The next smartphone from Mobile Icon Nokia is a handset that the user can repair himself.
Developed by the Finnish manufacturer HMD Global, the Nokia G22 is a standard smartphone with a 6.5-inch screen and a 50-megapixel main camera.
But it’s the outer shell and the interior of the phone that make it stand out. The handset has a recyclable plastic back that can be easily removed to replace broken components.
Armed with tools and repair guides from iFixit, a hardware repair advocacy group, a user can remove and replace the phone’s back cover, battery, screen, and charging port.
Adam Ferguson, HMD Global’s head of product marketing, said the process would cost an average of 30% less than replacing an old phone with a new one.
Under pressure from regulators to make electronic devices more sustainable, smartphone companies are increasingly working to make phones last longer.
Legislators in the European Parliament, for example, are calling for legislation that would force manufacturers to give users the “right to repair”.
The Right to Repair refers to a movement among consumer rights activists to make it easier for consumers to get their devices repaired.
The European Commission’s Green New Deal aims to make the bloc a so-called circular economy by 2050, allowing almost all physical goods to be reused, repaired, reused or recycled to minimize waste.
Phone repairs in particular have become more complex as the battery and other components are sealed by glue.
Apple, which had long hesitated to change its repair policies, decided in November 2021 to launch a self-service repair program, allowing customers to purchase parts to repair their own devices.
In December, the iPhone maker expanded this program to eight European countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK
“As consumers increasingly demand more sustainable and durable devices, the ability to easily and inexpensively repair smartphones will become a key market differentiator,” said Ben Wood, senior analyst at CCS Insight.
About half of cellphone owners in Europe would have their device repaired if it broke outside of the warranty period, Wood said, citing research from CSS Insight.
The Nokia G22 has one downside – it only meets the IP52 benchmark for resistance to harmful substances, meaning it’s not immune to water damage.
Ferguson said it couldn’t match that feature at the price of the phone.
Launching in the UK on March 8, the G22 starts at a price of £149.99 ($179.19). Interchangeable parts can be purchased individually from iFixit. The battery costs £22.99; £44.99 for the display and £18.99 for the charge port.
Ferguson said consumers would pay, on average, 30% less to replace their broken parts than they would to buy a new phone.
Nokia isn’t the only mobile brand developing climate-conscious smartphones. Dutch company Fairphone, for example, sells a range of phones that use repairable and replaceable parts.
Once a titan in the mobile phone industry, Nokia has since taken a back seat as electronics giants Samsung and Apple rose to the top of the rankings. The company is best known today for telecommunications infrastructure, which is sold to network operators.
Nokia sold its wireless business to Microsoft in 2014 for €5.4 billion ($5.8 billion). The unit was later bought by HMD, which was founded by Nokia executives in Finland, for US$350 million. Nokia charges a license fee for each phone sold by HMD.
HMD said it also plans to locate more manufacturing of its phones in Europe. Where exactly, the company did not specify for security reasons. In a press release, the company said it was “developing capabilities and processes to bring production of 5G Nokia devices to Europe in 2023.”
The move underscores an ongoing movement by large tech companies of their supply chains away from China and other East Asian countries.
REGARD: Apple’s new repair policy is a good step for the “right to repair” — but it’s a small one