Environment, Mobile, World

Tablet Makers Adopt Environmentally Friendly Practices

Tablet PC users and customers no longer have to choose between being conscientious and being stylish. Going green is the new trend in tablets, according to John Shimkus and Kendall Conners of Energy Digital. Many leading manufacturers are paving the way, including Apple, Research in Motion and Samsung. Both accessories and the tablets themselves are now made with consumers and Mother Earth in mind. Additionally, eco-minded Web apps like Ecorio and Eco Footprint offer environmentally-minded tablet users the opportunity to incorporate technology into their sustainable living practices.

Some smaller tech companies have developed extremely environmentally-friendly practices in producing their tablets. One, MicroPro’s wooden Lameco tablet, is made of wood and has a carbon footprint much smaller than its big brothers in the mainstream. Of those mainstream tablets, Apple’s iPad acts as an exemplar for environmentally-minded tablet producers. The raw materials used to create the iPad do little to harm the environment after the iPad stops being used. The display glass contains no arsenic and the LCD display is free of mercury. Its glass and aluminium chassis is also almost completely recyclable.

Android tablet PCs also cut down on environmental damage. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab uses Gorilla Glass, a high-quality display glass made out of eco-friendly materials. Also environmentally conscious is RIM’s tablet PC, the BlackBerry’s Playbook LTE. In the wake of its critical success, a protective TPU case has been designed by the Chinese as one of the eco-friendly accessories for BlackBerry PlayBook available today. TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane, has recently become a much sought-after material due to its durability, visual appeal, and most of all, its role as one of the core materials in the global sustainability movement.

But even outside of the mainstream innovative, eco-friendly tablet PCs are being developed, including green technology outfit Pixel Qi’s solar-powered tablet that it claims can run multiple weeks without being plugged into an outlet, vastly reducing the energy costs associated with the tablet. Right now the solar-powered tablet appears to remain in the testing stages but will hopefully become available to the public in the next year. However, another pioneer in the eco-tablet universe has made its product available to the technology market. Hailed as the perhaps most eco-friendly tablet ever by Kate Taylor at TG Daily, MicroPro’s wooden tablet PC is 98 percent recyclable.

The Lameco, as it is called, has a carbon footprint 70 percent lower than average. How? With copper tubes instead of cooling fans, LEDs instead of traditional lighting, and a wooden frame instead of the alloy used by most major brands, the MicroPro and its team of scientists took the energy-efficient path in nearly every phase of the Lameco’s production. In many respects, the Lameco is actually a far more simply-constructed tablet, so many of its parts are interchangeable and replaceable. The fact that a product like the Lameco can exist highlights an industry-wide movement toward environmental consciousness motivated by consumer demand for trendy and innovative products that work well. Like Samsung, BlackBerry, or, in a more extreme case, MicroPro, products that incorporate environmentally-friendly materials appear to be in high demand.

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Alex Hepgurn contributed this guest post. He is an engineer with an extensive background in researching consumer electronics. He enjoys sharing his tips and insights about smartphones and tablet PC on various blogs.

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