Hard rules for smartphones and tablets: consumers face high prices

Hard rules for smartphones and tablets: consumers face high prices

Profound changes are imminent for producers and buyers of smartphones and tablets. The EU Commission is working on hard rules and wants to make far-reaching regulations for manufacturers. Much should be in the interest of the consumer, but there are downsides to the prices to be expected.

Tablets and smartphones: top equipment is a must

The EU Commission's plans can be summed up in one goal: Cell phones and tablets should have less impact on the environment in the future. For this purpose, one is apparently planning to issue far-reaching regulations for the manufacturers , which, among other things, concern the duration of support and reparability. In many cases this is definitely in the interests of the customer:

Manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi and Co. will have to offer free security updates for smartphones and tablets for at least five years ; the limit for function updates is three years. For many Android devices this would mean a significant leap, and in some cases even double the support duration. Batteries must still achieve a capacity of 80 percent after 500 charges if they can be replaced. Permanently installed batteries have to last twice as long, i.e. 1,000 charging cycles. Spare parts for the repair of smartphones must be kept by the manufacturers for at least five years after the market launch. In addition, one wants to oblige the producers to supply "professional repair shops" with the necessary equipment. This applies to batteries and camera modules, for example. Display replacement must also be offered to end customers. In the future, tablet components will even apply for six years. Manufacturers must make prices for spare parts public. They may not be changed afterwards. Repair instructions must be offered, not free of charge, but at a reasonable price. All smartphones for the European market have to withstand a standard test: 100 drops from a height of 1 meter without defects. Splash protection is also becoming mandatory.

The changes have not yet been decided, but according to the current status, they should apply from 2023. This emerges from the draft ordinances that are available to the magazine c't (source: heise). Changes are still possible until then, as the approval of the member states is required.

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Energy label on the cell phone: Manufacturers have to make an effort

In addition, the environmental label known from other electronic devices will also be mandatory for smartphones and tablets. The requirements mentioned will therefore be an absolute minimum in the future. Manufacturers who want to score with sustainability have to go well beyond that. Such devices, which are particularly recommended in terms of longevity, will then be recognizable on the label. Manufacturers must make information about the battery, test results and the raw materials used publicly available.

All of this sounds like a land of milk and honey to customers, but there could be a catch: What happens to the prices if the tough regulations of the EU Commission are waved through is unclear. A change in favor of the consumer should not be countered by exploding costs. It is possible, however, that manufacturers will charge a little for technical adaptations and additional services.

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