Billions are connected to the web right now through their smartphones. It is a convenient and efficient way to go global without getting burdened by the often heavy and bulky laptops and computers that used to be the only devices we can use to access the web. The wireless Internet technology is almost a necessity now as people access the web each day because of the popularity of social media. No wonder smartgadgets have become staples because, for the majority, their virtual life is just as important as their personal life.
Yet as much as we love our gadgets, they can be a cause of concern at times especially that they have technical limitations that can annoy us from time to time. Storage and connection are common issues and most smartphones only work efficiently for a given number of years. After that, replacing it with a newer one is inevitable as many companies regularly release new models with better specs and features. It’s the reason why consumers often upgrade after a year of two because they are tempted of the specs these new models have that definitely improved the entire user experience.
We all know one of the biggest motivators to get a new smartphone is upgraded specs on a new phone’s camera. But what if you could upgrade the camera without having to buy a whole new phone? In an effort to reduce waste, Fairphone now offers exactly that.
Launched in 2013, Fairphone bills itself as a more ethical smartphone company, which includes being transparent about where it sources its minerals (which, it admits, still aren’t 100 percent conflict free), and encouraging users not to update their model if they don’t need to. The company’s second generation phone, which launched last year, has always been designed to be modular, but the camera is the first core function upgradeable by users.
While we have tech needs that we can’t just easily ignore today, we should also consider what our new habits do to our environment. E-waste is a growing threat to Mother Nature and now is the best time to take initiative about this while we still have time to act. If upgradeable smartphones indeed become accessible to the masses, it will significantly cut down our e-waste and help us save money too since we don’t have to constantly upgrade our gadgets in order to enjoy better specs.
The first upgradeable smartphone modules were announced today, a move that could save consumers money, reduce waste and shake up the business models of tech giants Apple and Samsung.
Fairphone’s 70,000 customers will be able to slot upgraded camera modules into their phones after they go on sale in September. Modular upgrades promise to keep phones up-to-date, extending their life and reducing waste, green groups say.
EEB waste policy expert Stephane Arditi said: “Well done Fairphone for pioneering modular upgrades and getting us a step closer to phones that last a lifetime. The big question now is whether the firm’s modularity will take a bite out of the rotten mainstream business models, or whether Apple, Samsung and others will join the revolution.
This concept may be the answer to many of the world’s present-day dilemma and may even put a halt to the rapid acceleration of climate change and global warming. However, we aren’t yet sure if major smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung will embrace the idea knowing how their profits will go down even if it is the best option for the environment. Business is still a business. The people can only access such innovative products if it is sold affordably to the masses. If only a small company does this, it won’t likely be sold reasonably nor will it hit all the racks in most major cities. For now, just do what you can in caring for your smartphone, so you can still count on it to give you access to the online world whenever you want to.