Right, headline figures for you. This is a phone with a 5″ Full HD display, 8 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel selfie shooter, dual SIM and Android 5.1. Inside it runs a Qualcomm® Snapdragon 801 (Quad-Core 2.26 GHz) with 2GB RAM and there’s 32 GB of storage. GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and all the normal additions – like a microSD card slot – are here too, but this handset is a bit different – you can take the thing apart.
At around this time of year, you’ll no doubt see someone deconstructing the latest iPhone 6s. Although it’s possible it’s not something most of us would try. However, Fairphone are a bit different as a company and this, their latest device, is an “ethical” smartphone. They avoid using minerals from conflict mines and help improve working conditions for factory staff in China. As well as reducing e-waste, they also publish a full cost breakdown of the phone for all to see.
The new Fairphone 2 has been co-designed with London firm Seymourpowell, one of the UK’s leading design and innovation agencies. It’s a proper modular phone, which means you can get into the handset and repair it should you need to. This alone should help to reduce e-waste, as there’s less chance of the whole phone being thrown away just because one part has failed.
The first handset sold exclusively on the Co-op mobile MVNO and sold around 60,000 units. You’ll be able to get this new version on the network soon, with prices starting at £25 per month. If you want to buy it out-right, it’ll cost you £395.
Full details below.
Ethical and designed to last: Changing the game with the modular Fairphone 2
The Fairphone 2 – the modular, ethical smartphone that aims to change the world for the better – has been unveiled at the London Design Festival.
Developed and engineered completely ‘from the ground up’, the Fairphone 2 uses innovative design to change the way phones are manufactured and how people interact with their products.
Fairphone, the Amsterdam-based social enterprise behind the new phone, captured the world’s imagination when it launched the original Fairphone in 2013, with its commitment to tracing materials directly to their source from conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, improving working conditions for factory staff in China and reducing e-waste with the collection of scrap phones in Ghana.
Featuring a 5-inch, full HD Gorilla Glass LCD display and running Android 5.1 (Lollipop), with 32GB of internal storage, the Fairphone 2 has been co-designed ‘from the inside out’ with London firm Seymourpowell, one of the UK’s leading design and innovation agencies.
The modular architecture is easy to open and repair, resulting in a longer lasting device that encourages owners to take more responsibility for keeping their phones in working order. With 41 million tonnes of electronic waste being produced worldwide, the Fairphone 2 aims to challenge the ‘throwaway’ nature of consumer electronics and ever-shorter product cycles.
Fairphone’s aim is to shake up the electronics industry by demonstrating that it is possible to make social and environmental improvements at each stage of the production process. It has published a detailed cost breakdown of the Fairphone 2 on its website, to give consumers greater insight into what it costs to make, sell and service a phone, to bring more transparency to the industry.
It works directly with suppliers that trace materials back to conflict-free validated mines, starting with tin and tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo – a country infamous for instability – and, in the near future, tungsten and gold. In addition, it is setting up a worker welfare fund at the factory in Suzhou, China, where the phones are manufactured, with a contribution from every Fairphone 2 sale going directly to the fund.
Thanks to the support of the 60,000 buyers of the first Fairphone, the company has been able to develop the new model without relying on external investment.
Fairphone is continuing to partner with The Phone Co-op, the UK’s only customer-owned mobile network, which is democratically controlled, and growing the co-operative business model by helping other co-operatives to start and expand. The partnership between Fairphone and The Phone Co-op is based around shared values of openness and ‘people power’ and allows UK customers to get the Fairphone 2 on a monthly contract.
In the UK, customers can pre-order the Fairphone 2 from The Phone Co-op, either to buy the phone outright for £395 or included as part of a bundle with minutes, texts and data starting at £25 per month. Customers can also pre-order directly from Fairphone for €525, including 20% VAT. Based on the current production and development schedule, delivery is expected to start from November.
Over the weekend of 26 and 27 September, Fairphone is hosting a pop up shop with a hands-on display of the Fairphone 2 at Kwamecorp, the organisation’s software partner, giving visitors the opportunity to disassemble the new phone and take part in workshops gaining new insights into the consumer electronics sector. This two-day event is open to the public from 10am to 6pm. Additional information is available on the Fairphone Facebook page and the London Design Festival website.
Bas van Abel, Founder and CEO of Fairphone said:
“We are excited about the potential this phone has to change the electronics industry and the way products are made – and to finally be able to present it to the world!
“Almost 14,000 Fairphone 2 buyers have already voted with their wallets for a fairer, more sustainable economy and with the phone starting delivery in the next month and becoming more widely available through partners like The Phone Co-op, we believe the movement will grow.”
Vivian Woodell, Chief Executive of The Phone Co-op, said:
“UK customers looking to combine the ethical credentials of the Fairphone 2 with fair pricing, low call rates and a commitment to building a different kind of economy based on human values and environmental sustainability will find the perfect fit at The Phone Co-op.
“We’re the only mobile network owned by our customers, giving them real influence over the way we operate and ensuring that profits are reinvested in projects that make a real difference to the world around us.”