completely weigh in at the moment as my own views are varying. I will say though that this seems likely headed to protracted litigation. And FWIW all of the vendors that we deal with are opposed.

And before you attribute that to them just being profit first, there is a strong case to be made that one of the big touted potential benefits by advocates of this of being more eco friendly is most definitely open to debate and could conflict with other efforts by companies to be more green.

And yes our custom devices would be affected according to our legal counsel

EU: Smartphones Must Have User-Replaceable Batteries by 2027 | PCMag

Honestly, my favorite cell phones I’ve owned with the exception of one have had easily replaceable batteries, ie. removable without having to crack open the case, or by just popping off an easy to remove back cover. I get that it’s a little more restrictive in design, and waterproofing at that point is all but impossible, but as the advancement of processing power is finally starting to slow in general, and phones are lasting longer, batteries are usually the first things to go out.

Now, do I think this should be legally regulated vs the open market demanding it? I’m less sure about that. Granted, obviously my choices don’t ever seem to push the open market.

There is another aspect of this, and by all means call me paranoid, you can no longer remove the battery. I think intelligence agencies might have something to do with that.

I’m sure they are happy with it, but imo the more likely reason is just that Apple sells more phones if the user can’t easily or cheaply replace an aging battery.

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Actually the truth goes slightly deeper than this: providing reliable, on-demand current to the CPU is the prime determinant of processing clocks and stability. For mobile devices, power delivery remains a huge design constraint for board-level engineering and performance tuning.

That is why Apple’s iPhone “batterygate” occurred—it is not so much planned obsolescence, but simply Apple has very tight tolerances for its CPU/OS behaviour (eg. boost clocks for responsive UX). As the battery weakens, clocks simply need to be reduced to ensure the same consistency to the end-user.

Now of course, do I think Apple and other OEMs hugely benefit from the 2-3 year/1000 charge cycle degradation period? Oh yes, but they shouldn’t take all the flak. :stuck_out_tongue:


well, yes, but that only furthers the point that if we just replaced the batteries easily with newer ones, the processors could actually chug along quite nicely for a longer period of time.

Someone convinced them about that, and it goes for all Android phones that I know of. I used to carry an extra battery just in case I ran out. Then a 20 second switch and back in business again. Can’t be done now.


Oh yeah, totally agree. I was just chiming in because most people tend to think of batteries only as a device/screen-on time kind of thing. Whereas in actuality, it’s central to overall performance consistency, and imho, longterm better for the board components as well (power spikes and stress are the prime component killers :wink: ).

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Sorry, but I just don’t buy that it isn’t down to greed and/or laziness.

It’s more profitable and easier for them to glue and then seal batteries in.

And I believe planned obsolesce is happening. They don’t do it directly, as they know the legal trouble they could get into. But they certainly don’t mind making it very appealing to get a new device after 2-3 years due to them having poor battery life or breaking somehow.

It is, on the whole, better for the environment. I mean, the Note 7 fiasco could have been very environmentally and financially friendly if they’d just had to ship out new batteries to everyone. But no, they had to recall the entire devices and scrap them.

Of course, the ways to be more environmentally friendly can be done in a way that causes more harm, and I can see companies using those methods as excuses not to change or worse, maliciously complying.

As much as I sometimes lament the EU, their regulation of industry has been good for consumers and sometimes the environment. We’d possibly still have disparate cable types of it weren’t for them.

tl;dr: Things like easily replaceable batteries were great (convenient and better for the environment) and I want them back.

And to that point we have been told repeatedly OEMS and it matches our own experience as well that certain aspects of thermal and overall performance management are easier in a “sealed” system.

Not to mention that it also enables thinner and other device design goals such as water resistance.

It absolutely still applies that every design/feature choice inherently involves tradeoffs in something as complex as a modern smartphone.

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But how many of these devices need that better thermal performance and/or ingress protection?

I’d strongly argue that almost all consumer devices don’t. Certainly not at the expense of the environment and consumer accessibility.

Again, excuses because the current setup makes them more money.

“need” is a loaded question with only highly subjective and or biased responses. And I think you are discounting almost completely design requirements made by product managers based on what they believe customers/the market want.

Not naming names, but one OEM a few years back told me about the blowback they got on the blogs when one of their devices didn’t have rated water or dust resistance their competitor had and that negatively impacted sales. And the fact that only a subset of the customer base actually needed that didn’t matter. TLDR the next version did, but that cost of having a smaller but sealed in battery.

