The Fairphone 2 is an interesting concept, and its promotional video might have you believe that the company just wants to jump in and compete with Project Ara before Google gets to even introduce its modular phone. But while the Fairphone 2 is definitely modular in its own right (although not quite the same way Project Ara is), the phone represents a push across the board to rethink how smartphones are made—from mining to reusability…
There’s basically four main tentpoles to the Fairphone 2 story: Mining, design, manufacturing, and life cycle. The company intends to use materials from responsibly-sourced, local economies, wants to focus on longevity and repairability — hence the modularity — of the phone, wants to make sure that the phone’s hardware comes from manufacturing facilities where workers are treated fairly, and hopes to bring new ways to reuse and safely recycle the device.
While all of this is well and good, it’s worth remembering that the Fairphone is still, well, a phone. The device has a 5-inch HD display with Gorilla Glass, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 2420 mAh battery, an 8-megapixel rear camera, 32 GB of internal storage, and dual-SIM support. The phone of course has all of the typical connectivity interfaces like 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, 4g LTE radios, and Bluetooth 4.0. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.
Looking at the roadmap of the phone, it looks like Fairphone is preparing to release the source code to developers. And they’re now taking sign-ups if you want to be one of the first to own the device. The company says that the retail price is going to be €525, including VAT, or just around $600. Pre-orders are expected to begin this summer on a “first-come, first-served basis,” and delivery of the first handsets will begin in the fall.