Home / IT / Telecom / Tech/ Portuguese tech firm uncorks a smartphone made using cork

Portuguese tech firm uncorks a smartphone made using cork


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 4 July 2018 00:00


CORUCHE, Portugal (Reuters): A Portuguese tech firm is uncorking an Android smartphone whose case is made from cork, a natural and renewable material native to the Iberian country.

The Ikimobile phone is one of the first to use materials other than plastic, metal and glass and represents a boost for the country’s technology sector, which has made strides in software development but less in hardware manufacturing.

A Made in Portugal version of the phone is set to launch this year as Ikimobile completes a plant to transfer most of its production from China.

“Ikimobile wants to put Portugal on the path to the future and technologies by emphasising this Portuguese product,” chief executive Tito Cardoso told Reuters at Ikimobile’s plant in the cork-growing area of Coruche, 80 km (50 miles) west of Lisbon.

“We believe the product offers something different, something that people can feel good about using,” he said. Cork is harvested only every nine years without hurting the oak trees and is fully recyclable.

Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer and the phone also marks the latest effort to diversify its use beyond wine bottle stoppers.

Portuguese cork exports have lately regained their peaks of 15 years ago as cork stoppers clawed back market share from plastic and metal. Portugal also exports other cork products such as flooring, clothing and wind turbine blades.

A layer of cork covers the phone’s back providing thermal, acoustic and anti-shock insulation. The cork comes in colours ranging from black to light brown and has certified antibacterial properties and protects against battery radiation.

Cardoso said Ikimobile is working with north Portugal’s Minho University to make the phone even “greener” and hopes to replace a plastic body base with natural materials soon.

The material, agglomerated using only natural resins, required years of research and testing for the use in phones.

The plant should churn out 1.2 million phones a year – a drop in the ocean compared to last year’s worldwide smartphone market shipments of almost 1.5 billion.

Most cell phones are produced in Asia but local manufacture helps take advantage of the availability of cork and the “Made in Portugal” brand appeals to consumers in Europe, Angola, Brazil and Canada, Cardoso said.

In 2017, it sold 400,000 phones assembled in China in 2017, including simple feature phones. It hopes to surpass that amount with local production this year. Top-of-the-line cork models, costing 160-360 euros ($187-$420), make up 40% of sales.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Greening China and BRI: Chinese legal framework for sustainable environment protection

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The concept and scope of greening the belt and road The Greening BRI is to add the ‘greening’ notion along with the ‘BRI’. Building a ‘Greening BRI’ means adhering to the concept of green development, balanced development, harmony betwee


Political evil paralysing Parliament

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Our politics has arrived at a point when we must insist on recognising the niceties of human nastiness. Organised horror in Parliament is either trivialised or ignored by most of mainstream media print and electronic.


10 theses on Sri Lanka’s existential crisis: Roots, dynamics, dimensions

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

1.The crisis has deep national, social and psychological roots. Our island contains two consciousnesses or two types of consciousness, two competing states of mind. Contrary to myth, the periphery of our island has the longest uninterrupted colonial


Make toilets and safe sanitation services accessible to all

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

All people everywhere should have access to safe sanitation services, including hygienic toilets that are connected to quality sewage systems. For many people across the WHO South-East Asia Region, as across the world, access to these services never


Columnists More