back to article Motorola: Oops, phone busted? Grab a spudger and go get 'em, champ

A 2014 Eurobarometer survey (PDF) found that 77 per cent of EU citizens would prefer to repair their electronics rather than buy new ones, but were put off by the cost quoted, and ended up replacing them anyway. While Apple clamps down on third-party repairs, Motorola has gone in the opposite direction and encouraged folk to …

  1. Come to the Dark Side

    "If a tinkerer has inadvertently disabled the brakes, who carries the can in the event of a fatal accident?"

    Same as at present I suspect. You are responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness of your own vehicle, eg testing the brakes work.

    1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "You are responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness of your own vehicle"

      This is firmly established in UK law at least see Father jailed after four of his children died in Land Rover river crash

      I remember all of the gnashing against this case if the Land Rover community at the time but the report of the state of the vehicle involved was damming.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: "You are responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness of your own vehicle"

        the report of the state of the vehicle involved was damming.

        As was the Land Rover. Assuming it was a small enough river...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You are responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness of your own vehicle, eg testing the brakes work."

      Very true. And you own the vehicle, as a material object - but not the software inside the vehicle, which, as anything immaterial, is licensed and not sold to you. So the company that made the vehicle will forever be responsible for it.

  2. Wade Burchette

    I think my next phone will be a Motorola

    I want to encourage companies to make their phones repairable. And the best way to encourage them is to buy products which you can repair and shun those you cannot.

    1. Peshman

      Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

      That depends on your perception of repairability. Any mobile is repairable. It just depends on whether you have the ability to do it yourself or you take it to a repair outfit like iSmash. My P10 battery ballooned recently and rather than bother to do it myself I took it in. 20 mins and 50 quid lighter it's as good as new with a 12 month warranty against the work they carried out on it.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

        Being home repairable suggests that its been built to be easy to repair.

        That's the reason for supporting it. It may very well be that you take it to a shop for the actual repair to be done, but the faster and cheaper it can be done, the better, right?

        Back in the not so distant past, that battery replacement would have been £20 for the battery and £0 for taking the backplate off yourself and just swapping the old for the new.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

          My current phone is a Motorola, one of the models covered by this new thing.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

            Dunno why they treat a third party like iFixit selling a repair kit like that's a big deal. They've sold similar kits for iPhones for years. If Motorola sold them themselves, or included them with the phone, that would be newsworthy.

            The most recent Motorola to get a repairability rating at iFixit (the first gen Moto Z) scored a 7 - exactly the same score iPhones had for years until the 2017 & 2018 models dropped to 6 due to the fact you had to basically disassemble the whole thing to replace the back glass.

            If Motorola is trying to sell on repairability they need to shoot for 9 or 10 to stand out from the crowd - though I guess 7 is still way better than the 4s the latest Pixels and Huaweis are getting, and that Samsung has been getting for years.

            They'll also need to sell parts, so you have an official source. Or do you just plan to trust whatever gets sold on eBay as "Motorola compatible"?

            1. Cuddles Silver badge

              Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

              "They'll also need to sell parts, so you have an official source. Or do you just plan to trust whatever gets sold on eBay as "Motorola compatible"?"

              I guess it's a good job that they are, in fact, selling parts. Through iFixit. You know, the one linked in the article. If only there were some way of finding that out before commenting on it.

        2. Tom 35 Silver badge

          Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

          But their software updates are crap. My G4+ is still waiting for android 8 they promised and security is April. The hardware is good for the price.

          1. Trilkhai

            Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

            I'm surprised that your security update was for April; I have an E4 and just got an update at the beginning of October. That said, given a big part of why I bought my E4 was because it was supposed to get the upgrade to Oreo, I'm also fairly frustrated by the way they've dragged their heels. Especially as word now is "we might do it late this year, but we might decide not to make the effort, so stay tuned!"

    2. YTC#1

      Re: I think my next phone will be a Motorola

      This story sounds great, until it transpires that Motorola/Lenovo are currently "bricking" phones, and it is the fault of the user for having the temerity to repair their phones (ie a replacement screen).

      https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Moto-G5S-Moto-G5S-Plus/Just-updated-my-G5S-to-Oreo-touch-screen-has-stopped-working/

      There is a growing number of bricked phones, they work fine with Android 7. As soon as an upgrade to Android 8 is performed the touch screen fails to work.

