I wonder have Fairphone considered making a regular non-“smart” cellphone? I have recently decided to get a new phone but I don’t want it to be a smartphone, for various reasons – I just don’t like smartphones! But it is very hard to find any information about the ethics of “normal”. non-“smart” phones. Does anybody know anything about any fair, non-“smart” phones out there?
I wouldn’t count on feature phones (as they’re called) being any fairer than smart phones.
short answer: There is no such thing.
Though feature/dumb phones are produced rarely now you might find some rugged/outdoor phones even “Made in …” your country of choice. But these tend to be more expensive.
Unfortunately I guess the market for feature phones is quite small nowadays… Everybody wants internet access and navigation and a huge music library on their phones. On the other hand, since a feature phone contains less sensors, maybe it would be easier to achieve the 100%-fair-label.
PS: What I really do miss are real QWERTY-keyboards! (Seems that only BlackBerry sells them still…)
This topic made me curious and I tried looking into it a bit further. I found a lot of rankings of different mobile brands and electronic companies, two of which I listed below:
According to these two lists Nokia seems to be the “most” fair of the big electronic producers for feature or basic phones out there. A lot of articles I found regarding the topic of ethical/sustainable/green mobile phones actually linked back to these lists, so they “reported” the same results.
There’s another listing I found, that focuses more on mobile phones:
Nokia does not fare well in this ranking, however “Doro”, “Amplicomm” and “Alcatel” do. I didn’t want to subscribe to the site though, so I couldn’t see exactly how they scored their rank. But all of these companies produce feature or very basic mobile phones. Maybe this is something for you to further look into? I think this is the closest to a fair feature phone you could get at the moment.
@Stefan I found it quite hard to trade my old qwerty-phone for a full touch-phone! I would’ve used it till it died on me altogether if it weren’t for Fairphone’s overall concept convincing me. But I guess that’s a different kind of discussion…
@Kris_S: That’s really useful info, thanks. Not surprisingly it looks like Fairphone is by far the most ethical phone manufacturer, but it looks like Nokia might be a good bet for a non-smart phone. It’s encouraging to see they have some kind of policy in place about conflict materials.
Good also to see Apple getting reasonably good scores from those websites considering I’ve been using an iphone 3 for the past few years … but I can confirm they’re product lifespan is terrible, the on/off button died after about a year so I have to run the battery down to turn it off!
There should be an app for this. At least Android has a widget somewhere. (Good thing that came up. This will be the first app on my FP.)
Same here. I am interested in a Fair Dumb-phone because I respect my privacy and don’t want my phone being owned by someone else or being socially terrorized by social media. Until FairPhone has implemented another operating system other than Android (which they told they would do) I prefer privacy above sustainability. After intensive searching I did found that Nokia seems the best option regarding sustainability. I hope FairPhone is considering a dumb phone in the future. Much cheaper to produce and much better for the environment that a smartphone. And unlike many responders above, I do think things are changing and some -more informed and critical people- move towards dumb-phones again.
They never said that they would, they said they’d help communities that ported different operating systems. And there are many doing that.
Also there is Fairphone Open OS which comes with no google.
If you want a sustainable dumbphone, get a second hand one. There are people switching from dumbphone to smartphone everyday and their old phones are just lying around.
Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t know about Fairphone Open OS. I think I am more-than -average technical but I seem to loose grip on all these settings you have to think of to protects your privacy. I hope that one day, a fair phone comes on the market that is easy to use and respect your privacy. Yes, I also consider a second hand, but they seem hard to obtain. Also,the older types do not seem to read the newer SIM cards anymore, due to which you may loose all your contacts again each time you need a “new” phone.
Fairphone Open OS is very easy to handle and you’ll have your privacy in your own hand - unless you install apps that take it out of your hands. The only problem is that you loose all your data when switching from FP OS to Open OS, but if you switch right away than there is nothing to loose anyway.
Here is a little guide for Open OS. Maybe it inspires you.
Hello Fairphone ! I’m a big fan of the fairphone basic concept : To make an ethical phone. I wish I could be using one. But just like so many people, i can’t afford (don’t want to) a 500 euros phone. I understand it’s a “fair” price. So much fairer than any other phones on the market. I’m actually using a phone, that works pretty much only to make a call or write a text. I don’t need a phone to make a movie, to take pictures, to play videogames, to go on internet, to have a touch-screen …etc. I just use a simple phone to call and text. I hate not truly knowing if my phone was build by children, or exploited adults in asia or elsewhere. My question : Fairphone, when will you be offering a contemporary phone, with much basic and simpler technology, with a much cheaper price ? Thank you very much for your answer
You could use an old phone like Nokia 6210. No need for mining, for making a phone, for energy, for …
And very cheap!
as @Spielmops said using a second hand phone is a good possibility to get a basic phone and saving e-waste.
I think there are tons of old working phones thrown away just because there is no demand for them. If you do not need a smartphone I think using one of these phones is better than building new “basic” phones.
I totally agree, it’s pretty much what i’ve been doing for 3 or 4 years. Taking my friends old phones, when they get new ones… But i still don’t know how these other phones are made. Since Fairphone is the only one on the market (that i know of) truly concerned about ethical and social issues, it would be nice to get one. Simply because it shows to the market that there’s a request for more then a fashion phone. If we do not “help” companies like Fairphone, and it collapse, it won’t encourage other entrepreneurs to do the same…