Fairphone, a Supply Chain Revolution

If you’ve ever looked inside a computer or even seen a picture of what’s inside, you’ve seen the intricate jigsaw of metals that somehow end up being compiled into computer. The metals that allow your computer to run, as you may imagine, aren’t the ordinary metals that we use to build bridges and manufacture abstract furniture. In fact, they are quite the contrary. The precious metals that are necessary for you to send an email or watch a movie are extremely difficult to obtain, especially in the large amounts that companies like Apple, Dell, and Samsung need them. So, these companies go to almost any extent they can to get them. Often, this means crossing socially unethical boundaries that may deter you from buying their products. Some examples are child labor, and trading with warlords. You probably don’t want to be a part of this. Unfortunatly, the truth is, its pretty much impossible to find electronicts that don’t have a dark back story. That is, unless you’re in the market for a new phone.

In 2010, the Waag Society began a project to tackle the issue of making a globally just phone. One that, for example, isn’t funding wars in the DRC. Three years later, the Fairphone has entered production. It is truly a supply chain revolution. The Fairphone runs on Android, and is created completely under the goal of setting social values first, while maintaining the quality of a successful product. The project has been funded partially through crowdfunding and aims to redefine the global supply chain. This means ethical sourcing, improving working conditions, and working on using recycling materials.

So far, 20,000 Fairphones have been produced, over 11,000 sold. Obviously, this is only a glimpse of the market compared to the millions of other phones and computers that are being sold, but its a great start.

Fairphone: Buy a phone, start a movement from Fairphone on Vimeo.

What is the Cloud? Where is it?

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Nowadays we often here about the cloud. Supposedly it’s everywhere, but where is it exactly? For starters, what is the cloud anyways?

The cloud is where all of the data on the internet is stored. It’s everything that can be accessed from anywhere in the world with access to the internet. The data itself, however, is not everywhere at once, or in the sky as the terminology “cloud” suggests. Every website, photo, or document in the cloud is actually stored on a server. There are a lot of servers. It is these servers which hold the seemingly infinite amounts of data that cumulate into what we call the cloud.

How’s it used? Now that mobility is the most critical aspect of technology, the cloud has become very important. Many services, such as Google Apps, are “in the cloud” and allow you to edit and access your documents wherever you are. This means you can change a slide on a slide show minutes before your presentation, on a phone in the subway. Meanwhile, someone else around the world could technically be viewing your changes. This is possible because the presentation isn’t actually on your phone, but in the cloud. You are just using your phone to access the information.

The cloud allows us to be more mobile, because all of its data is accessible where ever we are. Soon, everything you need, will be in the cloud, reachable at any time through any device. The cloud makes technology more convenient and mobile, improving the efficiency of everything we do.

What will replace the PC?

Some time before I was born, a great man, Steve Jobs, brought humanity a gift, the personal computer. It’s been great, but all great innovations come to an end at some point. So, now, what will replace the PC?

I dont think it will be any device in particular. The post PC era will be populated by a multitude of devices: Smartphones, Laptops, Tablets, Tv’s… basically anything with a screen. The potential of these devices will also be varied, meaning, different hardware to handle different tasks.

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How is it possible to have so many different devices? The cloud! All our information will be stored in the cloud, and transformed to fit whatever device we are using at the time. Many websites are already built optimized for whatever platform they are being viewed on. I know this one is. It looks slightly different on a laptop, tablet or phone.

So, is there any one answer to this question? I guess not. Applications and software will be created to make you productive on whatever device you are using, because most of the time it will most likely not be a PC. Every device you use will be synchronized, and content will be accessible easily no matter what platform you are using. The post PC world is a world where anything with a screen, or touchscreen I should say, is a technology resource ready to help you with your daily needs and tasks.

The Heated Smartphone Race for Third Place

thirdquestionIn the smartphone market, not everybody is fighting for first place. In fact, not even second. Currently, Samsung and Apple lead the mobile market in first and second, respectively. This makes third the only place left to fight for this heated Smartphone race.

Who’s in the race? This is a long list, since no company has made a clear step ahead of anyone else. Here’s the list of who I think can be innovative enough to take third place :

  • Blackberry: With their newest phone, the Z10, they have a brand new chance to grab the corporate market again, which has been leaving their grip over the last couple of years. They have also made their device more consumer friendly, a big issue previously. This rebirth of Blackberry gives them a good chance at third.
  • Nokia: Nokia has been fighting hard to make Windows Phones big. They are hoping their commitment to Microsofts platform will make them unique, and stand out in the crowd. Maybe, Windows Phone is the key to third.
  • HTC: With a few great new Android smartphones, they have a lot of potential to take their piece of the market. Phones such as the Droid DNA and the upcoming HTC One are extremely catchy to the eye, and will make a big impact.
  • Huawei: The current third, although barely, is making a name for itself. Out of China, it is unknown to many. Its’ fresh phone designs, and global presence, are promising.

Although there are other companies, such as Sony, ZTE, Lenovo, and LG that have similar sales, they aren’t being as innovative or as unique as the companies in the list above. Truly, however, anyone can get third. Whoever does end up claiming third place, I hope they take a stab at Samsung and Apple, putting the industry into a frenzy of innovation.