Smartphones have come a long way since Apple first revolutionized their design back in 2007. At the time, a device with a candy bar form factor and an all-screen implementation was a bold move. Over a decade later, that initial design hasn’t really changed much on the surface, but the features added on certainly have.
A Shifting Landscape
Many phone manufacturers have intended to break away from the standard look and have gone for more ambitious designs. Attempting to implement sliders and clamshell designs, the complexity of putting together such devices also grew over time. Nowadays, the industry is looking towards new implementations of designing their smartphone to shake up standards and set themselves apart. Yet with every new advancement comes another step to look out for when attempting to take apart and put back together these devices.
Extra “features” require technicians to be familiar with the technology behind them and its implementation. This means keeping up to speed with the times is important. Take for example the widespread adoption of fingerprint scanners – repair technicians have had to keep pace with their addition to smartphones once it became a common feature. This meant being familiar with the components and design of such additions to be able to service them for repairs.
Another added “feature” seen more over recent years is waterproofing. While not adding any active functionality to a smartphone, the trend of water resistance has added another layer of complexity. Smartphones today implement water resistance through special seals that protect the internals from water on the outside. Some implementations even make it so that smartphones can even be submerged in water without damage. Applying this technique meant that if the phone ever went in for a repair, it would automatically lose its water resistance the moment it was opened up. To this end, technicians have had to educate themselves on how to account for water resistant seals and work on reimplementing it for repair jobs.
The Cost of Innovation
There are plenty of reasons why smartphone design has remained the same for a long time. Unique implementations mean special components and parts are required, which might be hard to get a hold of and cost more. This also means that repair enthusiasts will forego niche devices in favor of smartphones with more common and readily available parts.
There’s also the point of familiarity – if a certain device has a component that is implemented in a certain way, chances are that component is implemented in a similar manner in another device too. Whether you put it in the back, the front or in a separate motorized compartment of its own, a camera will always be integrated in the same way.
It’s important to have a good idea of what is going to be popular and common among smartphones in the future to be able to account for it. This holds true not just for new components, but also new practices of assembling components under the hood.
Being Smart About Smartphones
Most smartphones these days have different configurations with the whole bezel-less screen trend going on, often opting to hide speakerphones in tucked-away areas or doing away with them entirely in favor of piezo-electric variants. There could also be implementations where the LCD panel is rolled over and tucked away beneath the screen as some manufacturers have done, or the new hole-punch approach to them going into 2019. Smart technicians would be on the lookout for such trends and learn the necessary ways to go about repairing phones with those configurations beforehand in order to stay ahead of the curve.
In the tech world, there is always going to be someone who will try to innovate on existing ideas and come up with something new. What’s important for repair technicians and enthusiasts is to know how feasible this new approach is and, if push came to shove, how to be able to cater to such devices when the need arises.
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