Green mobiles make little impression

Has eco-fatigue set in already? Two recent news stories on environmentally-friendly mobile phones have resoundingly failed to make other companies - o

Has eco-fatigue set in already? Two recent news stories on environmentally-friendly mobile phones have resoundingly failed to make other companies - or we consumers - green with envy.

In January, Greenpeace announced 2008's greenest mobile phone as the Samsung F628, a handset free from toxic PVCs and brominated flame retardants, and with an EnergyStar-compliant charger that sounds an alarm when it's ready to be unplugged.

Then just today, Motorola and T-Mobile in the US announced the launch of the Moto 223 Renew, a phone with a case made from recycled water bottles, nine-hour battery life, reduced, recycled packaging and cradle-to-grave carbon neutral certification from Carbonfund.org.

The response? Virtually none. Most tech blogs skirted over both announcements with a sniff at the handsets' modest specifications - the Renew is GSM-only and has just a tiny 1.6-inch screen - and a sneer at their lacklustre designs.

It's about time this changed. Yes, these are basic devices but surely it's better that the green revolution starts with the mass market instead of with prima donna smartphones that will only over be used by a handful of early adopters?

Reducing the cost, environment impact, energy use - and perhaps even performance - of new handsets is the only way the mobile phone industry can be sustainable in the long term.

Environmental specifications should be labelled as prominently as screen resolutions and memory sizes, new handsets should have a Government-levied 'eco-deposit' you get back when you recycle an old handset and, yes, manufacturers should stop colouring 'green' handsets green. That means you, Motorola.