Germany’s Federal Environment Agency backs ban on sealed smartphone batteries

November 24, 2012

    Germany
    For the longest time, Android owners put removable batteries on the list of pros that they’re phones had over arch rivals, iPhones. Recent offerings from OEMs like HTC and Motorola have been devices with non-removable batteries. The Federal Environment Agency in Germany wants to do something about it.

    The Federal Environment Agency in Germany has called for a ban on sealed smartphone batteries. Also called non-removable batteries, The President of the agency is quote as calling them grotesque and environmentally unfriendly. After all, if you can’t remove the battery, how are you supposed to recycle them?

    They aren’t pushing for a ban like the bans you read about in patent lawsuits. What the FEA would like to see is an amendment made to the Ecodesign Directive to include restrictions on non-removable batteries.

    Is Germany on the right track with this?

    They made a number of logical arguments, so it makes a lot of sense. Android OEMs only use non-removable batteries to give devices a larger battery without affecting the size. However, the aforementioned environmental concerns seem to make more sense. Many OEMs have no trouble keeping a low profile while including bigger batteries.

    Phone Arena has also mentioned the cost of replacing non-removable batteries as well as the lives of the batteries themselves. According to Phone Arena, iPhone batteries only hold 80% of their charge after a year of use and they’re pretty expensive to replace.

    Is Germany on the right track with asking for bans on sealed batteries in smartphones? Let us know what you thought.

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    • sayem alvee

      Hell Yah, someone finally talking some sense here. I dont walk around with extra batteries myself, but I know that if i Needed it i can get it and replace it myself within minutes.
      whereas no removable batteries, you are always at a risk. There has a few times where i was in a situation when I actually switched my battery with my friend as mine died and i needed to use my phone. couldn’t use my friends phone as it was locked and would have cost too much in roaming.

      • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

        Never heard a Powerbank?

        • arcwindz

          It still run the risk of decreasing your battery life time and there is the charging time. I always chose the best phone when i buy a new one, but i’ll use it for ~3 years, it’d be nice to be able to change the battery whenever i need to

        • APai

          while powerbank is a nice thing for people who have multiple devices or while going on a vacation, the overwhelming number of people who carry a spare battery are the business users, who simply do not want ANY extra luggage. especially sales people who travel light. you never know when you might need to juice up or you might forget the charger. spare battery stops the blushes of a low battery with instant availability – batteries can be carried in the pocket comfortably.

        • merin

          I also use powerbank once in a while, but after 1 year, most phone battery will degraded and need to be replaced.

          So after one year, I usually replaced my phone with new battery, while the old battery served as backup battery.
          My point is, the old battery will still useful as spare battery, and somehow you also help the environment. You can’t do that with non-removable-battery phone.

          • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

            but I guess the company decided that after 1 year, most people will get a new upgrade. (even my phone never last that long)
            and most consumer with the most popular phone in the world (read:iphone) never have a problem with sealed battery. people will hate iphone if sealed battery really such a big deal.

    • IncCo

      So what, you cant buy an isheep phone in germany any longer? I doubt it..

      • APai

        if they make it a law. apple will be forced to comply, with a G edition. perhaps a bit delayed release, just to piss off the german customers and let them against the lawmakers. microsoft did comply with EU for the browser. so doesn’t apple have the technical knowhow to make a phone with detachable cover/ removable battery ? it’s not impossible, even though they might have forgotten that exotic art.

        • laurent

          Exactly and spot-on. I understand that non-removeable batteries do make devices slimmer, but since humans have this thing called ingenuity, I’m pretty sure there is a way to make smartphones with removeable batteries and still keep them as slim as todays smartphones. Anyone who claims that this is impossible is simply lacking from imagination.

        • Marvin Nakajima

          And *horrors* make the iPhone MORE expensive by having to design a slightly different device and reducing the benefits of mass manufacture?! :D

          • APai

            they’d gladly oblige! who else has the balls to sell an ordinary $2 cable for $20 ? (of course they have a large captive market (..baaa) who are more than willing to pay for premium experience!)

