Federal government wants to force smartphone manufacturers to offer longer updates

The production of new smartphones puts a strain on resources and old devices often end up as electronic waste. The German government therefore supports plans by the European Commission to hold manufacturers accountable with longer support.

At the beginning of 2021, a new law came into force in France that forces manufacturers to indicate the repairability of their smartphones before purchase. The repairability index is part of a “right to repair” movement that has now also arrived in Europe. The EU Commission also plans to impose new requirements on manufacturers to also indicate the longevity of devices with a new energy label. In addition, software updates and spare parts are to be available for smartphones for up to five years.

Updates for seven years

According to the online portal “Heise”, the German government’s plans now go one step further. According to these, smartphone and tablet manufacturers are to be obliged to provide updates and spare parts for seven years. These demands go much further than is currently the practice in the industry. Apple provides its iPhones with updates for up to five years, but usually it is rather less.

Android manufacturers usually only offer updates for high-end devices for several years. At least Samsung, HMD Global (Nokia) and now the Chinese manufacturer Vivo have committed to three years of updates. Google itself also supplies updates for three years for all its Pixel devices.

Affordable and available replacement parts

Not only does the German government demand that spare parts be available for a longer period of time. The spare parts should also have “reasonable” prices, which should be made clear and not increased retrospectively. Currently, it is the practice of many manufacturers to supply spare parts only to authorized repair stores. Often, the parts are also only available for a limited period of time and at horrendous prices. An original replacement screen for the OnePlus 8 Pro costs about 300-350 Euros – with a device price of about 600 Euros.

According to Heise, the German government is also in favor of stricter rules for delivery times. It supports the European Commission’s plans to require spare parts delivery within five days.

Sources:

  • European Commission
  • Heise

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