Android. FirefoxOS. Tizen. Ubuntu Touch.
There are a lot of truly great-looking open source platforms for powering your smartphone. Not just great-looking, but powerful too. And, because these are all Open Source (to one degree or another), you can feel good about them from a social/ethical perspective.
But what about the hardware?
We hear so much about many of our favorite gadgets being built in factories with terrible working conditions, where workers are paid in peanuts and live in cramped dorm room-like settings. Wouldn't it be great if there was a phone that we know would be built with this in mind? To treat those who actually build it better?
That's exactly what the team behind the FairPhone thought. So they made it happen. Check this out.
First off, the specs. The FairPhone is powered by a quad-core 6589 CPU (not too shabby), 16 GB of built-in storage, a 4-3 inch display, front and back cameras, and comes pre-loaded with Android 4.2. In other words: not bad at all. Pretty much “on par” with higher-end phones out there.
But here's where it gets awesome:
- Dual SIMs that you can switch between at run time.
- Removable battery.
- Full root access. This phone is unlocked and you can install whatever you like on it.
Those bullet points make the nerdy part of me squeal with delight. You better believe we'll see more than Android running on this thing.
Plus the base materials it's built from? Conflict free, which is a pretty big deal.
On top of this, the FairPhone folks are doing their part to reduce waste by helping recycle old phones, and they're even setting aside 3 Euros (it's a European firm) from each sale to focus on that effort.
In other words: Good phone. Good specs. Good price (roughly $420 USD at the time this was being written). Complete control over your own device... and built with both humanity and the environment in mind.
The phones are available for pre-order right now. Once they get 5,000 pre-orders (they're most of the way there) production begins.
Right now, I'm kicking myself for having recently picked up a new Android phone... because this is just too darned tempting. I truly hope this does well. I would love to see this endeavor have an impact on other phone companies as well.