Image credits: Fairphone
European sustainable smartphone brand Fairphone is entering the US market by making its flagship serviceable phone available for purchase for the first time through another collaboration with e/OS, a French non-profit open source operating system maker which offers a deGoogle mobile operating system.
The Dutch ethical electronics social enterprise remains focused on selling modular kits in its home region. But announcing today a pilot project to sell one of its smartphone models in the US, namely the Murena Fairphone 4 with /e/OS, it said it wanted to know more about the market where it has found some interest in its devices.
The Fairphone 4 was first released in Europe in September 2021. And while, at first glance, it may look like a pretty typical (slightly chunky) Android smartphone, its superpower is that it’s modular by design, meaning it’s repairable and upgradable without the need to buy a whole new phone.
Commenting on the pilot in a statement, outgoing CEO Eva Gouwens said, “We know based on the feedback we’ve received that there are many people interested in Fairphone in the US. However, currently our main focus is the European market. This collaboration with e/OS/ is a great opportunity for us to pilot sales devices in the US market with a long-standing partner and learn more about the US market.
Fairphones’ mission is to increase device longevity to reduce environmental impact, rather than monetize obsolescence to get consumers to buy more new things. It is also very focused on fair working conditions, hence the ethical aspect that it requires its manufacturing partners to commit to, for example, a living wage programme.
The Fairphone 4 typically runs Google’s Android operating system, the phone model ran Android 11 out of the box at launch, but the version of the flagship 5G smartphone that has been made available to US buyers is entirely from Google. (e/OS is a fork of Android that has been stripped of Google’s proprietary services in an effort to protect user privacy.)
Gal Duval, CEO of Murena and founder of /e/OS, said the non-profit organization is excited to offer the Fairphones device to the US market. We are excited to bring high-quality, sustainable phones with advanced privacy features to the United States. With the inclusion of our pro-privacy operating system /e/OS, we are proud to offer users a device that not only lasts longer, but also protects people’s personal data. At Murena we believe this is the perfect combination for a more ethical phone, he said in a statement.
Local prices for Fairphone 4 on Murena online store are between $629.90 and $699.90 (shipping within a week) though the Fairphones’ MSRP is slightly lower: $599 for the 6GB/128GB version and $679 for the 8GB/256GB variant.
Just a wrinkle: It’s only recommended for use with T-Mobile and MVNOs based on the T-Mobile network in the US, with the pair warning that using the Fairphone 4 with other US carriers isn’t recommended.
It will be interesting to see how much interest there is in the US for an iPhone and (Google) Android alternative that packs sustainable smarts and ethics.
While Apple has put its foot down on repairability likely with an eye to right to repair regulations going down the pipe, its hermetically sealed devices typically score terrible for repairability. Whereas Fairphones modular kit, with screwdriver included, is the unrivaled king of the hill on this front.
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Image Source : techcrunch.com