Feature Article

March 27, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 Screen Controls the Smartphone

iFixit is a private company located in San Luis Obispo, CA. It was founded in 2003. The goal of the company is to reduce electronic waste by teaching people to repair their own devices. They offer tools, parts, a forum to discuss repairs and more importantly, repair guides and manuals. They do this by “tearing down” devices to see what is inside. They figure out what components are used within each individual device. The easier it is to fix something, the more people will do it.

iFixit’s latest teardown is the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. Although the Z10 has been available in the UK and Canada since the end of January, it officially went on sale in the U.S. last week. iFixit released their analysis of the Z10 teardown on March 25, 2013. You can get all the details from iFixit here.

It seems that the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is uncharacteristically easy to dismantle. This of course means that it is also incredibly easy to repair. This is true for the major components of the device. Some of those components are from such companies as Avago, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Samsung Electronics

Of course there always has to be a catch. The BlackBerry Z10 did receive a eight out of 10 reparability score from iFixit. This is one of the highest scores that they have given in quite some time. They found that they battery allows for up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G and 13 days of standby time. Unfortunately they found out something else, a very important something else. The flaw that iFixit found was literally in the screen.

It seems that the Z10’s display digitizer is applied directly to the glass. This means that it is fused with the LCD. The end result of this is that the device becomes useless if the screen is shattered. A shattered screen loses all of its touchscreen functionality rendering the Z10 a light paper weight.

Most other smartphones don’t apply the digitizer to the screen so when you drop your phone (and you will drop it, everyone does at some point) you can still use it. You will run the risk of cutting your fingers on the broken glass, but you can still use it. iFixit found that if you drop the Z10 from a height of about five feet or so onto a concrete floor, it will mean the end of your smartphone.

This could have some serious consequences. As careful as everyone tries to be, it does not take much for someone to bump into you and “accidentally” cause you to drop your smartphone. If you are holding the Z10 to your ear, making a call and this happens, the screen could conceivably shatter and you would no longer be able to use your phone.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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