This is an ultimate list of the best environmentally friendly concept phones we’ve encountered on our journey as a green mobile hone and accessory provider. Some of these were supposed to come out, but didn’t see the light of day. Others may have come out in a slightly different form to that presented here.
Jump to the large brand name manufacturers with the most environmentally friendly concept phones on our list.
It wasn’t a few years relatively speaking before 2010 in the late 90s that you couldn’t even text with a phone. Now mobile phones sit on the edge of a design revolution. If you have a look at where the industry would like to take mobile phone design, you just have to sit back and think where do they get these ideas from. Cyrene Quiamco is a handset designer at the centre of some very hot concepts her latest idea; the Aeolus handset, this green mobile phone gets its energy from wind and solar power, charging its on-board battery.
The phone allows the user to charge the device as he goes and we learn that it integrates a power-generating fan that uses the slightest breeze to generate electricity. This green device will get quite a boost from being attached to a bike or car, as it speeds up and charges the phone. The Aeolus phone is made out of renewable materials and it comes with a single colour display, an energy efficient LCD.
NTT DoCoMo Touch Wood
Although it’s far from being a dodgy blue movie, the Touch Wood by NTT DoCoMo has remained a fantasy for many.
The body of the phone was to be made out of surplus Cypress wood from trees that are culled during thinning operations in Japan. Forest thinning by the way, is a practice that is intended to keep forests healthy.
Pretty cool from the looks of it. The body wasn’t set to be treated with any artificial paints or colours and that’s a plus as well consequently the ‘Touch Wood’ has a natural finish and a natural aroma.
It is said to be durable, water resistant and staves off insects and mildew thanks to its special three-dimensional compression moulding.
Although there is little information available on the specifications of this device at this point (especially the weight of the phone which should be interesting), one hopes that an environmentally friendly alternative such as this wouldn’t go down as just another lame showpiece.
Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman smartphone was set to bring luxury to the green, environmentally friendly smartphone market. As we’ve said about the Chairmain previously, just because a product is eco-conscious doesn’t mean it can’t be high-end.
Set to be the world’s first luxury hybrid smart phone, it came with a decent screen by today’s standards, a full on-screen QWERTY keyboard as well as physical numeric keys, 8MP camera, and 32GB internal memory.
But what made this green smartphone concept so impressive was its watch-like kinetic rotor system that passively recharges the battery. It would have also had a crown winding mechanism similar to watches to help generate additional electrical power to charge the battery.
Ulysse Nardin suggested that Only 1,846 units will be made to match their founding year, but all mention of the phone is now missing from their website https://www.ulysse-nardin.com/. If you wanted one, you’d have to shell out $12,800 to $49,500 depending on the model, but for that, you get a service every year including a polish, hardware and software upgrade if required. That kinda puts it on par with Fairphone, but ultra luxury.
Windows Future Phone
Solar or UV powered? Or maybe it draws its power from the human body and transparent circuitry technology. Although this phone
has not been released will never see the light of day, the Windows Future Phone truly is something out of the film Bladerunner.
With oh so handy features like an intuitive user interface and 3D video calling, it was going to be a million miles away from some of the mobile handsets out in the marketplace when it was touted to emerge in 2010. The technology is kind of here today and the smarty-pants at Windows told us their Future Phone did at that time too. And although they are very hush hush about its contents, we were told it was going to be completely eco friendly, so that’s why we’ve added it to our list of environmentally friendly eco phones.
The Magic Cube
Apparently there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 permutations to a Rubik’s cube and no we’ve never even come close to completing one? The original cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik and it is widely considered to be the best selling toy ever.
Zheng Weixi are the creators of a cube designed to charge your mobile phone AKA the Magic Cube Charger, it has an internal lithium battery, which whilst your playing with the cube stores all the electro magnetic induction energy generated. So when you need some juice you can just pull the cube upwards and there is a USB slot ready and waiting.
We must say We’re glad that part of it is easy, because if there were 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 ways to get in, we think we’d give it a miss.
Back in the days before the Apple watch which is basically a smartphone on your wrist, we’d never seen anything that could be called a wearable phone. A phone that you put on your wrist or wear as a necklace, but is also green was a great idea. How could we have ever thought it would be possible, though every secret service member probably has one 007 style. At least now we know how to text but haven’t yet worked out what to do if someone else wanted to use your phone to make a call without it looking dumb.
Anyhow, Mexican designer Veronica Eugenia Rodriguez Ortiz designed the ‘Yuxa’ wearable phone. It vibrates to let you know you have a call and is designed using ecological materials like biodegradable plastic and plant fibres with an OLED display, it looks like it could have been a lot of fun.
