Smartphone and Tablet Lifespans: The Best (and Worst)

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-04-22 Print this article Print
Smartphone and Tablet Lifespans: The Best (and Worst)

Smartphone and Tablet Lifespans: The Best (and Worst)

by Michelle Maisto


On Earth Day, tech site iFixit offered the reminder: "Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Then recycle." While recycling electronics is a good thing, eventually, reusing devices helps to slow the Earth-damaging process of manufacturing new devices. A single cell phone is made up of 500 to 1,000 components, "some sourced from countries that aren't particularly well-known for safe mining practices, human rights or environmental standards," iFixit said in an April 22 blog post. It added that over the last 10 years, production of iron ore has increased by 180 percent, cobalt by 165 percent and lithium by 125 percent. Miners are digging deeper for less pure materials and creating ever-greater waste. Mining and producing 1 ounce of gold, for example, "creates approximately 80 tons of waste." Part of the answer is buying devices that can be repaired instead of retired, and potentially passed on to new users. Here, based on Fixit's teardowns, we offer a reminder of the devices that are the easiest to repair and that—for all our sakes—can have a shelf life longer than a bottle of ketchup. (Like ketchup, the average cell phone has an expected lifespan of 18 months.)


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