The Device Renewal Forum wants to make refurbished phones as good as new


Sprint, Brightstar Corporation, eRecyclingCorps, ModusLink Global Solutions and the CDMA Development Group are teaming up to create the Device Renewal Forum, a group that will encourage the recycling and reuse of cellphones and set technical standards for refurbished devices.

Most of us go for the newest model when we are in market for a new cell phone. But if you can’t afford a never-been-touched model, you might reach for a refurbished device, though you might not always know what you are getting. The Device Renewal Forum wants to change that by setting specific standards for recycled phones so they are just as enticing as a brand new one.

“We are trying to create another class of devices. There are already new, used, and refurbished cell devices, but refurbished means something different to different people,” eRecyclingCorps chief executive David Edmondson told VentureBeat in an interview, “The Device Renewal Forum will create a standard for refurbished phones and a new category of goods renewed to a standard of quality that we agree upon as an industry.”

The Device Renewal Forum will consist of representatives from distributors, sellers, re-manfactureres, OEMs, and carriers who will give their two-cents about which devices should be renewed, the technical standards for each refurbished device, and how devices will be rebuilt. The Forum will work as an independent governing body that will set the standards for renewed devices and evaluate the facilities that rebuild handsets. Standards will include which parts need to be replaced in certain devices and which devices shouldn’t be refurbished at all.

“We are creating an organization that gives consumers and carriers confidence in rebuilt devices, and rebuilds devices up to a standard that they believe in,” said Edmondson, “Devices are retired when they perceptually obsolete, we will create a standard that says the devices is not functionally obsolete.”

Edmondson says that devices will carry a certain brand label to tell consumers that a device has been rebuilt to the Forum’s standards, which he hopes will inspire confidence in less expensive, refurbished devices. The Device Renewal Forum’s first meeting will take place February 29 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Forum will also be open to anyone who wants to join for the next few months.

Cell phones in trashcan image via Shutterstock

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