This phone came about as we all became more and more aware that mobile phones have an impact on the environment, in their production, how we use them, in their disposal.
Greek designer Nelly Trakidou has invented the Colibri eco mobile phone, a green mobile phone that stood out from the rest because of its completely radical design that would require no external power source what so ever. This mobile concept aimed to seriously reduce our harm on the environment by using nano-generators embedded into the fabric of the phone.
And what are nano generators you ask? A bio-nano generator is a nano scale electrochemical device that acts like a fuel cell or galvanic cell. The super small generator gets power by converting blood glucose from a living body. It works in, much in the same way as the cells in our own bodies generate energy from food.
The Colibri’s generators were designed to be within the buttons, so each time you touch them it generates power for the phone. It means that if you’re a passionate texter, you would never need to look for an external power source again.
Solar powered mobile phones were really popular, with concept designers and manufacturers pursuing this kind of fairly low-cost technology to power their designs especially what with the amount of solar energy on tap. It’s a robust solution to power mobiles as well as an effective way of reducing your carbon footprint.
The sticker phone is one such eco-friendly concept design by industrial designer Liu Hsiang-Ling. The idea is simple enough, the handset is made out of silicone and it has slight arch in its structure which allows for the phone to be stuck to a window in your car, office or in the home, so that you can charge your phone. Because of its flexible shape, it makes it easier to take the phone off when you need it. It also has an on-board battery so that the phone can store the power generated.
Nokia’s Environmentally Friendly Concept Phones
Coke Powered Nokia
Daizi Zheng’s invention turned heads when people found out it was powered by coke. No, not the former ingredient of the world famous Coca-Cola Company’s brand name drink (though we’re sure that battery would be able to power the latest smartphone for several months with a single charge), the current formula available in stores today.
Well, in all of its 124 year history, I’m sure Coca-Cola has seen some things, but this one is an original.
Mobile Phone companies are looking at some very ingenious ways in how to make their mobiles green. The key to this is using less energy when making a call or charging the phone.
Chinese developer Daizi Zheng, using just Coca-Cola (or any sugary soft drink actually) and a modified Nokia phone, created a kind of bio battery for it. The battery can power the Nokia for several hours, using enzymes to generate electricity from carbohydrates in the Coke. And when it runs out, you just empty out the water and refill it full of Coca-Cola! Apparently it can last longer than conventional batteries, and the handset is biodegradable.
Nokia Eco Sensor Concept
Meet Nokia’s future vision, the ‘Nokia Eco Sensor Concept’ is one such green mobile that looks at different ways of developing your global environmental and physiological awareness.
Imagine a two piece device made from environmentally friendly and recycled materials using state of the art bio materials and low power radio technology so that the pieces can relay information to each other (otherwise known as NFC – near field communication technology). Designed for the wrist, neck, or like a simple candy bar style phone, powered by solar sells, a total solution that measures the environment, local weather conditions and your health, all packaged as a normal green mobile phone? Surely it’s too much to ask of a mobile phone?
The eco sensor concept is designed to be personal and will be customisable, which means you can choose what you want the phone to monitor.
The Eco Sensor Concept allows you to do the following;
Ultraviolet radiation sensor
Atmospheric gas-level monitor
Environmental catastrophe warning and guidance system
Heart rate monitor
Noise level monitor
Air pressure sensor
We guess it’s a bit like the Swiss Army knife of mobile phones.
Do we like chargers? In truth no we don’t.
They’re black, dusty, never around when you want one, messy and for the last 10 years plus, when you left yours at home, you can never find a charger to use the same as yours? Well imagine if you didn’t ever need a charger at all, that you didn’t need to trawl through the kitchen drawer to find one again, hurrah.
Well, Nokia have taken that thought on board and come up with a new concept green mobile phone, the E-Cu. It does away with a charger all together, more hurrahs. Patrick Hyland from London developed this phone using built in thermogenerators.
The mobile phone basically charges itself by converting heat energy into electric potential energy. It can be charged from any heat source, for instance by putting it on a radiator or in your pocket. Phone chargers cause around 50,000 tonnes of e-waste a year which was the central driver for the E-Cu mobile design concept and here it is, super slim and charger free, wonderful.
The Morph by Nokia is a concept phone that stands at the very edge of science. It’s a green mobile phone built around a glass structure which can power it self, almost solely by use of sunlight as an energy source. Because of its solar dependence, the battery size has been substantially reduced.
