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Restart Radio Takeover: Why we replace our phones

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In our monthly Radio “takeover”, Restart volunteers own the show. This time, we have Ben Skidmore, Panda and Steve Cook discussing our relationship with phones. What makes us replace them and how can they last for longer?

To start, they chat about the new Samsung Galaxy S9 release, which has some minor improvements – like a better camera – but no increase in relevant features: battery life, for instance, has not improved. Do we need to buy new phone models when only small features change?

Next, they discuss reasons why we change our devices, thinking about issues of repairability and software support.

At Restart, we are interested in understanding the repairability of our gadgets. This is something Steve is actively involved in, as he is volunteering for us as a data analyst, looking at the information gathered through our Fixometer application. Our volunteers discuss the importance of batteries as key components to the functioning of our phones and how, still, these parts are often hard to repair – for instance, when they are glued into the phone.

In terms of software, it is common for companies to stop updating software for their old phones, leaving these users unsupported or unprotected. They also mention the vulnerability of 2G phone users, who can be left behind as companies stop supporting this network.

In terms of repairability, they talk about the importance of being informed when buying new products – not only about durability but about the availability of spare parts. They refer to modular phones, such as Fairphone 2, which offer replacements for repair. We also learn that in France, companies are obliged by the law to inform of the period of availability of spare parts when selling products.

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[Featured image by Unsplash user Alexandre Godreau]

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