The EU is closer to implementing “circular economy” requirements that would require smartphones be supported for at least five years, including for security updates.
The move is opposed by Digital Europe, a lobby representing tech manufacturers.
If the regulation takes effect, it would probably benefit customers worldwide, with fifteen components listed to be made available “to professional repairers”.
They include the battery, the back cover, display, camera assemblies, audio and charge ports, mechanical buttons, microphones and speakers, hinges or folding mechanisms, protective foils, chargers, and SIM/memory trays with external slots.
The regulations have been working their way through European Commission processes ever since they were first proposed as part of the Circular Economy Action Plan 2020.
The current drafts were published by the EC on Wednesday.
Operating system and security updates would also be regulated, so manufacturers couldn’t obsolete devices by abandoning their code.
They would be required at no cost to the customer for five years after the last sale date of the device.
Manufacturers would also be expected to demonstrate that operating systems or security upgrades don’t unduly degrade device performance.
The regulations also cover design aspects such as resistance to drops and scratches, protection from dust and water, and battery management and endurance.
Digital Europe’s objections to the proposals were set out at the end of July.
“A potential overproduction, subsequent warehousing and destruction of spare parts will naturally result in wasted resources, reduced material efficiency and negative economic value ultimately resulting in higher costs for the consumer”, the lobby’s statement said.
Further, “A requirement to replace parts with low failure rates risks inhibiting the industry from introducing breakthrough innovations comparable in scale to the ‘system on a chip architecture’, with limited environmental benefit.”
Digital Europe would like parts with a low failure rate exempted from the regulations.