A new report by Juniper Research has a positive forecast for the cell phone market over the next five years. The report states that 392 million "green" handsets, or those with at least 50 percent recycled content and made without certain hazardous chemicals, will be shipped by 2017. Half of those will be smart phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate Android phone pictured above, made from 80 percent recycled content.
As Cellular News reports, It's expected that 31 million of these cell phones will be shipped this year meaning the amount of these more environmentally-friendly phones on the market will grow by 13 times in just five years.
Cell phones can be a mighty tool for environmentalism. They're in the hands of more than half of the world's population, which means they can serve as a fast and easy way for people to mobilize to protect habitats and species, while smart phones specifically offer apps and other software that help us to reduce our environmental footprint. So, it's good news that the manufacture of these devices is moving towards being gentler on the environment.
Of course, just making more cell phones with recycled materials, while a move in the right direction, isn't enough. The full life cycle of the phones has to be considered as well. The report urges mobile network operators to put more e-cycling programs in place so that customers can recycle their old phones when buying a new one, as well as starting an eco-rating system so that customers can easily identify the phones made with the most sustainable materials.
The report also rightfully points out how smart phones and tablets are increasingly contributing to the growth of cloud IT operations and the data centers that support all of those helpful apps. To really reduce the impact of our favorite gadget, the energy being used to process and store all of that data has to be considered.