It’s no secret that the smartphone market has reached a saturation point. Manufacturers are desperately trying to come up with novel features, such as foldable phones, to increase sales and grow their market share. However, their efforts result mostly in iterative upgrades and of course, generation of more e-waste. The Dutch smartphone maker Fairphone is trying to change the status quo with its highly sustainable mobile phones and it has now released the Fairphone 3+ to further its mission of sustainability.
Focusing on sustainability, Fairphone 3+ uses 40% recycled plastics
Making sustainable smartphones is not easy and as per Fairphone, consumers hang onto their phones on average for 2.7 years, and less than 5% of the materials can be recovered from it for reuse. Combine this with the fact that over 1.4 billion phones are sold every year and they often replace a handset that still works just fine, it leads to an alarming amount of e-waste generation.
To tackle this issue, Fairphone makes mobile phones that are designed to last as long as possible. The company has the same approach with the new Fairphone 3+, which is an upgraded version of the Fairphone 3, which uses 40% recycled plastics, equivalent to one 33cl plastic bottle. In comparison, this is a much higher percentage than Fairphone 3 (9%).
The new handset also features refreshed camera modules and upgrades the rear camera from a 12MP sensor to a 48MP sensor and the front camera from 8MP to 16MP. The new cameras are also equipped with enhanced object tracking, faster autofocus and image stabilisation for more reliable shots. Fairphone 3 users can also buy the new camera modules for €70 until the end of September, after which it will cost €94.90. The option to upgrade your phone’s camera is a great way to incentivise users to buy a new module instead of a whole new device.
The Fairphone 3+ and the new camera modules are now available for pre-sale in the Netherlands/Benelux on Fairphone’s website and via partners for a suggested retail price of €469. The new handset will be released on September 14 and will be available across Europe.
Fairphone 3+ specs at a glance
The rest of Fairphone 3+ specifications are the same as the Fairphone 3. The new handset still runs on the Qualcomm 632 processor, which is paired with 64GB memory and 4GB RAM. It is equipped with a 5.65 inch Full-HD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and the handset is backed by a 3000mAh removable battery that supports Qualcomm QuickCharge. The phone features modular design for easy upgradation and is said to be easily repairable as well.
“Fair specs” with Fairphone
For pushing sustainability, Fairphone also works for “fair specs,” which is the company’s way of expanding on existing projects and introducing new initiatives to make its supply chain fairer for all those involved. With sales of the Fairphone 3+ and new upgraded camera modules will contribute to collecting e-waste in Europe and abroad, sourcing Fairtrade gold, fair cobalt and conflict-free tin and tungsten from high risk areas, as well as recycled copper.
Additionally, it will help improve conditions in small-scale cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and gold mines in Uganda. Employee satisfaction programs and living wage bonuses for factory workers in China. The company is also launching the Circular Module Program for Fairphone 3 and Fairphone 3+, under which customers will be encouraged to send back their old or broken modules and get them fixed free of charge. The program is currently being launched in Germany with iFixit, and in France with Fairphone’s repair partner, Cordon. Other countries are expected to be added in the near future.
Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwens says, “We believe that we must make the most of the materials used in consumer electronics. We’re moving one step closer to a circular economy by encouraging the reuse and repair of our phones, plus making it easier for users to keep their devices for longer. The launch of the new camera modules and the Fairphone 3+ is a concrete example of how we’re making this possible. By showing that it is commercially viable to care for people and the planet , we want to motivate the electronics industry to act more responsibly.”
Image credits: Fairphone