FairPhone is set to ship its smartphone, made using conflict-free tin and tantalum (two of the numerous metals required in electronics), by the end of this year, and is the first company to offer such a product.
This is important for any number of reasons, but the most important reason is economics.
When the metals and ores used for the phone come from labor camps, purchasing the products amounts to approval for the companies to continue to use the same suppliers, and for suppliers to change little about their methods.
Leaving labor conditions as is offers little opportunity for laborers to improve their lives, and as good as things are getting in the developed world, they don’t improve in impoverished areas.
Paying fair rates for labor allows for improvements in working conditions, but more importantly, allows workers to take care of their families.
The phone is being sold at 325 EUR, though at this point sales are only open to Europe. It’s nothing extraordinary in terms of specs, but it’s running JB 4.2, with a quad core processor, so it’s not likely to be a slouch.