Ahead of the launch of the Pixel Watch 2, owners of Google’s first Pixel-branded wearable need to be careful about how they handle their watches, as Google’s decisions over the repair policy and spare parts for the Watch is under the spotlight.
Google has ensured that spare parts are available for the latest Pixel phones, working alongside iFixit to not only be a trusted supplier for consumers to find but also provide the repair guides and media required to repair their own handsets.
Clearly, the Pixel Watch is not a Pixel Phone. So what happens if you do break the most exposed part of Google’s wearable, namely the large screen? Accidental damage shock as drops or impacts are not covered by the limited warranty, and there’s no official repair route.
Speaking to The Verge, Google spokesperson Bridget Starkey confirmed, “At this moment, we don’t have any repair option for the Google Pixel Watch. If your watch is damaged, you can contact the Google Pixel Watch Customer Support Team to check your replacement options.”
Naturally, there is an iFixit guide for replacing the screen on a Pixel Watch, put together independently by the site. Still, without easy access to a replacement screen, it is more an exercise on paper than a practical option. Buying damaged ‘donor hardware’ may be an option for an iPhone screen – there are tens of millions of units out there – but the lower sales of the Pixel Watch means that broken hardware with your required part intact will be in short supply and almost as expensive as buying a new unit.
It’s also a situation that “Right to Repair” laws are designed to mitigate. California’s Right To Repair law, which at this time has passed through both houses and is waiting on Governor Gavin Newsom’s final signature, goes much further in mandating access to parts and information. Kevin Purdy writes:
“Rather than limiting its demand that companies provide parts, tools, repair manuals, and necessary software for devices that are still actively sold, California requires that vendors provide those items for products sold after July 1, 2021, starting in July 2024. Products costing $50 to $99.99 must be accompanied by those items for three years, and items $100 and more necessitate seven years. “
That is, of course, in the future. For now, Pixel Watch owners will need to take care of their wearable.
It will be interesting to see if Google brings this up when it launches the Pixel Watch 2 next month at its “Made By Google” event.