      Shades of Apple ???

  3. onefang Silver badge

    'The word "foolproof" is there for a reason: to prevent fools causing damage.'

    Ah but the world is good at creating more "talented" fools.

    1. Nunyabiznes

      Fools

      "Nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious."

      Corollary to Murphy's Law.

  4. James 51 Silver badge

    I took a look on the ifixit site and there wasn't a huge range of Moto's phone kits being advertised. Hopefully the future phones are easier to fix than the current ones.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Motorola?

    Did I miss something? Semiconductors spun off as two companies, much IP and phone brand sold to Google and then the label sold or licenced to Lenovo. Network Infrastructure installing part sold to Nokia (who never sold IP or brand to MS, but licence someone Asian to use the label).

    So who is this Motorola?

    The idea / product is great. I hope it catches on, as well as designs actually intended to be taken apart for repair.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Motorola?

      Currently Motorola Mobility who made the smart telephones is currently owned by Lenovo, apprently the brand name is still owned by "Motorola Trademark Holdings, LLC" (According to Wikipedia). (Other Motorola companies have been sold like its mobile computer range which was sold to Zebra and then to Extreme Networks)

  6. Hero Protagonist

    The tool kit isn’t the news

    The news isn’t that Motorola is selling a toolkit; iFixit includes this exact set of tools with their iPhone screen repair kits (which I was quite pleased with — a nice step up from the tools they used to include). The real news is that Motorola is supplying OEM *parts* to iFixit, instead of iFixit having to source reliable third-party parts

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " iFixit includes this exact set of tools with their [...] repair kits"

    And even if they didn't, the useful ones are readily available from well known suppliers (probably even from places like Aldi if you look at the right time of year).

    "The real news is that [the manufacturer] is supplying OEM *parts* "

    Sounds good.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    So glad Apple was mentioned

    Louis Rossmann was a guest on a news programme not long back and then he got his original Apple batteries confiscated by customs.

    They won't fix older devices, they won't let third party repair centres fix older devices, and they won't allow unofficial repair centres or customers to import the parts to fix older devices either.

    And that is why I'm not buying any Apple product until they stop this customer hostile policy and provide repairable hardware.

    1. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      Re: So glad Apple was mentioned

      Agreed

      Apple : But surely, a 4 year old device is "vintage" right?

      Me : Let me ask my 2009 Lenovo thinkpad that runs Debian Linux just fine, goes on holiday with me all the time, acts as an android development workstation and an entertainment centre playing my fave movies in HD while I camp in a tent / caravan.

  9. Cubical Drone

    Major repair?

    "The kit includes the necessary tools to undertake major repairs such as replacing the battery and display."

    The fact that changing a battery is a major repair is part of the larger issue.

  10. Reader2435

    Swimming against the tide

    So people want to fix their own phones, huh? No, they don't. If they did, they would do a quick search on a well-known Internet video site, see how easy most jobs are already... and then do it.

    Seriously, replacing the screen or battery on most phones is already do-able for about £20. I've done about 15 fixes for friends and family. Every time I advise them that I provide no warranty - it might work after it's passed through my hands and it might not. Every time the device has been like new after the fix apart from one iPhone 6 which needed a new front-facing camera... which cost £2 off a well-known Internet auction site and was easy to fit.

    I suspect that what people want is for it to be cheaper, easier and quicker to get someone else to do it for them. That is the modern way, sadly.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Swimming against the tide

      > I suspect that what people want is for it to be cheaper, easier and quicker to get someone else to do it for them. That is the modern way, sadly.

      Every job is quicker the second time you do it. If someone who has done the job umpteen times can do it in a fraction of the time it takes me, then what's wrong with paying them to do it? It's merely specialisation and it's far from modern, since it dates back to the development of agriculture and permanent settlements.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes easier than you think....

    The power button fell out of my Moto G4, this was very annoying as it was the only way to wake it up. A shaped wooden coffee stirrer becam essential to use my phone. Eventually I found a replacement button on the internet and ordered it at the extremely overpriced £6. I YouTubed how to repair it and for the very detailed and long process I ordered the right sized torx driver and other stuff.

