Don’t throw away your old phone, it can have a second life with /e/OS

Planned obsolescence of electronics and appliances is one of the fundamental issues of our generation. Every year, lack of software updates is pushing many of you to throw away and replace your phone when the hardware is still in good condition.

Have you once felt the pity of not knowing what to do with your old phone and simply throwing it away or putting into a drawer? This is absolutely understandable. Nowadays, most phone manufacturers want you to buy a new device instead of maintaining the life of the one that you already own. As a result, according to giffgaf, one of the largest mobile network providers in the UK, almost a half (45%) of the UK, which is nearly 30 million people, keep old and working mobile phones. The economic weight of it all being estimated at more than £3.4 billion.

Replacing your 2 or 3-year-old phone also contributes to creating a mountain of electronic waste (or the so-called E-waste), and has a dramatic impact on our environment and health. Only 20% of this electronic devices are recycled and in 2018 only, nearly 50 million tonnes of E-waste were created worldwide.

Electronic gadgets are made of different materials such as copper, aluminum, iron, palladium, gold and so on. Without forgetting that many toxic chemicals are used during their production. Did you know that 7% of the world’s gold is estimated to be currently in the E-waste? And what is more interesting is that there are also some rare earth elements such as neodymium and cerium that are required to create a new smartphone.

It is obvious that the excessive E-waste caused by overproduction and planned obsolescence not only increases the pollution and impacts badly our health but also gets some rare materials much scarcer.

Understanding the system allows us to act to find solutions. And many interesting ideas have already been put into life. At governmental level, the Extended Producer Responsibility laws were adapted in order to put the responsibility on manufacturers to treat and dispose their post-consumer products, such as “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive” adapted in Europe.

Where do we fit and how can we change this?

/e/OS is a “deGoogled” mobile operating system created by Gaël Duval, the founder of Mandrake Linux. This open source project aims to help everyone regain control of their personal data on their phones, with a system that is fully auditable and transparent. One of the key benefits of /e/OS is the compatibility with your favourite Android apps, accesible directly from /e/OS embedded App repository.

Instead of watching this from the sideline and do nothing, we are committed to act at our level. While our main goal is around data privacy, we at Murena are very concerned by this environmental disaster, and we want to contribute to stopping creating this E-waste.

For us, one of the best phone to choose from is the one that you already own!

With /e/OS, we support more than 240 smartphones and counting, we even support some phones released back in 2012!

One of our ambition is to be able to keep these older models relevant and secured.

Take the the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+ for example:

These 2 phones don’t receive software updates any longer from their manufacturer and will most likely end up in drawers for many of us.

Well not only, we support both these phones with /e/OS but we are very pleased to announce the release of major upgrades for both devices. /e/OS is transitioning from AOSP 8 to AOSP 10 via a simple update. These 4-year-old phones will get additional support until 2023 at least. With this major upgrade, these phones will benefit from the latest security patches in addition to the latest /e/OS new features. More importantly, this is an OTA upgrade, which is not common in the world of alternative ROMs, with no data loss or need of a computer. We are currently evaluating to release the same upgrade for the 6-year-old Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and the 5-year-old Samsung Galaxy S8.

As always, these upgrades are free of charge and will be available directly for all these phones via the usual software update.

We’re delighted to contribute to extend the life of these great phones a few more years.

How can you install /e/OS on your phone?

To make things even simpler, we have also have an easy installer for some models, like the Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8, S7 Edge and S7.

All you will need to do is installing the /e/OS easy installer on your computer, connect your phone via USB and follow the easy steps on screen.

What about other options?

/e/OS is also compatible with highly reparable phones like the Fairphone 4 or the Teracube 2e. These devices are great options in this fight against the E-waste: highly repairable hardware with long-lasting software.

Finally, if your phone is no longer usable, send it to recycling by putting attention to choose a company that does not transport waste to developing countries. Or before sending it to recycling, verify if your manufacturer offers take-back programs.

To conclude, we can all do a little something to limit E-waste. By adapting the three R’s rule (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in everyday life will guide our community to reduce earth pollution. We can change the future of our planet by reducing our own waste, by choosing ethically designed products and built-to-last electronics. That is why we believe that a smartphone must be easy-to-upgrade, easy-to-repair, long-lasting, less toxic and recyclable.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store