Even those of you who follow Android news closely may have overlooked the Fairphone, so let me bring you up to speed. Basically, as the name implies, the Fairphone is an Android smartphone that you don’t have to feel guilty about buying, because great care was taken to ensure that all of the device’s components come from reputable sources and it was manufactured in an ethical way. Now the smartphone’s successor is one its way, and its original premise has expanded to include customizability and modularity.
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.
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