And cynicism about greed has limits as the larger reality is that they have to compete in the market.

And argue all you want about it, but water resistance is both something customers want AND requires design accommodations to achieve if other requirements are present as well such as making a thin and/or lightweight device, something that customers are equally vocal in their desire for.

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Naturally, but at the time, same any company that can design a power delivery system that is both robust and easily serviceable, should be rewarded, no? :wink:

Now that company can take the market.

I like the EU ruling because it’s forcing a rethink of mobile device design. Generally speaking, these kinds of paradigm shifts have positive knock-on effects, because it brings out design revisions from engineers previously discarded because they didn’t ‘fit’ with the current business process.

If it’s actually important, there they are. If enough people vote with their wallets then more options will appear.

But we want the super-popular and feature-filled smartphones suitable for showing off at Starbucks? Too bad, exchangeable batteries aren’t that popular. The market rules and tiny niche desires lose (unless you can force it via legislation). :man_shrugging:

Me, I’ll pay the $70 out-of-warranty fee to Apple if I ever need a new battery. Hasn’t happened yet but the option is there if it does and it’s not that expensive IMHO.

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:slight_smile: quote=“Marty, post:13, topic:1379”]
Naturally, but at the time, same any company that can design a power delivery system that is both robust and easily serviceable, should be rewarded, no? :wink:

That line of thinking is the fast way to totally frustrating an engineer…:slight_smile:

As they beat in to you from day one when you go in to engineering, if you give me five design requirements/goals, you can have one goal hit 100% if you are ok with the rest being ignored, or three of the five being mostly hit, or five of the five all being poorly done.

In all the years I’ve been an engineer that axiom still holds.

PS: @Marty even things like the adhesive used can alter thermal curves and/or other knock on effects such as signal transmission

PPS: I do give you points for optimism though, as alas my cynicism is right there with @Tams though it comes from different sources.

Hehe, I think we may actually agree more than you think. It’s more comment about the macro landscape:

When an industry levels into years-long maturity, it becomes stagnant mostly due to sunk costs and economies of scale. At the same time, the new design ideas keep piling, creating ‘latent potential’ that need a dam-breaking moment to be realised.

For example, the ATX motherboard standard has hit that immoveable pedestal. Countless ideas for better placement, routing, user-serviceability have been proposed. All have sunk because nobody could guarantee industry-wide adoption.

Enter regulation. Standards changes typically are mixed bag that often hinder and much as they harm the stated objective—but the one thing they are good at is kicking all the major players into new gear.

Ok so that touches upon something I actually do believe which is that constraints are what often lead to breakthroughs eg. the touchscreen being the only viable alternative for input/control on a screen centric device

However this is where I go full on @Tams :laughing: With the sole exception of regulation being sometimes necessary for improving safety, it never drives innovation IMHO

Although not an engineer I can sort of attest to that with an anecdote. A friend worked on Ericsson Mobile with developing their Symbian phones. When the iPhone appeared I said something along the line of “having your work cut out for you”,
He laughed. It is a horrible phone, sound quality is underwhelming, nobody will buy it. Well, well, well. They were focused on bringing the best “phone experience” to consumers, not the best “device experience”.

That’s one reason why there are regulators though.

To prevent these decisions based purely on profits and to ensure a fair playing field for companies that do abide by the regulations and laws.

People writing blogs should not be the ones dictating how, well, anything goes.

My wife is one of those people where water and dust resistance is extremely important. She takes her phone to the beach usually weekly with our kids during the summer and wants her phone on hand for both emergency situations and just for photos. For her, a sealed waterproof device is well worth the trade off of not having a replaceable battery. We replace her phone usually once every 2 years, sometimes 3, but the amount of times she’s gotten them wet would have doubled that replacement amount if they weren’t waterproof.

The main problem with all of these options is they aren’t all that great otherwise. If you want a good camera, you need to look elsewhere, or a high end processor, or a larger screen. You might get one of the three along with the replaceable battery, but not all 3. The processor is probably the biggest part I don’t want to trade off, mainly because the reason to stick with a replaceable battery is to keep the phone longer by just replacing the battery when it ages. A better processor now will be an average processor in 2-3 years, and a bad one a couple years after that, so will I really want to keep the average processor that becomes poor in a few years?