A conceptual showcase that’s about future applications of nanotechnology, it is flexible, stretchable and wearable with a self cleaning super hydrophobic surface (that means the mobile is self cleaning in layman’s language), its self preserving and corrosion free, which helps to extend the unit’s life cycle. It even has a scratch proof mode? And get this, it has transparent electronics! How does it do this? Through the use of Fibril protein woven into three dimensional meshes within its form.
It has even been equipped with Nanosensor technology which will be used to monitor your well being. Its thought it could detect specific chemical compounds in the air and on food items, thus helping to improving your hygiene and health.
And all we wanted to do was to make a phone call.
Nokia 5 Year Phone
Back in 2011, our Finnish cousins were really burning the midnite oil when it came to coming up with ideas for eco friendly mobile phones. Out of a 2010 resolution, the company took to selling some mobile phones without a charger, hoping that consumers would use their last one. Clever. The impact of such a simple idea is ten fold, if it comes without a charger, lower transport costs, packaging costs, resource use etc etc.
Sometimes something as simple as that can make all the difference. Well maybe this idea is just as clever. Nokia aimed to launch around 40 new mobile phones by the end of 2011 – each one containing biodegradable and eco friendly components that can be easily recycled.
And at the top of the pile of ideas must be this one by UK designer James Barber, who has developed an eco-friendly concept mobile called the Nokia 5 Year Phone. As green as the Hulk, over 80% of it was going to be made from recycled materials. Using a single colour ABS plastic, it could be melted down and remoulded. It had a single screw to hold it all together and was designed to use three times less energy compared to a normal mobile throughout its five year lifespan.
Nokia Ink 01
Nokia set a cool new trend in the world of green mobile phone concepts with its recycled aluminium phone. Set to be made out of recycled aluminium, it would look as futuristic as it does amazing.
The main idea for the Nokia recycled aluminium phone was to reduce energy consumption thus mobile phone carbon footprint. Recyclable materials were going to be used in the Nokia Ink 01 and those materials could be used again when you traded it in. This amazing concept phone would have also used an E-Ink extra low power consumption digital display.
Everything except the screen was to be made from recycled aluminium and instead of a key pad, it would have a capacitive sensor. It would be powered by a 95 per cent recyclable silver/zinc battery instead of a lithium ion battery. The silver/zinc battery intended to be produced for the Nokia Inc 01 would actually beat a regular lithium ion battery with 40% more energy density.
Great energy saving features and a battery that could be slightly smaller than usual, yet store more energy that an identical sized lithium ion battery, there would have also been less charging. A win from all angles.
Could the John’s Phone, the worlds simplest mobile phone have been the greenest mobile on the planet? Some of today’s smart phones are so technologically powerful and stuffed with apps and cameras, it can be all just too much. So if you tired of all that geeky clutter and fancy something really eco, then the John’s Phone a no frills mobile phone may just be the handset for you.
So what can it do? Well you can make and receive calls; hit the green button to talk, hit the red button to finish it. It has no texting ability, no internet browser and certainly no camera. So what do you get for its low-low price, well it comes unlocked out of the box, with an energy efficient 1200 mAh battery, a ring tone and vibration function, an address book and a pen, it even has a speed dial and a set of earphones for hands-free operation and in a range of fab colours; Black, White, Green, Pink and Brown.
Our favourite bit is how you keep your address and contact details. Flip it over and in the back is a note pad, you just slide the pen out of its holder and write in the details. Revolutionary.
Well you can’t say that designers and manufacturers are not looking to solve the crisis of just how to make a truly green mobile phone? One resourceful manufacturer has come up with the idea of a handset made from bamboo. Yes its true, bamboo has all the strength and durability of its plastic counterpart. Plus bamboo naturally grows so quickly that its use and impact on the ecology is low.
So just how would this design work? At the end of the life of the mobile, the battery, antenna and circuit board would be removed. This would leave just the bamboo case, inside of which are some bamboo seeds. Once placed in the dirt, after only a few months the bamboo seeds will take root and bingo, a new bamboo tree, thus compensating for the production process of the hard case for the phone.
Bamboo has been known to grow up to 2 feet a day, and unlike hardwood trees, when bamboo is harvested, you don’t need to replant. Because of its root system, bamboo grows back really quickly. So it not only means this really is a greener mobile but you will have a really low carbon footprint.
It’s likely then that you’ll have a really unique one of kind design every time and every Panda would love that. This concept (or a similar one,) was actually picked up by a Chinese technology entrepreneur, but that one also appears to have remained just a cool concept. We did find evidence that the concept could have been made a reality through another source, but that company doesn’t seem to be around any longer and their name doesn’t feature on established industry websites.
