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Nov 05

The First Bamboo Smartphone

bambooMobile technology has become an increasingly important aspect of our lives. The vast majority of Americans walk around with a smartphone in their pocket, which they use to connect with friends and family on social networks, to download directions from point A to point B, to take incredibly crisp photos and videos, and every once in a while to make an actual phone call. Tablet devices have only been around for a couple of years, but they already make up a significant portion of the home computing market, and are eventually going to completely take the place of laptop computers. While portability is a fantastic thing, it is also important that these next generation devices strive to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. That focus has led some innovative developers to look outside of the traditional materials for new ways to construct mobile devices. At last week’s Droidcon event, one group of out of the box thinkers unveiled their potential answer, a smartphone made out of bamboo.

The bamboo prototype is called the ADzero. It runs off of the Android operating system, and includes a 4 quad-core processor created by Samsung. That puts this little green creation on par with Samsung’s incredibly popular new release, the Galaxy S3. The ADzero prototype sports a 4.5-inch touchscreen display, and came to Droidcon with 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. It will run using either the Android-approved open source operating system, or Android 4.0. In either case, if a smartphone made of bamboo can actually perform like Samsung’s market leading device, plenty of consumers who have been on the fence will make the jump to this environmentally conscious choice.

And that’s exactly what the engineers behind the ADzero are hoping for. While they used their own investment to create the prototype, they need help to actually bring it to market. So they have launched a crowdfunding campaign through the website Kickstarter to help pull in the required financing. Through Kickstarter, consumers can support a product or service they believe in with a financial contribution. They don’t receive any sort of ownership stake in the project, but are given incentive to contribute through a series of rewards. One of the rewards includes a $200 discount off of the eventual sticker price of the ADzero for all contributors who come in with a $500 pledge. Additional discounts and unique, limited edition mobile devices will also be given out during their Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

A closer look at the specifications of the ADzero show a phone fully up to competing with any other recent releases from Google, Apple or Samsung. The weight and size are comparable, so you won’t have to make any significant concessions for the greener material. Further tests will have to be performed to see how the battery life stands up to significant use, but the front and rear-facing cameras seem up to any challenge you could give them. The other major question is how strong the bamboo casing is, and whether you will still need to purchase some sort of heavy plastic cover such as the otterbox defender iPhone 5 users go with. That may counteract the inclusion of bamboo, and sap the real importance of this breakthrough. Stay tuned as more details emerge.

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