The makers of the original Fairphone introduced the idea of ethics to their manufacturing process when it came to parts and labor, and now the Fairphone 2 is nearing release, touted as being the first fully modular Android device. With Google’s own modular device, dubbed Project Ara, delayed until sometime in 2016, the Fairphone 2 will be the first smartphone with a modular design to hit the market when it debuts in December.
As we noted in our previous coverage, the Fairphone 2’s method of achieving a modular design differs from Project Ara’s. Project Ara could be compared to Lego, with components that snap together like blocks, while the Fairphone 2 is more like a traditional PC, with internal parts that can be removed and replaced as needed.
The company’s goal is a device that will last for at least five years, with outdated or defective parts being replaced individually when needed, instead of users buying a brand-new phone. Production on the Fairphone 2 is set to begin next month, followed by a December release in a number of European countries.
Pre-orders can still be placed on the Fairphone website, but while it commands a premium price of €525 (about $580), in terms of hardware specs it’s a pretty mid-tier device. The Fairphone 2 features a 5-inch HD LCD display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 8-megapixel camera on the rear. This might not seem that appealing, but remember these are components that could be upgraded over time.