An ABI Research survey of 1,000 adult mobile phone users in North America shows that about 7 percent would be willing to pay a premium for an environmentally-friendly handset. Forty percent would choose a green handset over a conventional one if price, features and performance were equal.
“These survey results mean that almost half of those surveyed were at least committed in principle to use of a green handset,” said analyst Michael Morgan in a press release. “However, the public is largely uninformed about their availability: Only 4 percent said they were ‘very familiar’ with green handsets.”
Generally, the price differential between green and non-green models is not remarkable, according to ABI. However, for handset manufacturers, creating a verifiably green handset can mean revamping the whole supply chain and retooling the production process. Watchdog groups such as Greenpeace are on the alert for “greenwashing.” Says Morgan: “There’s an avalanche of information to be managed, just to prove that you’re green.”
ABI notes that the European Union has the most comprehensive regulations in place, with targets that the most proactive handset vendors such as Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson view as worth meeting globally. The research firm predicts the percentage of properly recycled handsets will grow from 8 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2014.
At CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment in San Diego last week, the Samsung Reclaim, made in part from bio plastic from corn, earned the most text votes on site and won the CTIA 2009 Hottest in Show award as part of the Hot for the Holidays program. Sprint launched the Reclaim in August for less than $50 after rebates.
Earlier this week, Samsung launched the Blue Earth environmentally friendly touch-screen phone. The phone, first showcased at Mobile World Congress in February, boasts multimedia features and lower energy consumption. It’s made out of post-consumer material extracted from water bottles. Samsung Blue Earth is launching in Sweden this month and soon will be available in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Portugal and other European and Asian countries.