Modular Smartphone, FairPhone FP2 Unveiled for $590

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FairPhone-2

Amsterdam based FairPhone began its journey in 2013 with a crowdfunding and its motto as stated by the company explicitly is to make an “Ethical Smartphone” or “A Smartphone with a Conscience” it seeks to achieve this goal by not using conflict minerals essentially metals sourced from areas which have Human Right Violations ie Gold, Titanium etc., to ensure use of better components and better labor conditions for its workers. Its first foray into the smartphone market the Fairphone 1, received a lukewarm response with several critics pointing out its weak battery, absence of NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 and the disappointing performance of the processor as deal-breakers for this phone with a difference, One of its primary assets was its build quality and thus FairPhone building on this strength of their has unveiled the FairPhone FP2.

The FairPhone FP2 is going to be a Modular Smartphone essentially meaning that I you can take the components of the FairPhone FP 2 apart with a screw driver and easily replace components, which is significant because one of the primary reasons many people switch their phones within a year or a year and a half is because Smartphones tend to become obsolete during this biannual system of Phone launches and these leads to the generation of a lot of E-Waste and also is a huge monetary drain for the consumer, and the FairPhone 2 allows the user to conveniently update the parts of the phone such as the processor or the camera by using modular parts with better components. This potentially could keep the same phone going for well over a decade. One of its primary assets other than customization is the ease with which the parts of the smartphone which have been damaged. Since Smartphone manufacturers are trying to make phone as aesthetically pleasing and thin as possible they try to achieve maximum functionality from smaller and smaller parts, which virtually puts a full stop on hardware customization and any issue with the hardware such as the battery and a broken screen are all but impossible to address and thus render them useless, modular hardware promises to address this problem and FariPhone has also collaborated with iFixit to make easy to use guides to repair the phone.

The FairPhone FP2 in its initial condition, will include a Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB Storage In Built, an 8 MP camera and a high capacity and user removable battery of 2420 mAh and comes with two SIM slots. The Unique Service Proposition of this smartphone is the absence of maximum possible blood diamonds (Conflict Minerals sourced from areas which use the money to fund conflict and insurgency) and also modular customization with no real competition in the market and the potential for a stable, serviceable smartphone with a long shelf life. The cost is about €525 or ($590 or Rs 38,189 ) with initial availability in Europe until this Fall, but given the advantages this phone provides it is priced competitively, and is prima facie “Bang for the Buck”.

Let us see how this turns out in the coming months after it is released to the public and only then can we judge the Smartphone completely. Also one other exciting prospect is that it could potentially give a jolt to Google to speed up Project Ara, of which we haven’t heard much in a long time also and one thing is for certain, in the coming years, Modular Smartphones will rule the Mobile Computing Landscape.

Sree Harsha Nelaturu

Is a student of the Sciences in the 12th Grade in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He has a strong bias towards open source software and also enjoys well designed software and hardware. Loves to tinker with gadgets and operating Systems and in his free time loves reading books, watching Sitcoms, writing poetry. reading up on Physics and following politics someday hopes to be an accomplished Physicist.

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