The long-awaited Fairphone 2 – the smartphone you can repair by yourself – is now on sale. Dubbed the ‘world’s first ethically sourced smartphone,’ the first Fairphone was the product of a carefully crafted supply chain that seeks to minimize the use of conflict materials. Now, the second model ups the ante with a modular design that allows for easier repairs, resulting in a smartphone that could do something completely unheard of in the world of pocket-sized electronic gadgets. This could eliminate the need to buy another phone – ever.
Fairphone, a company based in the Netherlands, launched pre-orders for the phone’s second edition earlier this summer, after the first model surpassed 60,000 units. That success illustrated a clear demand for an eco-friendly smartphone, and the Fairphone 2 is comprised of an entirely original design unlike any other smartphone on the market. It is composed of two modules, making it easy for a user to repair or replace parts with minimal tools or expertise. The Fairphone 2 is currently only available in Europe, but the company has expressed its intent to expand into other markets in 2016 which, if you’re watching the calendar, is just a few short weeks away. Orders placed online now are promised to ship next month.
Back in 2013 when the Fairphone 2 was first unveiled, reactions were mixed. Many were enthusiastic about the prospect of an ethically sourced smartphone designed in two modules, enabling ‘at home’ repairs on a level that comparable phone models simply do not allow. The Fairphone 2, which is comparable in price to other Android smartphones with similar functions, has been criticized for its mid-range performance but what the phone lacks in processing speed or fancy features, it makes up for in other benefits.
For the eco-conscious consumer, smartphones are a troubling component of our modern world. We all understand that the first tenet of an environmentally friendly lifestyle is ‘reduce’ followed closely by ‘reuse’, yet smartphones – like many other modern electronics – are essentially designed to be disposable. Other smartphone makers, like Apple, have come under fire for exposing assembly workers to toxic chemicals, all in the name of flooding the world’s technology market with devices that make Candy Crush run faster. Fairphone says that consumers will be able to upgrade their phones as technology advances, as well as repair them in case of malfunction, virtually eliminating the need to buy a new phone ever again.
Images via Fairphone