While you now touch your smartphone more than your partner, you’ve probably made less effort to find out any more about what’s on the inside.
If you found out your husband or wife was involved with child slavery, you’d certainly have to reconsider your relationship. I don't know how you pick your partner, but your smartphone, your real best mate, actually probably is.
We don’t really know anything about where our handsets come from or who made them.
George Monbiot, environmental columnist for the Guardian, recently did a report into the ethics of the industry. “There are dozens of issues,” he said, “such as starvation wages, bullying, abuse and 60-hour weeks in the sweatshops manufacturing them, the debt bondage into which some of the workers are pressed, the energy used, the hazardous waste produced. But I will concentrate on just one: are the components soaked in the blood of people from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo?”
He found that Nokia appears to be the manufacturer most conscious of its ethical footprint, in terms of trying to get the precious metals that it takes to build a smartphone, tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold, from legal sources. He found the policies of the operators who sell smartphones and other manufacturers to be less convincing.
Scenes of riots in Apple’s factories in China have been beamed around the world, while Samsung recently admitted after another Guardian investigation that its phones contain tin mined from an area that uses child labour and where 150 miners die every year.
Step forward Fairphone.
FairPhone's sleek Android handset has been three years in the making and it has now gone on pre-sale. The company needs 5,000 buyers of the £275 device in order to get the first batch out the door.
The company says it has created an alternative for the “thing we can’t live without” with a transparent supply chain and ethical principles built-in. All the metals it contains come from conflict-free mines and the company says it has focused on improving the wages and conditions of its factory workers it China.
For every Fairphone sold, €3 goes to removing e-waste from Ghana and in September, a shipping container filled with 100,000 phones and batteries will head to Belgium to be safely recycled. They encourage people to sell their old phones to recycling services, something they will introduce for Fairphones. Among their mantras is "reduce, reuse, refurbish, recycle". “Our end goal is fewer phones in circulation – not more!" Which is a probably a scary prospect for our throwaway consumers and manufacturers.
But what about the specs? It is the running the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, and its chipset is up there with the Samsung S4 as a 1.2GHz quadcore. But its 1GB of RAM and extra 20g doesn’t quite match up. Other than that, it has the full front/back camera, glass frontage and 16GB of internal memory.
And there probably ain’t anything quite like the feeling in your heart when you can pick up your best friend knowing that you won't get blood on your hands.
Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here; http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/fairphone-crowdfunded-ethical-handset-goes-pre-sale#88w2Ju96Ad0slfU1.99
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Monday, 20 May 2013
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
The survey of 100 popular consumer-facing magazines in the US, the UK and Germany found that 93 per cent don't offer their readers a fully cross-platform experience. 83 per cent of the 78 consumers magazine brands surveyed from the US and UK have an app. 65 per cent of these have an iPhone app and 40 per cent have Android. Almost all - with notable exceptions like the BBC's Radio Times - have a separate iPad app. But, the report says: “Without satisfactorily audited audience circulation figures available, especially where app are bundled in with print subscriptions or availabe for free, how [do we know] many people are seeing them?"
Fewer mobile sites despite easier targeting
46 per cent of the UK-based magazines assessed by the company and 45 per cent of the German publications did not have a site optimised for smartphones. Just 25 per cent of the US ones were in the same position. The report says: "While many publishers have invested heavily in apps, website readerships are much larger, targetable and easier to analyse."
Many of the publishers offer a scaled version of their desktop site to tablet and smartphone surfers, with varying results. Glamour magazine in the UK scaled to fit the smaller screen, although the writing becomes rather small, while Wired magazine readers in the UK have to move their screen from side-to-side to read full articles on the scaled site.
Vice and Marie Claire were missing just one of the seven criteria used each - an Android app and an iPad-optimised site respectively.
Written for Mobile Marketing and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/vogue-and-maxim-are-uks-best-cross-platform-mags
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Today, 539 buses are supplemented by 5,000 mini-buses and 11,000 taxis to take people around the city, which has a population or more than 3.5m. The AllAboard team believes that re-designing the infrastructure around people's movements could cut travel times in the notoriously busy city by 10 per cent.
As many phones in use in the developing world do not have GPS functionality, the data gathered from phone calls or text messages, which register with a nearby mobile tower. The person's movements can be ascertained as the call is transferred to a different tower or a new call is made near another tower.
The anoymised data from 2.5 bn calls made by 5m phone users was gathered by Orange between December 2011 and April 2012 and released for use in its Data for Development project. This is the largest data release of its kind, according to MIT, which is hosting the NetMob conference where the rest of the projects will be showcased.
“This represents a new front with a potentially large impact on improving urban transportation systems,” said Francesco Calabrese, a researcher at IBM’s research lab in Dubli and a co-author of a paper on the project. “People with cell phones can serve as sensors and be the building blocks of development efforts.”
David Talbot, chief correspondent at the MIT Technology Review, said: “Cell phone data promises to be a boon for many industries. Other research groups are using similar data sets to develop credit histories based on a person’s movements and phone-based transactions, to detect emerging ethnic conflicts, and to predict where people will go after a natural disaster to better serve them when one strikes.
"While in a number of past studies mobile phone data was used to infer travel routes and demand, IBM says this was the first time such data was used in an effort to actually optimize a city transit network."
Written for Mobile Marketing Magaizne and first published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/ibm-creates-allaboard-travel-optimsation-tool-ivory-coast