Google has officially launched a self-repair program for its latest flagship phones, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. The company is partnering with iFixit to provide genuine replacement parts and tools to allow users to fix common issues like cracked screens and worn out batteries on their own. However, while the program does promote repairability, the high pricing of parts has raised some concerns.
Pixel 8 Repair Parts Now Available, But Pricier Than Pixel 7
After announcing the program last month, Google has now opened its Pixel 8 parts store, making displays, batteries, charging ports, rear camera modules and more available for users to purchase. The parts come with step-by-step repair guides to walk DIYers through the process.
However, teardown specialists iFixit have pointed out that replacement parts for the Pixel 8 series cost significantly more than those for last year’s Pixel 7 phones. For example:
|Pixel 8 Price
|Pixel 7 Price
|Display and Battery Combo
This has led to some criticism over the pricing. Nonetheless, having official repair options available is still seen as a step forward for repairability compared to other brands like Apple.
Right to Repair Advocates Welcome Program But Question Pricing
Right to repair advocates have welcomed Google’s program as supporting users’ rights to fix their own devices. Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, said it will let Pixel owners “keep their phones running longer, reducing e-waste in the process.”
However, Wiens did note the high prices for some Pixel 8 parts compared to last year’s models. He speculated this could be due to the more advanced components required for the Pixel 8’s increased camera, memory, battery and charging specs.
Other publications like Ars Technica and Android Police also questioned the unexpectedly high pricing. Android Police noted the cost of many parts is now on par with iPhone components sold through Apple’s Independent Repair Provider program.
Nonetheless, right to repair advocates seem cautiously optimistic this is a sign of shifting attitudes, with manufacturers beginning to facilitate user device repairs even for premium flagship phones.
Parts Expected To Be Available For 7 Years, Meeting New Standards
Another key detail revealed with the Pixel 8 parts launch is Google’s commitment to keeping the components available for purchase for up to 7 years after the phone’s release. This meets new repairability standards enacted in places like France and Canada which require OEMs to supply parts for 5-7 years.
iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens praised this policy, saying it sets a “new high bar” for other brands. Component availability has often been a pain point when trying to repair older devices. With Google guaranteeing parts supply for nearly a decade, it should greatly improve the repairability lifespan of Pixel 8 series phones.
What Repairs Are Covered Under the Program?
Google’s parts store allows DIY replacement of the Pixel 8’s display/battery, rear camera module, charging port flex cable, SIM card tray, and loudspeaker. The available tools include opening picks, spudgers, precision bit drivers and spare screws.
More advanced component-level repairs like logic board removal or soldering are still not feasible for the average user. But by providing screen, battery and camera parts – the components most likely to break or wear out – Google’s program covers the most common Pixel failure points. iFixit notes replacing these modules is now possible without fully disassembling the phone.
Each part listing also includes a PDF guide with step-by-step directions to walk users through the repair process. For those less confident attempting phone surgery themselves, Google still recommends visiting an authorized repair center to have the work done professionally. Nonetheless, skilled DIYers now have the option to fix many Pixel issues on their own terms.
Why Is Phone Repairability Important?
Allowing consumer device repairs promotes several positive goals:
- Reduces e-waste: Phones replaced over a cracked screen or low battery often still have usable components. Enabling repairs lets users extend the lifecycle of devices.
- Saves money: Professional repairs or full device replacements can easily cost $200+. DIY fixes using genuine parts provide a budget-friendly alternative.
- Increases accessibility: Mail-in repair services may leave users without a phone for days or weeks. For many, self-repair is the fastest and most convenient option.
While Google’s pricing decisions have drawn some criticism, this program is nonetheless seen as a milestone for increasing phone repairability. With Apple rumored to follow suit by offering iPhone self-repair soon, this could force the rest of the industry to provide greater repairability access. More sustainable, economical and empowering options for consumers are undoubtedly a positive trend.
Now that Google’s Pixel parts store is open for business, it sets an expectation for other premium phone makers to do the same. While unlikely to impact sales much, the program caters to the environmentally and cost-conscious niche who prefer DIY repairs.
If successful, we could see an expansion to cover more Pixel models like the budget-tier Pixel 6a. Wider adoption may gradually bring prices down over time as well. But ultimately, much still depends on how many users opt to undertake repairs themselves versus using professional mail-in services.
Google is breaking new ground here as the first major smartphone brand to offer this level of self-repairability in the US. As Right to Repair legislation advances, this program seems intended to get ahead of coming regulations. Nonetheless, it’s a sign the industry is starting to take repair access more seriously – even if the most affordable options remain limited for now.
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