Even with companies like Apple, Samsung, and others doubling-down on their smartphone sustainability efforts, the world of e-waste “recycling” remains a minefield and has a negative effect on the planet. A company called Teracube hopes to offset some of those concerns with what it calls the “world’s most reliable smartphone.”
Unlike most smartphones on the market today, the Teracube smartphone comes with a four-year warranty. In addition to manufacturing defects, the warranty also covers accidental damage and battery replacements. That means you can pay $39, send in your Teracube with a cracked display or faulty battery, and get a close-to-new replacement. Teracube takes your damaged phone, repairs it, and either re-sells it or ships it to someone else who sent in their broken phone. According to the company, this could reduce e-waste and is the most important part of its sustainability efforts.
The rest of the Teracube smartphone isn’t as memorable. There’s a 6.2-inch 1080p display, two 12 and 5 MP rear cameras, and an 8 MP camera. The phone also has the octa-core Mediatek P60 processor, 6 GB of RAM, and a healthy 128 GB of storage. Because the phone is fully unlocked, you can use it on T-Mobile, AT&T, and other GSM carriers. Lastly, the Teracube runs Android 9 Pie and will get Android 10 during the springtime.
It’s not Teracube the smartphone that has us concerned, but Teracube the company. Its co-founders have over 30 years of combined experience in software, but Teracube has no track record. The company could shut its doors tomorrow and not honor any four-year warranty as a result.
That said, there’s clear interest in what Teracube is trying to do with its smartphone—the Kickstarter campaign started in September 2019 and hit its goal only a month later. In total, Teracube received over $125,000 on Kickstarter and over $153,000 on Indiegogo, where you can buy the phone for $249 and have it shipped to you sometime this month. The phone is a risky endeavor, particularly since it depends on crowdfunding to exist. Even if it ends up floundering down the road, at least it tried to tackle the e-waste problem in a different way.