If you were paying very close attention to the Android scene, then you might remember the Fairphone 1, a mid-tier device that put an emphasis on acquiring all of its parts and labor in an ethical way. That meant that everyone who built it earned a fair wage and none of its metal was scraped out of the ground by children or sold to finance an illegal army. Since so much of our technology is, as Louis C.K. puts it, a product of human suffering, this is a pretty important hill to make a stand on.
The Fairphone saw a degree of success, and now the company is expanding on their original premise and launching the Fairphone 2, which looks to give its owners a high degree of customization freedom by being totally modular.
The Fairphone 2 boasts all the moral high ground of its predecessor, but the company has made all of its parts easy to disassemble and replace, making it much like a desktop PC. The concept, which runs against contemporary economic theories involving planned obsolescence, looks to make the phone longer-lasting than other devices. When one part gets outmoded or busted, you just swap it out and keep trucking. No need to upgrade to a whole new phone.
It’s a refreshing idea, but that kind of innovation comes at a price. The Fairphone 2 has a price tag of €525 ($583), and only runs middle of the road hardware. 2 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage. There’s an 8MP rear facing camera, and a 5” Full HD LCD display. Nothing to thrill, but the selling point here isn’t bombshell specs. The manufacturer claims the device should last you a full five years.
The Fairphone 2 is only being released in a handful of select European countries for the time being. The company is looking to expand in the future, and they’re also seeking to advance the freedom-of-ownership concept further by having future models come without pre-loaded Google software.
Mass production of the Fairphone 2 will begin next month, and they’re expected to hit the market in December. You can pre-order the device on their website, and over 20,000 devices have already been reserved by those eager to get a fully modular device in their hands.
Does the Fairphone 2 look like something you’d be interested in?