EU is set to introduce its “right to repair” law for its citizens, although it may be a little different from what you are familiar with. This “right to repair” law found in the latest EU Circular Economy Action Plan refers to the availability of parts meant for professional repair and replacement. It’s not the same as the “right to repair” movements in the USA campaigning for DIY repairs.
This is like an extension of the same law introduced in October last year with appliances sold in EU. In that law, manufacturers has to make sure they will have available supplies of spare parts up to 10 years to ensure the repairability of the appliances they sell. Obviously, smartphones won’t last that long and so we should expect lower years of manufacturer support for the hardware.
As for software updates, this new law could be a game changer for the EU region. Nokia smartphones that are part of Google’s Android One program get 2 years of software and 3 years of security updates, while most smartphones don’t have that kind of software support, at least not in the midrange and low end segment.
This new law could not only force manufacturers to support their smartphones longer, but also to unlock the bootloader of their devices once it reaches its end of life. An unlocked bootloader will give users freedom with what to do with their hardware once it’s out of manufacturer’s support. This is a good news for users of first and second generation of Nokia phones which are nearing its end of life, or has reached the end of its support.
I don’t know how it will work for smartphones like iPhone though, as it currently offers longer support for its smartphones than Android does. Perhaps, it will be like an extended support you can purchase? It is not decided exactly how would the mandatory software support exactly look like, so we will have to wait for more advanced drafts of the proposals.
Nevertheless, this new law could be a win-win situation for EU residents. Nature is happy because we will use our phones longer instead of buying new ones and throwing the old ones, and people will be happy for saving money. Especially the Nokia fans who have been requesting for Nokia Mobile to unlock their bootloader.