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The modular smartphone of your dreams is here

Fairphone wants to cut waste by having users repair old phones, rather than buy new ones

Fairphone wants you to get hands-on with your smartphone.
Fairphone wants you to get hands-on with your smartphone.

A brand you’ve never heard of has just delivered the first truly modular smartphone.

Fairphone, a small Dutch phone maker, is selling the Fairphone 2 from next week, hoping to revolutionise the way customers interact with their smartphones.

Fairphone’s philosophy is built around protecting the environment and the people in the supply chain, from miners upwards. Fairphone hopes to do this by allowing users get hands-on experience with the workings of their phones, repairing the gadget themselves when it’s broken. The idea is to extend the life of your phone as long as possible to minimise the amount of materials used in the manufacturing process.  

The company says it is in the process of mapping its entire supply chain, identifying what happens at each stage of the production process. In doing so, Fairphone hopes to set the standard in eliminating abuses in the system, such as the use of conflict minerals in the production of electronics.

Google’s Project Ara, which was supposed to launch the era of modular phones, has fallen way behind schedule and it’s not expected to be released until sometime next year.

Fairphone 2 is modular in a different way from Google’s Project Ara though. Customers can repair the device themselves, but the components aren’t swappable like in Google’s smartphone of the future.

Individual parts will be available for purchase from Fairphone. The company is promising upgraded parts with better specifications, as technology improves.