IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine article rates leading tablets on repairability and sustainability
Dr Peter Corcoran is a lecturer in NUI Galway’s College of Engineering & Informatics and Editor-in-Chief of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Consumer Electronics Magazine. The IEEE won 5 Apex awards but only one ‘Grand Award’, awarded for the “Repairability Smackdown’ feature by Peter Corcoran of NUI Galway and Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit.
The article assesses and rates leading tablets, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, Galaxy Note 10.1 and the iPad 3 comparing their respective ease of repairability. The repairability of devices is important to prolong their life-cycle and conserve scarce resources used in their manufacture.
Dr Peter Corcoran says ‘The tablet computing sector is growing at a rate of adoption that is 10 times faster than that of the PC in the 1980s; 3 times faster than the rate at which people have signed up to Facebook since it went public in 2007. It’s an awful lot of tablets, 640 million by July of 2012 and more than 1 billion at the time of writing.’
He continued, ‘Sustainability and repairability are key issues given that the last thing that you think about with a 'new' device is how you are going to repair it. There is a strong commercial rationale for manufacturers to discourage the repair of devices; however the reality is that these new device use some quite rare elements in their display and battery subsystems. This article provides new insights into the latest of today's devices and gives consumers a new metric - the repairability score - to consider when buying their next device.’
Tablets consume considerable energy in their manufacture - a typical consumer device can take as much energy to manufacture as it will use in a 2-3 year life-cycle. This manufacturing/operating energy ratio is getting even bigger for today's low-power devices. Thus from a socio-economic perspective it makes a lot of sense to repair and thus extend the life-cycle of these devices as much as possible.
IFixit (www.ifixit.com) was established by the article’s co-author Kyle Wiens to solve this problem by providing a "repair manual for everything written by everyone". A team of expert fixers at iFixit lead by example, taking apart all of the latest consumer devices and figuring out how to do this safely and how to repair them effectively, from simple battery changing to full screen replacements.
Further information on the APEX awards at http://www.apexawards.com/313.htm