Green Handset Shipments to Reach Almost 400 Million by 2017

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A new report from analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that green handset shipments will reach 392 million by 2017 more than ten times the number the company expects to be shipped in 2012 31 million. Of these green handsets defined by Juniper as those containing 50% or more recyclable materials and free of certain hazardous chemicals over half will be green smartphones in five years' time.

The 'Green Handset & Tablet' report predicts that handset vendors will increasingly follow the Samsung Replenish approach, currently available through US carrier Sprint, which offers an eco-friendly Android smartphone, made with 82% recyclable materials. As the smartphone market continues to mature, environmental credentials will become even more important, and represent an opportunity for vendors to differentiate their products in a crowded marketplace, the report finds.

Strong environmental credentials go far beyond eco designs though, and Juniper's report gets to grips with the environmental impact of handsets and tablets throughout the life cycle of these products. Different stages within the life cycle have relatively more/less environmental impact, and the analyst firm's report highlights where vendor strategies should focus.

According to report author Daniel Ashdown: "Most companies have environmental strategies, but the devil is in the detail -- and this where we are seeing differentiation. Our research tells us: 'if you can't measure it; you can't improve it', and understanding which of the many processes have the highest environmental impact is crucial."

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Mobile network operators can play a crucial role as green champions due to their unique customer-facing position, including recycling initiatives and providing eco-ratings at point-of-sale.
  • Smart devices are smart because of the cloud, and vendors need to consider the impact of data centres as part of the impact of smartphones and tablets.

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