What’s inside that brand new Samsung phone?

Molly Wood Apr 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

What’s inside that brand new Samsung phone?

Molly Wood Apr 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The iPhone is like the Golden Gate Bridge: It hogs attention, but the Bay Bridge to and from Oakland gets used more often. So what’s the Bay Bridge in this analogy? The Samsung Galaxy. The latest version, the S4, is just now going on sale in the U.S., and in the last year, Galaxys have been outselling iPhones.

Reviewers, such as CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt, like the phone’s responsiveness and high resolution screen. And for people coming to an Android phone for the first time, there is an “easy” mode.

“Some people come to Android for their first smartphone, they are like, ‘look, I want a really good camera, the high end specs really appeal to me, but this Android thing is crazy’,” Dolcourt says. “So there is this setting that will simplify everything down, give you three homescreens, make all the icons and text bigger, and basically make it easier to use and get to know.”

But consumer products also come with other baggage. Samsung is now admitting that some of the tin in its smartphones is mined on an Indonesian island that has used child labor. The Guardian newspaper and the environmental group Friends of the Earth investigated conditions on Bangka Islandand brought the child labor issue to Samsung’s attention. In a letter, Samsung is telling customers that while it doesn’t have a direct relationship with its tin suppliers, some of the material does come from the region. It’s promising a thorough investigation.

All phones have tin, mostly the solder on circuit boards. It’s possible tin mined with child labor is in other brands of phone as well.



There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.