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Mar 16, 2016

Most people probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about the materials used to build their phones, or the workers who put the hardware together. But Amsterdam-based Fairphone is trying to change that... by selling phones made with conflict-free minerals from Africa and by setting up a Worker Welfare fund for factory workers in China. 

Even if you don't care about those things, the Fairphone 2 is interesting for another reason: it's the first modular smartphone to hit the market.

You can replace the screen, camera, battery, and other components with nothing more than a screwdriver.

The Fairphone 2 is available in Europe for 529 Euros, and Fairphone hopes to bring the smartphone to the United States eventually. It's showcasing the phone at this year's SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, where the phone is a finalist for an Innovation award. But the earliest the phone is likely to go on sale in the US is 2017.

I spoke with Fairphone's public engagement manager Daria Koureniushkina for this episode of the LPX Show, and she explains how the project was started, and where it's going.

I also interviewed iFixit founder Kyle Wiens about modularity and repairability in smartphones... why it's useful, and why it's not exactly common.

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