    • On a Clear Day

      If the iPhone battery wears out after a year or so, or starts to give you trouble because it doesn’t last along, that is a very good incentive to “help” push you toward getting a new iPhone. And besides, you wouldn’t really want to keep it until it actually wore out or have to replace the battery yourself would you?

    • http://www.facebook.com/lorne.serpa Lorne Serpa

      Yes.

    • APai

      if Samsung galaxy s3 can do a thin phone with removable battery, why can’t others. besides a reduction in thickness is completely pointless. besides changing a battery at the end of life will be frightfully expensive exercise. removable batteries should be made compulsory.

      • http://twitter.com/tagont1 Joseph Lotorto

        I switched from HTC to Samsung after they decided to start selling all their handsets with sealed batteries.

    • Jacob

      what the hell? there are still phones with removeable batteries? jesus christ! when do you even need that? you get a new phone every year or so and most batteries last 12 hours so dont give me that what if it dies shit.

      • Micheal

        If your getting new phone every year, good for you! :)
        I’m getting ew phone every 2-3 years…
        Just updated from my old Samsung which didn`t had android on it to s3.. LOVE IT! And of course batteries should be removable!

        • Jacob

          Give me one GOOD reason about why batteries should be removable. no hippie wave the earth crap or the fact that the phone has a bad battery. Take a phone with a removable battery: its not smooth. imagine if the phone had a removable battery! the only time it would work would be on the 5 because it could be discretely hidden where aluminum and glass meet and thats the only place i could see it.

          • laurent

            That’s absurd. You already have two GOOD reasons but refuse to accept them because it doesn’t confirm your own particular position. Seeing as how your cherry pick your data no one should have to provide you with anymore reasons. This criteria of whether a reason is “good” or “bad” only exist in your head and does not conform to reality — reality being that environmentalism and battery wear are two completly VALID reasons in favour of removeable batteries.

            • Jacob

              first of all, environmentalism is bullshit. second, like i said. new phone every year= no wear. and if you buy every droid device that comes out thats a new phone every 4 months.

            • Daniel Wallace

              I don’t really care about environmentalism reasons either.
              But even though I get a new phone every year or or so, I’d still like a removable battery.
              Reason is, I can then get a more powerful battery so that it’ll last longer, and then have a backup too.
              Maybe you aren’t, but I’m often gone for a long time and have to watch how much I use my phone or else it will die.

            • Marvin Nakajima

              Wow you must really be rich.. I had my last phone (though a feature phone) for 4 years and it’s still running well. I’ve never had to replace anything on the phone but had to buy a new wall charger. I intend to keep my current smartphone (SG2) for at least 2 more years before upgrading. That is unless it breaks to the point where it becomes unusable.

          • joeknows

            I’ll give you an awesome reason. I wake up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm. my phone is dead by 3:30…now what!!!!!!!!! you goof! Thats why a removable battery is needed. Ever travel to europe where there is no where to plug in your phone on the plane? Thats 2 reasons. Any more???? I can keep going all day unlike my battery! How about because a phone that costs more than a laptop should be available for use 20 hours per day! Jacob is obviously that guy that loves to carry around chargers in his purse with him where ever he goes. and yes i said purse…

    • http://twitter.com/acsr333 acsr

      what took them too long, batteries in smartphones should be removable…

    • Star Yu

      There is a problem to with non-removable battery…. if Your kid throw it in water, You can’t remove it so You don’t damage the phone…. I like removable battery

    • Ian Huey

      Jacob, i’m running my original Samsung Captivate I got in 2010. What in the world are you talking about? Phones are huge expenses.

    • angryfrog

      “For the longest time, Android owners put removable batteries on the list
      of pros that they’re phones had over arch rivals, iPhones.”
      *their

      • APai

        S3 – the biggest selling android phone – removable battery.
        Note 2 – biggest selling phablet. removable battery.

