Galaxy S8 is reportedly the most fragile phone ever made, and repair shops are happy about that
SquareTrade, an American extended warranty service provider for consumer electronic devices, recently published a video showcasing how fragile the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ are. It was reportedly the first phone that the company has tested that cracked on the first drop on all sides. Now, Motherboard is reporting that repair companies are stoked with the prospect of fixing the Galaxy S8 and S8+ since it is popular, fragile, and expensive, but most importantly, their replacement parts are relatively inexpensive. Repair shops reportedly started receiving calls for Galaxy S8 screen repairs within 24 hours of the phone’s release.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ feature Infinity Displays with almost no side bezels. These phones are covered by Gorilla Glass 5 panels on the front and the back. Moreover, the metal sides meet with glass panels, which results in devices that are susceptible to damage if dropped. This is making third party phone repair shops quite happy since they believe that a lot of people would accidentally damage their Galaxy S8 and bring them in for repairs. They are also happy because the screen replacement parts are relatively cheaper compared to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge at the time of their release.
“The price point is good; the repairability is there. Durability-wise, it’s definitely going to break, no question about that.” Justin Carroll, owner of the Richmond, Virginia-based Fruit Fixed smartphone repair shop, told Motherboard. Repair store owners were surprised that early wholesale prices for replacement screens from China are hovering around $200, which is $50 to $100 cheaper than Galaxy S7 screen replacement parts last year. In comparison, iPhone 7 screen replacement prices were hovering around $300 at the time of the phone’s release.
The Galaxy S8 is priced around $750, so it’s worth it to get its screen repaired than buying a new device altogether. “It’s low for an OLED panel in a new flagship, especially for new screen tech like the Infinity Display,” Kev Notton, founder of San Diego-based RepairMapr, an upcoming diagnosis tool that repair shops can use to annotate their repairs. Since there’s so much fragmentation in Android smartphones, it’s not viable for repair shop owners to buy replacement parts in bulk, which makes Android phones more expensive to repair (compared to iPhones).
Independent mobile shop owners reportedly try to get the price of screen replacement under $200 – the price of most smartphone insurance plans – so that they can beat insurance companies on price. “If we can get repair price under $200 you take away all of the value insurance has. The only thing insurance can usually beat us on price point. If they can’t do that, then there’s no reason to have it,” Carroll said. Aftermarket and replacement part pricing is a function of global supply chain, so it is reportedly hard to know why Galaxy S8 screen replacement parts are cheaper this time around.
It is possible that Apple is bringing OLED displays to its upcoming iPhones, resulting in lower cost due to bulk manufacturing. It is also possible that Samsung has improved the manufacturing process for OLED displays, driving the cost down. Or it could be that Samsung understood that high prices for display repairs could turn down a lot of potential customers, so it is not going after aftermarket parts manufacturers who reverse engineer replacement parts or make them using stolen schematics (which are called counterfeit products by companies).