Breaking News Emails
A new smartphone is coming out later this year from Fairphone, a Netherlands-based company that aims to take the "unethical" practices out of the creation of the era's most ubiquitous piece of electronics. The original Fairphone sold a modest 60,000 units — not much by iPhone standards, but enough to fund a second device ("Fairphone 2," naturally), the details of which were just posted in a blog post.
In addition to sourcing materials ethically and paying livable wages to workers, Fairphone wants to make sure the phone itself is not prey to planned obsolescence or poor construction — two things driving the constant discarding and re-buying of phones. To that end, they've made the phone extra-rugged against drops and moisture, and integrated a protective case so you don't have to buy one. And unlike many modern phones, bits of the Fairphone can be easily (as in, at home with a screwdriver) extracted and repaired or upgraded.
It's not as fancy as Google's Project Ara, since the idea here is to minimize repair costs rather than maximize versatility. You won't be able to buy a Fairphone 2 until Fall, and even then it'll be coming to Europe before the U.S., but it makes for a compelling alternative to the other players in the smartphone world.