Photo via basykes via Flickr CC
According to a poll conducted by ABI Research, nearly half of consumers in the market for cell phones would choose one that is considered "green." There's a catch, though - or rather, two catches. They don't want to pay more for it. In fact, only 7% of the respondents said that they'd pay a premium to have a green phone. And, they don't want to give up performance for eco-friendliness. That leaves consumers with very, very few choices when going cell phone hunting. Clean Technica reports, "Supporters of green handsets shouldn't throw their hands up in despair just yet though... in most cases retailers have offered handsets with comparable functionality while keeping cost differences to the bare minimum. Crucially though, the cost to handset manufacturers can be prohibitive since the creation of a truly green handset can force changes throughout the whole supply chain and call for complete retooling in the production process."
This causes an issue when it comes to the price factor, but looking at the bigger picture, let's take a measure of how much millions of people are willing to slap down on the counter in order to own a new iPhone. If a company can make a handset that is as functional as the top selling devices - such as the iPhone, several models of Blackberries, and so on - then people will be willing to pay for it since they're after the performance factor and not necessarily the green factor, yet the green factor becomes the deciding factor. Factoring all these factors... the changes in the supply chain become worth it in the long run.
Industry analyst Michael Morgan states, "There's a difference between being merely compliant and being truly green. The three key factors are: using recyclable or renewable materials; ensuring that handsets are in fact recycled after use; and introducing low-power chargers. Even more crucial for the long-term: leveraging the lessons learned in this process and applying them right through entire handset portfolios."
We think there's more to it than that - handsets that are manufactured with recycled materials, designed for longevity, and free of toxic materials are as critical to being "green" as those criteria mentioned by Morgan.
The real problem is that manufacturers are not focused on creating handsets with honest to goodness green features. Yet, this poll shows that if price, performance, and features were equal, 40% of the market would pick the greener phone. That's saying something.
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