Sprint plans to launch the Samsung Replenish, its fourth eco-phone, on May 8 for $50 with a two-year contract, suggesting a growing consumer interest in green technology.
Built from 82 percent recycled materials, the Replenish is also energy-efficient and features apps from TreeHugger.com and the National Audubon Society. For an extra $30, customers can purchase a solar-paneled back cover to charge the battery. It even comes with a prepaid envelope to send in and recycle your old phone for free.
“We want to make it as simple as we can for our customers to go green,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint’s CEO. “We are also lowering the monthly rate for this phone by $10 for new or existing customers so it pays for itself within just five months.”
As part of its effort to compete with mobile giants AT&T and Verizon, Sprint has tried to differentiate itself with a focus on green devices. Last year, the company was the sixth greenest in U.S. according to Newsweek; Sprint’s website outlines its various environmental initiatives, like recycling programs and green apps.
Sprint’s earlier green phones, like the Samsung Restore, were also made of recycled materials and met strict standards for environmentally hazardous materials.
The Replenish isn’t the only green phone in an increasingly environmentally conscious market. AT&T last year introduced green packaging and mandating that its phones be made from 65 percent recycled materials. Verizon’s Motorola Citrus has a casing made of 100 percent recycled plastic.
Looking into the future, Apple recently acquired a solar-power patent that it may use for later versions of the iPhone and iPad.
The Android 2.2-run Replenish resembles the Motorola Droid Pro with its portrait-QWERTY keyboard. It has a 2.8-inch touch screen and a 2.0-megapixel camera.