This modular mobile wants to change how things are made...for the better

Fairer phones for all

Dang it, a rusty SIM slot. Time for a new phone, then – we hear the Nexus 6P is worth a look…

Wait, wait, wait. Why are you throwing away perfectly good hardware because one tiny component broke? In-built obsolescence and mass consumer appetite? Oh, yes, that.

Well, Fairphone thinks that’s ridiculous. Makers of the Fairphone 1, which was determined to change the way products are made and workers treated, it’s unveiled its latest fix for the top-heavy, waste-driven global manufacturing market - and it's a doozy.

Think Google’s Project Ara is the future of modular mobile construction? Think again. Sure, the Fairphone 2 won’t let you bolt on alternative bits and move them all around, but it’s designed from the ground up to be user replaceable and last an age.

With a 5in full HD display and Snapdragon 801 chip running Android Lollipop in a nondescript glassy rectangle, the hardware is hardly going to get hearts racing, but that’s not the point: the second coming of the Fairphone aims in one fell swoop to quell worker extortion and mass market wastage.

Like go karts and marshmallows protection is built-in, in the form of a reinforced rear case, whilst the real show-stopper is the modular architecture: DIY fans rejoice, for almost every internal element of the Fairphone can be unscrewed, removed and replaced – meaning it could be the last phone you ever buy.

And that’s precisely the point. At present, replacement parts are like-for-like, but slotting in upgraded hardware doesn’t seem such a stretch to imagine – which would be great for the workers behind the phone.

Fairphone has worked with its manufacturing partner to create what they call the Worker Welfare Fund, to build a uniquely worker-driven manufacturing structure in which individuals can open discourse with management, express their concerns and seek funding for project suggestions.

Will it work? Well, 60,000 people bought the first Fairphone. While that might not make a dent in the sales of Samsung or Apple, it is a start – and it suggests at least some will be happy to shell out a little more on a mid-range mobile that’s responsibly made and built to last.

If this fairly-made phone takes your fancy, you can pre-order one now for €525 (approx US$580).