5 Features That Would Make Smart Phones Really Smart



Photo via Chris Jordan

Cell phones do everything these days. They're our communication enablers, our alarm clocks, our calendars. They host our photos, music, and videos, and let us capture off-beat moments with built-in cameras. They provide us with the latest news reports and stock updates. They can calculate our carbon footprint, help us find anything on a map, and even control our home's energy consumption.

They are essentially our superhero sidekick, or at least we treat them that way. So what if a cell phone had super powers to match?

We put together a wish list of what abilities and features we want our smart phones to have.1. Powered Efficiently and Entirely by Renewable Energy
Be it solar, talking, bouncing or anything else, we wish our smart phones could collect the energy needed to run them by utilizing the energy resources around them. While we can somewhat accomplish this, such as charging up with a solar or wind charger, it isn’t yet integrated into phones.

2. Effortless Carbon Emissions Tracking
While ever-improving carbon emissions trackers are being created as we speak, there still isn’t an entirely effortless way to track our impact. Most of the time, apps require our (admit it) flawed input for things like trips. We might forget short excursions, fudge on distances, or make other calculation errors in our input and get inaccurate emissions data back. Having a way to get our daily carbon emissions from each action we take, without thinking about it at all, would be pretty great.

3. Eco-Mapping of Everything All the Way Back to the Source
Sure, we can find nearly anything on our smart phones. We can get maps, directions, and even travel itineraries with just a few button clicks. But what if it could really map out information? What if we could put in a destination, such as a restaurant, and our phone could give us the whole picture of emissions for that restaurant, for the methods of travel to get there, and so on. It might end up being TMI (too much information) but it would give us a cold, hard look at the actual magnitude of the trip to that restaurant.

4. Greenwash Detector and Alert System
While it is pretty easy to catch greenwashing, sometimes those marketers are very clever. How great would it be if our phones could send us alerts when we’re near greenwashing? Perhaps we’re planning a trip and like a certain hotel for its eco claims. Before booking, we could check with our phone and it could alert us any greenwashing taking place with that hotel's advertising. This one is really off the wall, but it’d still be great - what if it could alert us just as we approach a store or item with greenwashing? Then again, our phones would probably just go nuts with text alerts as we walk through a store.

5. Be Manufactured Responsibly and Made to Last
Phones are practically disposable. They have an average use length of 18 months before they’re replaced with the latest and greatest. We want our smart phones to be made with eco-friendly materials in a plant that ensures it has the lowest possible carbon footprint. We want it to be made to last longer than 10 years, and be upgradable so that as new technologies are unleashed, we can make small changes to our existing phones to keep up. And we want them to be 100% recyclable at the end of their very long lives.

Okay, let loose with your eco-imagination. What do you wish your smart phone could do? What apps would you have on it, and what super powers would it hold under its casing?

More on Cell Phone Improvements:
Using Sound Waves to Charge Cell Phones
Gotwind.org Wind-Powered Cell Phone Charger
Motorola 100% EnergyStar Certified
Cell Phone Sales Slump Is Good Green News

Tags: Alternative Energy | Cell Phones | Recycling