Fairphone is a new phone built in an ethical way using (mostly) ethically sound sources. It’s a reaction to the ongoing problems with electronics manufactures who get minerals from conflict regions (think blood diamonds) and places with no labour protection. Until Fairphone, there was no way to get a phone that didn’t support repressive and violent organizations.
Let’s hope Fairphone catches on! They are already sold out of their first run.
Fairphone, founded by designer Bas van Abel in 2010, is seeking incremental gains. So far the startup has managed to ethically source only tin and tantalum by partnering with NGOs that track supply chains. As for the other 28 minerals, Bleekemolen says, “We don’t have a clue where they come from.” She also notes that the tin and tantalum are only conflict-free, meaning rebel groups don’t have access to profits, but they aren’t necessarily produced with fair labor practices in mind. The goal is to improve sourcing with each new iteration of Fairphone.
Funded almost entirely through crowdsourcing, Fairphone has already received 15,000 orders for its phone, which retails for $440 and will become available in December. The handset looks similar to a Samsung (005930) Galaxy or Apple (AAPL), is unlocked, works with all mobile carriers, and runs on a custom version of Google (GOOG)‘s Android operating system.
Read more at Bloomberg.
Thanks to Dave!
Smartphones aren’t just for games and checking your email anymore! Today, these mobile devices can be used to better the world around us by helping scientists understand more about it. Thanks to the distribution of mobiles research can be crowd-sourced to provide information that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Below is one of ten ways that you can use your phone to make the world a little better:
5. Inventory your Local Wildlife
The goal of Project NOAH (Networked Organisms and Habitats) is pretty ambitious: “build the go-to platform for documenting all the world’s organisms.” Their app has two modes. “Spottings” lets you take photos of plants and animals you see, categorize and describe them and then submit the data for viewing on NOAH’s website and use by researchers for population and distribution studies.
Don’t know what you’re looking at? Check a box when you submit your photo and other users and scientists can help you identify the species. You can also use the location-based field guides to see other users’ Spottings near your location and learn more about your local wildlife. “Field Missions” let you help out with crowdsourced data collection for specific studies that labs have submitted to NOAH. You might be asked to photograph invasive beetles near your home, or log GPS coordinates when migrating flocks of birds pass over you, and if discovering wildlife and helping scientists isn’t enough motivation, completing missions also earns you cool badges in the app. Project NOAH is available for free for iOS and Android devices
Read the full text here.