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Fairphone to start building 'ethical' smartphone

Loek Essers | June 6, 2013
The Fairphone is produced with minimal harm to people and the planet, the company said.

The company hopes to sell 20,000 units of its first phone.

Fairphone would also rather use alternative open-source software, like the Ubuntu OS, which is not linked to big commercial companies. There have been talks with Ubuntu and Firefox, but the OSes developed by those companies were not ready to implement immediately, Gerritsen said. The Fairphone is fully rootable though, which means that users are free to run the OS of their choice on the phone, she added.

The phone will be manufactured in China, known for factories with poor working conditions. "We could have chosen to manufacture the phone somewhere in Austria under good conditions ... but we want to be there where we can improve things," Gerritsen said.

That also means minerals used in the phone are sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the sale of minerals often benefits armed groups. Fairphone joined initiatives in Congo that guarantee the minerals they use don't fund illegal armed forces, the company said on its website.

The Fairphone will be sold for €325 in the Netherlands, including taxes, and is available for pre-order via the company's website. Before taxes the phone is priced at €268,60, but prices may vary by country. Currently Fairphone only has plans to ship to addresses in Europe, including France, Germany, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain.


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