RIM, British Tabloids and Sony are taking center stage recently and it isn’t the kind of attention any of them want. RIM had much of their Blackberry network shutdown, TWICE, in European, Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Sony has been hacked over and over again. Then we have News Corp. tabloids caught red handed in despicable phone hacking cases. These kind of things happen, and it isn’t unheard of for it to happen occasionally (minus the phone hacking thing). But this past year has shown more and more of these kind of tech disasters that no company wants to see more than once, if ever.
Have you ever been watching an old movie and wonder to yourself, “HOW”?? How did these people get anything done without a cell phone with them at every waking moment? I think about this sometimes and still cannot fathom how it was possible. I use my phone ALL the time. I use my phone for things I never would have thought I would need a phone for. It is my calculator, my directions, my restaurant guide, my night-light, my watch, and I also make calls with it. I have even used my phone as a prop to seem like I am keeping busy while I am actually loitering- you know you have too. With the introduction of the smartphone, the idea that a cell phone is just a phone has completely gone out the window. Applications have taken over. There are now over 300,000 Apps available in the Apple App Store, with close to 10 billion total downloads. If one were savvy enough, they could potentially automate a great deal of their life through applications. There are apps to pay bills, apps to help the cost-conscious shopper, apps to track sleeping habits, apps to locate the closest bank, gas station, or bodega. Apps rule the roost when it comes to the phone dominating your life. Continue reading »
Now that we’ve come stumbling blindly into the 21st Century, flailing our arms, and screaming at the top of our lungs to be satisfied and pampered until we can melt into a state of irreversible serenity, mobile devices and cell phones have surpassed luxury items and become a necessity to properly function within a harsh and judgmental society. But as this metamorphosis occurs, another movement pushes through: the Green movement. And while it’s no secret that cell phones, mobile devices, and computers are not “green,” many seem to turn a blind eye to the increased level of plastics and metals and choose in favor of productivity.
Well that’s fine. A society needs to be productive to advance, and nothing screams productivity like having access to global communication and networking at the touch of a handy button.
First of all, there are the materials. From plastics to the rare, powdery precious metal tantalum (mined primarily in Central Africa, where it’s become implicated in local exploitation and violence and is now known as a conflict material), cell phone materials present a variety of environmental and even human rights issues. Kinda like “blood diamonds,” but in higher demand.
Then there’s energy use. Smartphones are especially notorious energy hogs, with most models rarely getting more than a day of usage without some pretty drastic energy-saving strategies. It’s not just the obvious charging that takes up electricity and energy that increases a carbon footprint, but the cell usage and data transfer when multiplied millions and millions of times can drastically increase energy output.
All of this electricity consumption adds up to greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, this all depends on how often you use your device, but with great apps comes great responsibility–and telling an iPhone user how often and to what extent he can use his Applications is like trying to take guns and Bibles away from rednecks.
Aware that cell phones have an eco image problem, nearly all cell phone manufacturers, U.S. wireless carriers and office supply or electronics vendors now offer recycling programs (both in-store and mail-in) where they’ll take back your used phone for free and recycle the materials as much as possible.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides links to many vendor-sponsored programs.
Keeping your used cell phones out of landfills is one important way to green your cell phone use. But green is the color of money, too. You can make money by selling your used cell phone for reuse, either directly to a friend or charity, or through a verified Trade-In program.
An even greener (and generally cheaper) option is to buy a used cell phone rather than a new one. If you don’t absolutely need all the latest features, you can probably get a good price on a model in good condition that’s a year or less old.
This summer, the UK wireless carrier O2 presented its first eco ratings of popular mobile phones. This effort proved controversial because Apple (maker of the iPhone) and Research in Motion (maker of the world’s most popular smartphone, the BlackBerry) declined to participate.
However, RIM says it will participate next year. And some are questioning why several smartphones made it onto O2′s eco-friendly phone list.
Back in the U.S., it may soon get easier to tell which cell phones are really green. UL Environment Inc. (part of Underwriters Laboratories) is designing its initial sustainability standards for cell phones. The draft standards are due out in late 2010.
While we wait to discover new ways to increase the quality of our mobile devices while decreasing our carbon footprint, keep a few things in mind: When using your cell phone, keep in mind that texting is your most energy-efficient (and thus eco-friendly) communication option. Or if possible, call from an old-fashioned land line instead — that uses far less power to transmit calls.
This month, it was officially noted that the single most Recycled Phone of all time has been Apple’s iPhone 3G. It seems that while consumers weren’t eager to trade in their 3G iPhones for the updated 3GS, they acted in unison in opting for the next significant update: the iPhone 4G.
That’s not to say that there is a dwindling demand for the 3G–far from it. In fact, many people who decided against the Apple iPhone to begin with are now becoming new users by purchasing a refurbished iPhone 3G. Surely, when the next upgrade is released, the same fate will fall upon the iPhone 4G, but for now demand is still significant for both models.
The BlueDot now offers a used cell phone trade-in program where you can sell used cell phones.
Several price-watch companies such as The BlueDot are urging those looking to recycle their old used iPhone to search for the best–and most realistic price. Know that your phone is still in high demand, and if it is in tip-top condition, could fetch a pretty penny.
If you have a used iPhone that you’re looking to trade in for cash, visit our Home Page to get a price quote!
Earlier this year, over 1,100 of Bedfordshire’s frontline police force were outfitted with Blackberry cell phones. Sir Ronnie Flanagan of Police Review feels that for the first time, Bedfordshire police will be able to submit written (typed) documents in from the field as well as access data bases and other systems like their crime management system, intelligence database, warrants, Police National Legal Database, and its custom-built briefings application without the need of a computer. The idea behind the program is to decrease the need for the officers to be at their desks and increase their visibility in public.
Before the program was launched, a research team spent time with several Bedfordshire officers on the front lines in order to identify the specific needs of the officers in order to maximize efficiency and meet the officers’ daily demands. A spokesman for the department estimates that the program is currently saving the average officer a half of an hour to an hour of time per day. An hour a day saved multiplied by 1,100 officers equals significant savings, especially during such a severe economical situation as the UK is currently facing.
The significance of the program is being compared to the implementation of walki-talkies to the police force. Bedfordshire police Inspector Jim Hitch says: “I liken this to the change from Police boxes to Police radio. That was a huge step and quite expensive and had its doubters who asked why we needed radios. What we’re moving to now with these devices is a similar sort of scenario. There are people doubting and asking why we need them but I think that will become clearer and we will depend on these devices more and more and wonder how we ever did without them.”
Equipping police with smart phones seems like a no brainer, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar to this come to police forces in the US in the near future. Let’s just hope the smart phones come with a block on Facebook.