Kinneir Dufort Revive
Kinneir Dufort are perhaps one of the longest established innovation and design consultancies in Britain, founded in the seventies, they have since come up with some excellent ideas, but their latest brainchild could have been another answer to the problems inherent with mobile phones.
Kinneir Dufort – REVIVE smartphone UI from duncan shotton ☁ on Vimeo.
They didn’t set out to make a green mobile phone. Put another way, they looked instead at a design that would make the whole process sustainable – simply allowing people to keep up with the latest technology by allowing present day hardware to be upgraded. Which when you think about it, is brilliant, why are we always having to throw away stuff to replace it with something else. Well their 2010 concept design for a mobile phone the ‘Revive’ set out to do just that. It’s simple to use and the components can be changed almost immediately.
It’s a brilliant concept and challenge to allow present day products to keep up with the future. Do we really need to keep changing the outside so often? Plus, they have provided a membership scheme which rewards the user for keeping the mobile for longer…strikes us as this is the way to go. Although the Revive didn’t make it to market, the Fairphone series did make this concept a reality and in a way that is working to improve mobile phone production throughout the supply chain.
Samsung’s Environmentally Friendly Concept Phones
Do you remember the scene in Terminator 2, that feeling you had when you first saw the liquid metal T1000? Do you remember how awe struck you felt when you saw such a piece of technology? We certainly do. Well the Samsung Liquid Mobile gives us that same feeling. Some green mobile phone designs are just silly, some are just not practical and some are at the very bounds of imagination. Bon Seop Ku is a South Korean designer who has possibly designed one of the most awesome mobile phones on the planet.
It is a water based mobile phone named the Samsung Aqua. Bon got the idea from drawing water on a table and from that he came up with a graphic user interface and a water based display. It uses state of the art liquid battery which is the heart of this eco friendly mobile and is transparent too.
We’re speechless as to its creativity and the technological concept behind it, as to where it will lead mobile phone design; who knows? It’s certainly a radical new way of looking at one of the most important pieces of technology in our lives.
This eco-friendly smartphone designed for Samsung by Daniele Silvestri is a bit like the chip in the Terminator, the one that caused all the radical thinking, took them in news ways of thinking. Well that’s what is exactly going with this one, a completely new way of thinking.
So what’s different about Silvestri’s smartphone concept was that it was designed to store all its memory and data on a server. You know what that means? It means the Unliquited was set to be the precursor to today’s cloud systems. If it broke or was lost, files, pictures, messages, corrupted? Don’t worry, everything would be stored in the cloud. Furthermore, it means it would technically cut down on all the unnecessary weight PCB, memory chips etc that you carry around with a phone as all your info is stored elsewhere.
And supposedly, because communication between the phone and the server is wireless, that means even less energy to power the phone. But really, that’s just kicking the can down the road, polluting out of sight given the need for data centres and related infrastructure. So would that really be a green phone? With advances in data centre technology pioneered by Microsoft in their efforts to become carbon negative, it all would have balanced out in the end.
Anyway, the battery runs on methanol. You simply recharge it by injecting by injecting a 10mL pack of methanol directly into the 40mL methanol fuel cell. By combining methanol and oxygen, it converts it into electricity, so no plugging in. And one last one thing, when your done with it, the metal frame can be melted down and reused.
First off, the Samsung Clover was designed to be made out of recycled materials with a charging port is made up of solar panels and even the packaging would have been eco designed.
Originally designed by Jin Woo Han, Arim Kim and Faten B in conjunction with Samsung Corp Milano, the Samsung Clover was an eco minded mobile phone designed to grow with you and advancing technology. Built around a set of four module interfaces for vision, location, sound and sensor. When you update these units, the phone becomes more customised to your needs.
It was kind of a modular concept approach where you can keep the body of the phone and upgrade the internal modules as technology moves on. Modular phones have great eco potential and the Samsung Clover would have been a great move in that direction.
The back of this green mobile phone would have had a display screen that changed from opaque to transparent as the battery drained. We think that had the potential to be a beautiful way to instantly see the status of you phone’s charge.
The Eclipse Intuit Phone by Eddie Goh, is a concept green mobile phone at present, loaded with a 5 mega pixel camera and editing software, this is a mobile phone for those that like fun. With a big touch screen interface or if you want, it has a slide out keyboard if you like the touch of buttons, which has a vibrating feedback feature when any of the keys are pressed, all powered by Windows mobile 7.
