I've reported regularly about the efforts of wireless carrier Sprint to police the eco-sensibilities of the mobile phones riding on its network. Well now, the company has upped its game with its first green-blessed smartphone, the Samsung Replenish. This is the fourth mobile phone that Sprint has vetted for materials, energy efficiency and recyclability. What's more, the company has drummed up a whole series of applications -- called the Green ID pack -- that are designed for individuals who are looking for green-friendly product and information. Both will become available in early May.
Said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, in the press release announcing the smartphone:
"We want to make it as simple as we can for our customers to go green with a robust selection of products and competitive pricing. Samsung Replenish is as green as we could make it with more than 80 percent recyclable materials, housed in partially recycled plastics, energy efficient and built with fewer environmentally sensitive materials."
The Replenish will cost you $49.99 per month for a two-year contract. Sprint is waiving the $10 monthly premium data add-on it normally charges. The device will boast a solar battery charger accessory that will also be available in early May. Other things that make it noteworthy from an environmental standpoint: reduced usage of brominated flame retardants, phthalates and beryllium, and post-recycled plastic in its casing (about 34.6 percent). Overall, about 82 percent of the device is made from recyclable materials.
For those of you who don't really care about the green-ness of these device, here are some of its more traditional credentials.
- A touch QWERTY interface, on a 2.8-inch QVGA display
- Android Froyo 2.2 operating system
- 2-megapixel camera and camcorder
- WiFI and GPA support
- MicroSD card slot
The Green ID apps that Sprint is featuring with the phone (as well as some other Samsung products including the Glaxy Tab) include apps from TreeHugger.com, Earth911.com, Green America and the National Audobon Society. The Earth911.com app, for example, shows locations where you can recycle various items. There are also finders for energy-efficient lighting or for locally grown, organic produce, to name just two. The apps are divided into four different categories: Green Now (news), Live Green (how to change your habits), Shop Green (self-explanatory) and Take Action (donating to Audobon, the Environmental Defense Fund of the Green Education Foundation).
You can argue you whether or not the mobile phone in your pocket or pocketbook right now is green or greener than what Sprint is announcing today. But I doubt it. Sprint remains the U.S. carrier most focused on addressing the eco-credentials of the mobile devices that are now integrated into many Americans lives. I can't wait until the other carriers follow suit.