Why you should care
Because everyone needs a phone. These people and products want to make yours better.
If you see your employee texting away or playing Candy Crush on their smartphone, resist the urge to put an immediate stop to it. Turns out, smartphone breaks at work aren’t such a bad idea. A new small study shows that the average worker spends a surprisingly small percentage of the workday on a smartphone — not much more than an occasional bathroom break. In the study, the participants noted how they felt about their well-being at the end of each workday. The workers who took “microbreaks” were happier come quitting time, having been able to check in with family or friends or play a quick stress-relieving game. But this study doesn’t mean every human resources department should start advocating for iPhone time. Read the story here.
This Dutch designer thinks that in order to make the world a fairer place, we should get to know our products better — starting with our beloved smartphones. Bas Van Abel, an advocate of open design and a prominent member of the global maker community, lives by the motto, “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.” And, after learning about the use of conflict minerals — tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold — to manufacture smartphones, the Dutch designer turned entrepreneur founded Fairphone, a company that sells conflict-free smartphones. He found a DRC mine where profits didn’t go to warlords, chose a Chinese factory to produce his phone and launched a crowdfunding campaign (within a month, he raised $3.5 million). Van Abel has no intention of becoming the next Nokia; his main goal is to show industry giants that a transparent and fairer supply chain is possible and that consumers really want it. “This is about changing the minds of people, more than trying to solve the war in Congo.” Read the story here.
According to recent scientific studies, one of the most common contaminants of mobile devices is — wait for it — fecal matter. When we inevitably use our gadgets outside of our sparkling clean living areas, our hands have come in contact with the filthiest of the filthy. Those germs are then transferred to our mobile phones, tablets, etc. Have you ever wondered why those pesky stomach and flu bugs keep returning? It’s most likely your poop-infested phone. Using a disinfectant wipe is one way to get out of germs’ way — but given how sensitive today’s internal phone parts are, moisture isn’t exactly the best idea. Which is why the folks over at Phonesoap have developed a combination sanitizer and charger that uses ultraviolet rays to zap bacteria. You have enough crap to deal with already. At least you can de-nastify your phone. Read the story here.