Google aims to solve Pixel retail support conundrum with uBreakiFix repair partnership

In an attempt to fix its inherent shortcoming of not having a physical retail presence for in-person phone repairs and support, Google has struck a deal with popular electronics repair chain uBreakiFix to be the exclusive repair company for the new Pixel and Pixel XL. Pixel owners will be able to take their broken phone into any of uBreakiFix's 250 retail locations across the U.S. and Canada, or mail the phone in if you don't live near a store, and have the phone repaired with genuine OEM parts by trained technicians.

uBreakiFix specializes in same-day repairs, and Pixel owners won't need to make an appointment ahead of time to have their phone fixed. Screen replacements — by far the most-used service — come in at $129 for the Pixel and $149 for the Pixel XL at any location.

Google has to have this partnership in place for the kind of customers it targets with the Pixels.

Though Google offers its own "Device Protection" insurance service for the Pixels at the rate of $99 for two years (with a $79 deductible), a majority of buyers are likely to skip the insurance offering at the time of purchase. When their phones eventually break, it's important to know that there's a Google-backed repair shop that will be able to fix the phone in the same day with the same level of parts and service you'd expect from Google itself. The fact that the prices are reasonable is just another win.

Though there's a robust industry of third-party repair shops out there, and it's tough to go through any city in the U.S. without finding a small store that will offer its services, having a consistent experience with hundreds of stores across the U.S. and Canada is amazingly important. The service and parts you get from these little repair shops often varies dramatically, and chances are that you wouldn't find one to replace the cracked screen on a Pixel, either — most focus on the best-selling devices from Apple and Samsung.

You may never have to replace a cracked screen on your Pixel, but knowing that Google is thinking about this and you'll have a guaranteed option in that time of panic is extremely valuable.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.