Samsung Looks to Corn Fields to Help Produce New Mobile Phones

Dennis Faas's picture

The Olympics are not the only thing rocking Asia this past few weeks.

In South Korea, Samsung is set to reveal their latest entry in the field of environmentally conscious mobile phones, known throughout the industry as "eco-phones".

The Samsung E200 Eco contains parts that are made from bioplastics, that is, materials extracted from corn. Amazingly, it is not the first mobile phone to contain such materials. It is the first, however, in which the entire phone casing is made from bioplastic materials. (Source: But what features does a phone made from corn have to offer?

In addition to being an environmentally friendly product, the E200 Eco contains a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera, video messaging capabilities and an MP3 player.

The E200 Eco comes off the heels of two other "green" handsets recently released by Samsung. Both the W510 and F268 are manufactured using techniques that eliminate the need for harmful materials like lead, cadmium and mercury.

Samsung has not stopped with the phones themselves. The battery chargers for both the F268 and the new E200 Eco are now free of a common flame retardant that has long been feared to be harming the environment, while the F268 has a built-in alarm system in its battery charger that emits a loud sound when the phone is fully charged.

Even the packaging for all Samsung "eco-phones" are made from recycled materials.

Samsung is not the only company hoping to develop environmentally friendly mobile phones. NEC Corp. has been using bioplastic materials in most of their phone models since 2006. Nokia is also jumping on board with the crusade, recently announcing that they will introduce 40 new biodegradable models to the market by the end of 2008. (Source:

Although nobody can doubt that the drive towards eco-friendly innovations is a step in the right direction, some analysts are accusing companies who commit to the "green revolution" of carrying a hidden agenda. While these companies create a wholesome image for their products, many fear that costs will soar, and worse, people will be willing to pay these inflated prices for the simple peace of mind that they are helping to protect the environment.

The Samsung E200 Eco will be released in Europe next month, though the North American release date has yet to be confirmed.

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