Inside the Green line

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So-called ‘eco-friendly’ phones have been something of a hit-and-miss concept over the past year. Despite the appeal, their impracticality and basic feature sets mean they have failed to catch on with mainstream audiences. 

In a bid to win favour with consumers, handset manufacturers have gone back to the drawing board to come up with tangible solutions they claim reduce their impact on the environment.

Are such changes to product development and presentation a token gesture to impress an increasingly environmentally conscious public? Or are they a genuine reflection of the mobile manufacturing industry’s intentions?

Sony Ericsson is the latest manufacturer to  develop a ‘green’ focus.  This month’s release of its C901 Cyber-shot handset comes under its new ‘GreenHeart’ tag. 

Sony Ericsson claims this model emits 15 per cent less CO2 than the C902 handset it is modelled on (but was never released in the UK and is being phased out).

Sony Ericsson is the last manufacturer of its rivals to release a green handset concept. Nokia and Motorola have released recycled phones in other markets, while LG and Samsung announced solar-powered handsets earlier this year.

Yet Sony Ericsson will be the first to actually bring a green handset to market in the UK. It is also launching a Bluetooth headset made from recycled parts as well as opening a ‘takeback’ scheme with the aim of recycling one million handsets annually – separately of similar schemes by networks and other device makers.
 
Some might argue that Sony Ericsson’s ‘green’ credentials are part of an attempt to counteract the €358 million loss it reported in Q1 this year, when its global market share dropped to 5.4 per cent compared with 7.5 per cent in Q1 last year.

At any rate, all handset manufacturers are looking to combat the credit crunch by offering extra incentives and reasons for users to buy their products at the same time as cutting their own production costs. Both these aims can be achieved by implementing more environmentally friendly processes, they argue.

Full article in Mobile News issue 441 (June 15, 2009).

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