Google deepens its partnership with iFixit as the latter has begun offering spare parts and How-to guides for the Pixel Tablet.
In total, users will be able to repair six components on the device: the rear camera, the screen (including the front-facing lens), the battery, the USB-C port, the four speakers, and the rear enclosure. Prices range from $25 for small pieces up to $200 for larger parts. As pricey as that may sound, be prepared for an even higher cost. The individual tools that you’ll need like the suction handle, opening picks, or the tweezers are not given out for free. You’ll have to purchase those or the iOpener bundle on top of the piece you need if you didn’t keep any tools from a previous repair. The final bill can be deceptively expensive.
Be aware that each of the How-to guides is labeled as being "moderately difficult". In the context of iFixit’s rating system, this means repairing the Pixel Tablet may be tricky, but so long as you follow the instructions, you should be fine. The good news is the guides are highly detailed. Each step is paired up with an image to help people through the process of fixing their devices.
For example, on the Rear Camera Replacement manual, iFixit will teach you what you need to do to prepare the Pixel Tablet, how to insert the opening pick, and the correct way to disconnect the lens. It’s a delicate process, as you can imagine. What’s more, iFixit will warn users to take the necessary precautions. It’s possible for the Pixel Tablet’s battery to become swollen, so iFixit recommends carefully disposing of it first before moving forward.
The Pixel Tablet spare parts appear to also be available in the UK and Australia although they lack a price tag. We reached out to iFixit for more information. This story will be updated at a later time.
Analysis: A major shift
Seeing Google offer parts for the Pixel Tablet further solidifies the tech giant’s place in leading the charge in the self-repair movement. No other company gives quite the same level of support for smart displays. The only other option on iFixit, the Amazon Echo Show 5, pales in comparison. You can’t buy parts for it. Additionally, Google lets people fix the Pixel 7 Pro, which is their current flagship phone. Other Android manufacturers, like Samsung, aren’t as generous.
It does appear the company has plans to expand the iFixit partnership even further as it’ll one day allow Pixel Fold owners the opportunity to repair their foldable. Again, Google is the only one doing this. However, the tech industry’s hesitancy may soon change.
The state of California, home to many of the biggest tech companies, has recently passed its own Right to Repair law mandating manufacturers "keep repair materials… available for extended periods post-production". For products "priced $100 or above", like smartphones, the period will last seven years. These materials range from hardware to "software and documentation". It's a major shift in repairability right before our eyes. It’ll be interesting to see how tech companies adapt.
While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best repair software for business PCs for 2023.
Update 9-14-2023: Well, as it turns, the UK and Australia will not getting the Pixel Tablet parts. A representative from iFixit got back to us and clarified that the company currently has no plans to extend the recent update outside the United States at this time.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.