Meet the new backwards-compatible smartphone with upgradable modules – Fairphone 

Approximately 1.5 billion smartphones are expected to be sold by the end of 2021, mentions a Gartner report.  Our dependency on gadgets are rising and so are the prices. While it might be ‘cool’ to have upgraded tech in your pocket, the creation and disposal of phones have a heavy carbon footprint. 

Fairphone aims to fix this problem.

This device is manufactured from recycledresponsibly-sourced material, and allows users to replace components that break down or needs an update. The tagline of Fairphone reads ‘the phone that cares for people and planet’. With this phone, the company is looking to change the way products are crafted, offering an alternative sustainable and fashionable solution.  

What is in it for users? 

What if you could sustain one phone for years, and yet own the latest model?

No investments as soon as something better enters the market. 

Does it seem like a convenient, cost-effective idea?  

Fairphone is creating solutions to increase smartphones longevity so that users do not have to discard the devices often. The devices are competitive, with mid-range Android phones, the latest version being Fairphone4.

The phones have decent features when you compare with any upscale phone today; so, you are not compromising usability. Further, one can replace the worn-out parts to increase the phone’s life. The modules that can be replaced include: 

  • Back covers 
  • USB-C ports 
  • Loudspeakers 
  • Batteries 
  • Displays 
  • Earpieces 
  • Cameras (rear and selfie) 

A user can remove the parts and replace them with a new one without seeking professional help.  

How is Fairphone environment-friendly? 

According to the makers, Fairphone is geared towards long-time performance. The device can be repaired and modules upgraded. Therefore, you will not have to invest in a new handset often. With increased usability of a device, from 3-5 years, you can reduce up to 30% of your carbon footprint. The firm commits to eliminating hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing these devices such as phthalates, halogenated flame retardants, brominated flame retardants, making safer phones for users and the environment.

Manufacturing mobile phones require large quantities of natural resources – cobalt, neodymium, plastic, copper, gold, tin, tungsten, lithium, in particular. Depletion of these metals is bound to have consequences. Fairphone emphasizes using a new smartphone until it breaks, then turning over the device to recycling robots so that original elements (plastic, tungsten, tin, etc.) can be used in the creation of new laptops, cars, etc. As the demand for new phones outweighs its supply, it is crucial to encourage the reuse of the products to reduce e-waste and environmental footprint.

Beyond environmental concerns, Fairphone is also concerned about using fairer materials as they state in their materials scope study.

Downside 

For now, users face delays in the replacement of phone hardware. The company is trying to overcome the delays by making the hardware easily accessible through multiple vendors. 

To conclude 

Fairphone is a European company, started in 2013 with a mission to build a fairer electronics industry. Until now, Fairphones are available in the European market only, but expansion endeavours are on. We hope the firm can expand to many more territories in the near future.