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Mobile for Good: Earth Month Edition

Mobile for Good: Earth Month Edition

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Happy Earth Month! To celebrate, I've rounded up some of the latest news in green mobile technology news. As always, I'll also cover other mobile news and trends. Let's dig in!  

iFixit and Fairphone


Our friends at iFixit recently teamed up with Fairphone, a Dutch social enterprise company, on a new repairable smartphone. Fairphone was initially a campaign against conflict-minerals in electronics. The company realized that simply raising awareness wasn't actually solving the problem.

Fairphone wanted to do something more so they decided to make their dream earth-friendly phone a reality. Sharing the same name as the company, the Fairphone ships with its own set of repair guides through a preinstalled iFixit app. Owners of a Fairphone will also be able to easily order new parts in case their phone is damaged.

By encouraging do-it-yourself phone repairs, Fairphone and iFixit hope to cut down on e-waste.

American Mobile Phone Recycling on the Rise

Speaking of e-waste, a new report from electronic recycler eCycle Best shows how much the company has recycled in the past year. Since Earth Day 2013, the eCycle Best has recycled more than 34,000 gadgets. Of these devices:

  • 21,000 were smartphones
  • 11,000 were laptops
  • 2,000 were tablets

My favorite takeaway from this report is that each person annually discarded e-waste equal to the weight of a Golden Retriever (about 65 lbs!). eCycle Best concluded that American consumers seem to be getting wiser about throwing away phones, tablets, and laptops.

App News

 I always love new camera apps so it was exciting to hear that Google just launched its own in the Play Store. Called Google Camera, the app supposedly has a few improvements over the native Android camera app. One of the features is a new lens blur mode, which lets you play with the depth of field in your photos (you can find a similar feature on Instagram). I don't have an Android phone, unfortunately, so I haven't been able to test it out. Android people: give it a spin and log in and tell me what you think of new Camera app in the comments.

I'm also a big fan of apps that alleviate social problems. Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global, released a free mobile app called Range that helps libraries, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and other working with youth locate free meal sites in the summer.

Anti-Phone-Theft Pledge

Getting my phone stolen was one of the most stressful experiences. Luckily, having an iPhone, I was able to use Find My iPhone to track it (unsuccessfully, but alas) and remotely brick and wipe it of its data. A new pledge signed by the big names in the phone industry swears that after July 2015, users will be able to remotely brick and wipe their phones. Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung have already signed on along with the five biggest wireless carriers.

Reading Research

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization just published a report called Reading in the Mobile Era. The report examined how mobile devices are making an impact on literacy in developing countries. The year-long study explains the habits, preferences, and demographic profiles of mobile readers in seven countries.

A Better Way to Go Wireless

Now you can get a new mobile plan and donated smartphones through TechSoup! Our donor partner, BetterWorld Wireless, provides discounted services and donated phones to eligible nonprofits and public libraries. Read our blog post about the program for more information. 

Got any mobile news to share? Log in and share with us in the comments.

Images: iFixit. Caravan Studios

Ginny Mies is a Content Curator at TechSoup Global.

  • The UNESCO report was done in partnership with WorldReader, who's also a partner of BettweWorld wireless!