Weird Solar Powered Phone Concept Gets You to Quit Upgrading...Or Not
Images via Yanko Design
This idea has its heart in the right place, but unfortunately completely ignores human nature. The solar powered phone concept attempts to get users to realize how much energy goes into each electronic component of a phone - and realize the number of components it takes to get a phone to operate - and with that realization turn their gadget-lovin' heart into gold. They suddenly won't want to upgrade to a new phone because they'll realize the environmental impact of e-waste. And it'd do it all with stickers! The Label With Green is a design by Shao Wei Huang, Chia-Yi Cho, Yu Pei Kuo & Chung Kai Chiang. They have a good concept to start with, but a terrible design for accomplishing the goal.
The Label With Green is a concept phone aims at weaning you off the upgrade mania. To power the phone you need to use ECO-Green Electronic Labels, which are solar paper labels that juice up the phones various components (display, speaker, keypad, camera, and solar battery) independently. So to turn on any function, say display, you need to stick on enough solar labels onto the rear cover to power it... The idea is to make you conscious of the amount of toxic waste being accumulated due to improper disposal of electronic gadgets, our greed for upgrades and the amount of energy we consume to power our stuff.
I try as often as possible to steer away from "That'd never work!" reactions to concepts because after all, they're concepts, and intended to lead towards getting people to think about better products rather than actually bringing that exact product to market. But...
This would never work. And it's simply a silly concept.
First, it's utterly impractical to try and charge a phone's components separately. Let alone with solar power. Let alone only when you think, "oh gee, I want my keypad to work right now..." Secondly, no one is going to have a good time moving stickers around on a phone in order to get it to function. They'd use it as a novelty educational device, and then put it aside to use their real phone when they want to contact someone, then ditch the thing when they get bored of it, adding to the e-waste pile and negating the intended use of the device.
We give props to anyone wanting to figure out how to make a device that transcends upgrades, a device that is so rockin and repairable that an upgrade is simply never necessary, or at least in the forseeable future. This concept, on the other hand, does nothing to really forward the elimination of upgrades and e-waste. Right goal, wrong direction.
For getting people to quit upgrading, we far prefer websites like Last Year's Model that mixes a fair amount of snark and practical thinking from peers remind people that it's cool to keep your old devices.