    Before I started the strip down I watched the video more closely. I soon realised the whole point of the strip down was to remove the old button, well mine had already removed its self, refitting simply involved pushing the new one into the empty hole, a satisfying click and done. Total actual repair time <5secs.

    YouTube can be too helpful sometimes :)

  12. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    As a current Motorola phone owner/user*

    I heartily applaud this. All four lines on my current plan are Motorola phones. As the family tech-support person, this will make one small part of my life a bit easier. If I wasn't already a Motorola owner/user this, for me anyway, would tip the scales in favor of becoming one.

    * "Why?" you may ask. I have found certain Motorola phones to strike the perfect balance between features and price. The cameras/batteries/screens/memory/storage/etc are not the best but they ARE the best for the price I want to pay (especially considering that I must buy them four-at-a-time). YMMV, of course, but like what I get for the amount paid.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems a sneaky way to boost the sales of new phones, really.

    I'm betting that more than half of these kit sales lead to a new phone sale, when the purchaser realises they are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of their depth ....

  14. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Doesn't seem to cover G6/G6 Play

    This doesn't seem to cover the higher end models...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't seem to cover G6/G6 Play

      "This doesn't seem to cover the higher end models..."

      It covers the Moto Z, that's a high end model.

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    No Moto

    One should remember that the Lenovo version of Moto is known for not updating the OS, even if major advertised features don't work. This is the same Moto that has given people dead phones as warranty replacements then attempted to charge people thousands of dollars for not accepting the dead phone. Check out their forums.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: No Moto

      "One should remember that the Lenovo version of Moto is known for not updating the OS,"

      My Lenovo Motorola Moto Z and it's three major OS updates, plus several minor ones, disagrees with you.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: No Moto

        My Moto G6 is currently awaiting install of an update (just needs me to log onto a trusted wifi network to download it) - updates are not super frequent, but they do happen (unlike some other competitors in the "cheap & cheerful but not minimum spec range" - stares at ZTE who did not provide even a single update for their phone & so guaranteed no more purchases ever again, even though I really liked the phone combo of light and slim but robust enough to cope with a few hard knocks)

  16. bobajob12 Bronze badge
    Happy

    Interesting on the world-wide scale

    Ignoring the very wealthy markets of North America, Chinese cities and Western Europe, this level of repairability could be huge. One of the things holding back smartphone adoption globally is that not only are they costly but they are a royal pain to fix.If you have a smartphone that your guy/gal in the market in Kigali or Bangladesh or the wildest corners of Romania can fix, you're on your way to global adoption.

    It's what you might call the Toyota truck model (or, for older Reg readers, the 2CV effect, or perhaps the Land Rover Defender effect) - things that are fixable in market tend to get very widely adopted.

  17. whoseyourdaddy

    Here's the way I see it since this is my industry and know what batteries do when they're unhappy.

    If you don't agree, you are the reason we can't have nice things.

    I buy used phones to have an iphone6+ decoy. Don't even bother charging or activating to keep in my hip pocket when I visit Europe. Because...

    Pickpocket suck and they're *everywhere* in Europe.

    For the record, I don't remove activation locks. So, enjoy the parts.

    If the only way I can avoid owning a "repaired" iThing (that was opened on someone's kitchen table armed with youtube videos) is to buy new, I'm ok with that. I have two A1864s (Verizon 8+), still sealed new in box. Because, except for the pickpocket incident last year, this is the longest I've gone without losing my phone (i7+)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      That's some extraordinary bad luck you have... but what has it got to do with the right to repair?

    2. whoseyourdaddy

      "You have a used Moto handset for sale?"

      "Yep. Here it is. Perfect screen."

      "So, did you replace the screen or did Motorola?"

      "Umm..."

      "Did you make sure you put all the screws back in?"

      "Umm..."

      May as well leave it in the recycle bin at the big-box store.

      Congratulations. It's now worthless to me.

  18. Anonymous Cowerd
    Flame

    I think the term is "planned obsolescence"

    e.g. Braun electric toothbrushes

    Just soldered in a new battery for £10 instead of spending £100+ on a replacement toothbrush.

    They can go **** themselves.

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