Similar to the Project Ara, a Dutch company Fairphone has now unveiled a new phone, the Fairphone 2. Though not at much features as the Google’s dream project phone, this Fairphone 2 has many of the things replaceable, such as camera, battery, CPU, microphone and some other vital parts.
The outside case of the phone is rubberized, like the bumper case for the Nexus 5, but actually slips off the body to provide easy access to the internals of the phone. If you break the screen, it’s as simple as flicking two clips to remove and replace it — a straightforward fix to a problem that almost everyone’s spend hundreds of dollars on repairing.The innards are a bit behind modern flagships with a Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2GB RAM and an 8MP camera, but you get 4G LTE, two SIM slots and a microSD slot.
The phone will launch with Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the company plans to make a lot of its software open source to enable easy development of custom ROMs.
An expansion port is left on the back for sensors enhancements to come in the future. Fairphone CEO Bas van Abel says swapping components of the phone is a bonding experience since you take responsibility to maintain it, leading to a deeper relationship. What Fairphone really is trying to be is more than simply a device — it’s a socially conscious company seeking to build a phone that’s fairer on both the supply chain and the impact of the minerals it uses on both people and the environment.
According to the manufacturer Fairphone, the Fairphone 2 is a conflict-free smartphone (you should know what a conflict mineral is, if you have watched the Blood Diamond movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and yes, the conflict minerals are a serious problems in case of smartphones too, and that too since the very first development of them.) Not every material used in the device is conflict free, but the company is working improving the elements it uses and argues that it can’t change the industry overnight — it’s pushing the factories and suppliers where it can. It’s not anywhere near perfect yet, with many materials used in the phone still from conflict mines.
The Fairphone 2 will be available in Europe in Autumn 2015 at a steep €525. You can sign up for the pre-order (which starts this summer) here. Keep in mind that Fairphone sources components from conflict-free mines, while sources where human rights are trampled offer lower prices. By the way, the original Fairphoen sold out earlier this year, 60,000 units in total. The original crowdfunding campaign moved around 10,000 at €325.