But the thing that really makes this mobile really stand out, is its very eco-friendly charging capabilities. The handset is covered with a chemical based solar skin so that when the handset is exposed to sunlight or any other form of light will charge the battery up it.
Keep em coming Eddie.
Much like a storage radiator, the ‘Double Cell’ mobile phone uses solar cell energy. With its clam, double cell design it collects the power and stores it for use overnight, it is the latest greener mobile design from design house ZTE.
With 97% of people not leaving home without their mobile phone, about 4.1 billion handsets in the world and mobile phones sales growing at 5% a year, the energy we need to power our phone calls that we draw off the power grid becomes alarmingly significant.
This mobile answers the power problem with it’s never run out of power attitude, the Double Cell could well be the answer for smart phones of the future as they do use a lot of power. Unfortunately, its 3.2 inch touch screen interface stayed in concept form.
Everyone is quite used to the idea of mobile phones being made from metal, plastic and glass but that may have been until now. The Chute Smartphone by US designer Michael Laut is just like any other ordinary smartphone, but where it differs from the crowd is that it is an outstanding design that may well turn that kind of previous design thinking on it head, as the Chute is a blend of natural materials – bamboo and modern day technologies.
With its shell made entirely from bamboo, it packs in a whole bunch of features that comes with most smartphones. Organic materials like Bamboo are back in the news again as a viable alternative as it is both highly sustainable and it can be grown extremely fast. With this green mobile phone, the bamboo case is light, totally bio-degradable and recyclable, it’s stronger than plastic, extremely hard wearing and much more Earth friendly.
A concept phone it may well be, but it could well be the face of things to come?
Paper has been around for the last 1,900 years or so thanks to the Chinese and in its time has been used for drawings, the creation of laws and constitutions, architecture, steam trains, car and rocket designs, maps and books of such greatness that they serve man for all time. So it can come as no surprise, that once again paper is hitting the headlines one more time…The Paper Phone…
There have been over the years some outstanding designs and thoughts as to how to reduce our consumption of resources and materials, but scientists in Canada may just have come up with something outstanding with this idea – a pocket sized mobile phone made entirely from paper.
Yes, you can receive and make calls just as in the normal way, taking pictures, not sure about that. And for the tekkie types, the phone uses a Gumstix processor powering a 3.7 inch flexible Bloodhound electrophoretic display using a layer of five bidirectional flex-point bend sensors, so that you can bend and twist the phone to take on almost any shape you’d like.
The creators said it was about 10 years away from mass production, but it hasn’t made it out quite yet. We’re not sure it ever will given the amazing things we can now do with our mobile phones, but the paper phone would still be a cool option some of us would take up since it would be just like using interactive paper, just pocket sized, light, incredibly strong paper.
Do you remember how radical it was when the ‘Clam’ design mobiles first came out? And wasn’t the Nokia ‘Matrix’ mobile just the most iconic and amazing thing ever in its day? Whenever you saw one, you just had to push the button to see the base part fly out! Well the new Phillips Fluid smartphone reminded us of just one of those seminal moments when you see something for the first time and think ‘my god!’
Brazilian designer Dinard da Mata is at the heart of this bendy, stylish and sleek smartphone that can be worn around your wrist like a bracelet – The Phillips Fluid Mobile. Its an eco mobile device that does everything. The ‘Fluid’ sports a tiles based app menu, it has a sensor OLED hi-res display interface that takes the handset off into different directions for the user, as it can switch from a multi-media player, to a portable game console too and of course a mobile phone.
Wacky yes, but brilliant. Absolutely, it’s a fusion of fashion and hi-technology, thank you Phillips for perhaps a vision of things to come.
Just because it’s a green eco friendly mobile phone doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Phone designers are incorporating the concept of being environmentally friendly, so that users can reduce their carbon footprints without too much discomfort, without compromising on style. That’s what Georgian designer Yana Moskalenko has done with his latest mobile design creation that keeps sustainability at the core of its values and chargers using photovoltaic charging – that’s solar power to you and me.
The rear of the mobile has a solar panel in which to trap energy from the sun’s rays to charge it up. Thus, it sports a 200 hour standby time and an hours worth of music on tap. Other standard features to keep in the running: it has a touch screen resolution of 240 x 320 pixels running 17 millions colours. Doing the driving is the Symbian system OS 3.2 S60. It comes with 45 MB of internal memory; is expandable with a microSD card. It can be used using any of the GSM 850/900/1800/1900 frequency. Standard colours are black and blue and this environmentally friendly smartphone concept weighs in at 90 grams.