        • alpen rush

          yep, this should be more than enough to hint other phone makers what a good android device should have.

          but sometimes they’re too ignorant to admit this simple fact.

          • APai

            I think it boils down to the behavior of individual companies – and the reaction of the customers to it. Xperia T is a great device but no removable battery, yet the TX which is pretty much identical has a removable battery!

            I can’t fathom google nexus specs either, making the non removable battery a no-go. maybe the manufacturers want users to change their phones often, thus reducing the need to fine tune the software on it, support for older hardware is thus eliminated. I do not like that line of thinking. a phone should be able to survive at least 2.5-3 years if not a minimum of 2 years. manufacturers’ guarantee of support for at least 18 months is ridiculous.

    • mgb

      A friend of mine has to make regular trips to France as part of a sales team with his company. He always takes a spare battery with him which sees him through the 3 day trip. It is more practical to take a spare battery than a mains charger and a UK/EU plug converter.

    • AndroidFreud

      Absolutely!!! I think the whole non removable battery for lesser space consumption is nonsense. Sounds more like they want to reduce the life cycle of the phone to keep up to the competitive nature of the industry & have people keep buying new phones to match their product cycles.
      Same for non removable micro sd storage!! I don’t see the point. And MOST IMPORTANTLY if my smartphone conks out for some reason & I can’t even turn it on, I’m forced to leave my phone with some unknown service center employee with ALL of my personal data on there with no say in the matter or no control over my privacy.
      With removable storage, even if my phone is completely dead, I can always manually remove it & keep my personal data safe from prying eyes. I can’t believe more people aren’t making a big thing of this. This takes away so much control from you, the consumer!!

      • Daniel Wallace

        I agree, phones without an SD card slot is bs.
        I’m not really worried so much about my data, but of the size.
        For example, the new nexus 4…8gb and 16gb versions. I have a 32gb micro SD card in my current phone, and am using around 20GB of that.
        The nexus 4 wouldn’t even have enough space for all my stuff, but I’d also way rather save money and get the 8GB model and be able to put in my own big mSD card.
        That + non removable battery are my biggest gripes about the Nexus 4

    • AndroidFreud

      Absolutely!!! I think the whole non removable battery for lesser space consumption is nonsense. Sounds more like they want to reduce the life cycle of the phone to keep up to the competitive nature of the industry & have people keep buying new phones to match their product cycles.
      Same for non removable micro sd storage!! I don’t see the point. And MOST IMPORTANTLY if my smartphone conks out for some reason & I can’t even turn it on, I’m forced to leave my phone with some unknown service center employee with ALL of my personal data on there with no say in the matter or no control over my privacy.
      With removable storage, even if my phone is completely dead, I can always manually remove it & keep my personal data safe from prying eyes. I can’t believe more people aren’t making a big thing of this. This takes away so much control from you, the consumer!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/shuain.dul Shuain Dul

      How ironic. Evolution of smartphone rate=2-3 specimen/month. Avrg mobile carrier contract 2 yrs. Environmental friendly = less use of batt.
      Conclusion: smartphone getting outdated very fast will increase the urge to change, spare batt is encouraging environment disaster because battery its3lf is environmental unfriendly. So hypothetically non removable batt devices is environmental friendly(recycle the whole thing once not in use) Extra note swapping battery with friends = annoying.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        I would think removable batteries are hypothetically more env friendly. If the battery dies you can easily replace and recycle just the battery keeping the rest of the phone out of recycling (and expensive surcharges to replace the battery should there be such a service. This does not include any impact from the labor on or transportation of the device subject to the service). The environmental impact in that sense would most likely be higher for ‘sealed’ phones.

        • joeknows

          its obvious we have unlimited resources on this planet and we don’t neet to worry about using up all of our resources on shit that breaks every 6 months. It’s more than just the battery. I’ve had one phone in the time my iphone friends have had 3. Only ever needed one replacement battery. Why throw away a $700 device for a $20 battery. These are the same people that are broke, have no retirement savings and don’t own homes…

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