Phone manufacturers offer free repairs to frontline workers, and ventilator producers release resources helping third-party companies fix ventilators.
Several recent developments indicate how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world of electronics repair.
Repairs for frontline workers: A couple of OEMs are providing free repair services for health care workers and first responders.
Google launched a program in partnership with repair firm uBreakiFix, providing free service for Pixel devices, according to 9to5google.com. “We know that a broken smartphone is more than just an inconvenience right now, and it’s our privilege to do what we can to help first responders and healthcare heroes stay connected to what matters most during this time,” uBreakiFix stated.
Samsung rolled out a similar program, also in partnership with uBreakiFix. The “Free Repairs for the Frontline” program provides one free repair any time through June 30.
Manufacturers aid in ventilator repairs: Facing pressure from right-to-repair advocates and legislators alike, ventilator producers have begun releasing repair documents.
According to Engadget, manufacturers including GE, Fisher & Paykal and Medtronic have released several resources, including technical reference manuals, service applications and more. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), which advocated for such information sharing, praised the move and called for manufacturers to take similar actions for all equipment in hospitals.
Second-hand demand trends: Although electronics repair firms saw an increase in demand for used devices as more people began working from home, some of that demand appears to be leveling off, according to iFixit.
The repair-focused organization interviewed recycling operations and found that, as people settle in at home and scale back spending due to economic uncertainty, repair firms are seeing less demand. They also have concerns about when the inflow of high-quality used devices will get back to normal. As is, that movement has slowed heavily, creating supply challenges.
Still, repair companies told iFixit they anticipate the pandemic could improve public sentiment on using secondhand devices, as more people are buying used electronics or repairing their devices.
Independent firms adjust: Repair providers in California have modified their practices to continue serving customers.
The Monterey Herald reports that Monterey Computer Repair and Smartphone has changed numerous protocols in response to COVID-19, such as allowing customers to drop devices on a table in front of the shop rather than going inside to interact with employees. In other cases, the repair company is offering remote software repairs.
Other California repair providers are taking similar precautions, including providing contact-less curbside pick-up, wiping down devices, and more, according to the newspaper.
More stories about refurbishment/reuse
- Feds confirm they will stop buying used computers
- Nearly 150 companies now part of Apple repair program
- Will Europe’s appetite for used devices last?