Two projects to create smartphones with interchangeable parts, enabling them a longer shelf life and reduce their environmental impact.
Although much is made of the ARA Project and the modular telephones (with interchangeable parts, as in a traditional desktop PC), the Google project seems to be at an impasse, after delay his debut in Puerto Rico next year (and in another location); while two European projects advancing on the same concept.
Ten days ago, the firm Fairphone began delivering the first units of its phone Fairphone 2, a team that does focus on modularity: it is designed from the outset for its internal parts can be replaced with a simple screwdriver.
The intention: to make a phone last longer, both for its shock resistance and the possibility to change parts that are broken or have become outdated.
The company sells the phone and also parts, which can be purchased individually; for now the only provider is the Fairphone own.
“Our current focus is to build an ecosystem that allows long-term use of mobile, whether they are new as if they are second-hand.
For that we offer single rooms, and continuous updates of the operating system, both for this model as for the first, “he told La Nacion Daria Koreniuskina, spokeswoman Fairphone.
The team uses Android 5.1 (standard version); the intention of the company is to release drivers and other components as open source allowing independent community update if desired.
This is the second model, the first bet to offer a smartphone that will use conflict free materials and a process of sustainable development. They sold 60,000 phones, a tiny number compared with the titans of industry, but acceptable for a company of this type.
In Fairphone 2, and 20,000 people have participated in the campaign of collective financing, and expect to reach 100,000 more phones by the end of 2016, according Koreniuskina.
“If we can show that volume interest is in something and seek more partners and suppliers explained. Even we, on our website, an explanation of where to go paid 525 euros per team.”
In a similar spirit, but at another point in its development, is Puzzlephone, the company created by a Spanish who settled in Finland to give life to his dream of a modular smartphone, divided into three sections, which can be upgraded without complications improving life, and offering a sustainable vision of what should be a pocket computer.
The Puzzlephone also advocated a campaign of collective financing, but without much success (seeking $ 250,000, half received support).
But this is not the brakes: the creators of the company announced an agreement with the city of Oulu (Finland) to develop modules that allow multiple configurations phone and a lifetime, they say, you get to ten years.
“Oulu is a city with a unique concentration of knowledge and skills development, research and advanced technology manufacturing, especially in the mobile environment.
Whether Nokia, and later for Microsoft, Oulu has been a key place in terms of technology and operations. In Oulu are used to respond efficiently, quickly and decisively to the challenges they put forward.
One of our conceptual prototypes spent a few notes on paper to a product that works in less than five weeks thanks to the work of Haltian, in that city, “he told La Nacion Juan Diaz Diaz, Puzzlephone.
For 2016 the company expects to have ready the first units on the market, along with modules available to choose among the various configurations offered by this team, including support for Sailfish OS, the free operating system developed by the Finnish also Jolla.
While some manufacturers have acknowledged over the current fragility of most phones; a water resistant models added, in recent times, the Moto X Force, with a screen for 4 years guaranteed against breakage. What they have not yet made the big brands, but (except for a brief test ZTE) is the idea of modularity.
Although beneficial for many users, it implies resign design (removable parts undertake to give a somewhat thicker than normal equipment) and assume maintenance costs (stock of replacement parts, technical support, software update) long term, for now, seem unwilling to do; but precisely against this concept it is that these two companies are leaving, like phonebloks, the platform pioneer in this concept of using interchangeable parts to increase the lifespan of technology and reduce their environmental impact.