After all the wandering through booths providing new gadgets to people, it is a relief to see a booth that is offering knowledge about repairing those various gadgets. The PhoneDoctors is a cell phone repair and replacement company, but they do a lot more than just fix the phone you dropped in the toilet. They are empowering people to do their own repairs through online manuals, replacement parts, and some helpful tool kits. More than that, they're providing the motivation for people to start their own gadget repair businesses.
Since starting in 2003, PhoneDoctors has created helpful resources for gadget owners. Sure you can send in your cell phone and have a pro repair it -- the company has repaired over 250,000 phones and have served over 500,000 customers over the years -- but you can also DIY it. Their website has a range of replacement parts for various cell phones, from LG to Samsung to of course Apple, and for other gadgets including the iPad and iPod. There are DIY kits, and a range of cool tools such as some high-end screw drivers for those teensy screws.
They've also come up with little magnetic mat -- which they've dubbed the ScrewMat despite near certainty that jokes will follow -- that shows the outline of your particular device, and where the screws are placed on the gadget. As you take the screws out, you place them in that location on the magnetic map and you'll not only keep track of all your screws but also keep track of where they go when you're done fixing your device.
PhoneDoctors has also come out with an app for iPhone and Android that features video tutorials and step-by-step guides, as well as the ability to ask questions and order parts from your phone. Here's a little ad they've put together about it:
But equally as important as getting gadget owners to DIY their repairs is building up the repair culture around consumer electronics. PhoneDoctors encourages people to get their own repair business going. Something like this might not be for everyone, but it's always a good thing to see enthusiasm behind self-reliance and fixing, rather than replacing, our electronics. And encouraging people to make a living at keeping gadgets in the consumer stream longer is definitely a good thing.