Fairphone’s green smart phones to ship Dec. 23

They’re one of the hottest selling phones in the market. But if you’re thinking of snapping up one of Fairphone’s green smart phones for Christmas, you’re too late.

The Dutch company’s first batch of 25,000 Android-powered handsets “designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet” are all sold out the first group of 11,000 phones are leaving the factory on December 23. First batch of unlocked smart phones are actually targeted for European markets. It works on networks that support 2G (GSM/EDGE) and 3G (UTMS/HSPA+) but the phone does not support CDMA and 4G/LTE

There are plans to offer the phones in North America, the company said.

“For all other countries in the world, rest assured mobile network partners will support voice and 2G data on these frequencies: GSM/EDGE (850/900/2800/1900 MHz),” a post in the Fairphone Web site said.

2G connections is “perfectly adequate” for general Web surfing, email, and maps but not suitable for big data capacity such as watching video – “for which Wi-Fi works fine,” the company said.

Fairphone was founded in January this year as a social enterprise that sought to design and build a “fair smart phone to the market.” This according to CEO Bas Van Abel, meant a phone would not contain any “conflict minerals” (minerals mine in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses) as well as a device built with fair labour conditions for the workforce all along the supply chain.

The company’s Web site says the device is built from “tin and titanium that support great performance, not inequality” and that firm’s labour practices are geared towards “building relations for better practices, towards net positive impact in welfare and livelihood.”

Response to the Fairphone’s proposition had been very encouraging. It received its first pre-order of 5,000 by June 5. By November 16, it had sold and completed its initial production run of 25,000 units which cost US$440 each before taxes.

Delivery of the first 11,000 phones will be made December 23 and the rest will be made on January 10, the company said.

Fairphone originally planned to ship all 25,000 phones this year but manufacturing and administrative issues (including some capacitors that suffered a month-long delay in customs) derailed the plan.

“We know it’s been a long journey (it feels quite long for us too), and so we’re really excited we’re coming into the final stretch to deliver the phones to our most committed supporters,” said Abel in a message on the company Web site. “Thanks again for your patience.”

The Fairphone runs a customized interface on Android 4.2. Upgrade to Android 4.3 will be available soon.

The Fairphone has a 4.3-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 960×5402 pixels. It is equipped with an 8 megapixel camera and a quad-core 1.2GHz processor from Mediatek. The dual-sim phone has a 16GB integrated memory and 1GB of RAM.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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