Miniature Phone Is Trying To Make Modularity More Sustainable

Miniature Phone Is Trying To Make Modularity More Sustainable

Fairphone wants their customers to have their phones for up to five years, optimizing modular parts a user can freely take out using a screwdriver

Zack Palm
  • 10 march 2017

Fairphone, a startup smartphone company based in Amsterdam and founded in 2013, wants to have its customers replace their phones every five years. The company executives wants to place ethical values first by making their products sustainable. The company does this by designing their smartphones with modular pieces, making many of the parts replaceable should they no longer work properly. This includes the company having a positive impact in the mining of necessary resources and manufacturing their smartphones.

The next Fairphone is set to release this year.

The company began this perspective of thinking as early as 2010. Fairphone first started as a campaign to give customers a modular phone, which developed into a crowdfunding project. The first device by the company was pictured using ethically harvested materials. The minds behind the idea lacked a crucial detail: they had no experience with making a phone. This changed once they acquired money from backers, allowing them to hire qualified individuals to help develop their vision.

Founder of the Fairphone company, Bas van Abel, believes the larger companies have difficulty separating themselves from each other. Van Able wants the story of how Fairphone began to do what larger companies cannot and present themselves as a fresh face on the market with its values at the forefront. The newest edition of the Fairphone, the Fairphone 2, continues to have the same standards its predecessor had.

Miniature Phone
A customer who purchases the Fairphone 2 only requires a screwdriver to dismantle the entire phone and put it back together, from its display modular down to its core. If any of these parts break, users can order a spare part from the Fairphone website to and repair it on their own. These parts can also get traded in for upgrades to provide a longer lifespan to the hardware of the phone. Only the core chipset and the processor cannot receive a replacement or upgrade, as the replacement costs for these parts would prove far too expensive for any consumer to purchase.

Van Abel wants to form partnerships with carriers to provide Fairphone users with an incentive to keep their phone for longer, such as offering them additional data or lower monthly costs. These partnerships may show up in the future, however, they’re simply ideas Van Abel would like to see happen.

On the Fairphone website, they have the Fairphone 2 available for preorders with a temporary delivery date of June 30, 2017.



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