Sprint (s s) has now launched its fourth green-themed phone, which is also its first eco-friendly Android (s goog) phone, for its customers. Called the Replenish and made by Samsung, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse showed off the device during an event with the Commonwealth Club on Friday afternoon in downtown San Francisco.
The Replenish is made largely with recycled materials, is energy-efficient, and can come with an additional $29 solar charger back panel, said Hesse. The phone is decidedly a lower-end device, and Sprint is selling it for just $49.99 and taking $10 off the monthly bill for Replenish buyers, in an effort to “make green really mainstream,” said Hesse.
Sprint already sells green phones, including the Samsung’s Reclaim and Restore, and LG’s Remarq. I’ve been rather skeptical of how popular these green-themed cell phones really are with consumers, but during his talk, Hesse said the company’s green devices “have been selling well,” and during a Q&A with interviewer Greg Dalton, said the green phone line is “profitable,” to sell.
Of course, green phones aren’t “selling well,” like the EVO 4G or an iPhone sells well. Hesse said that as a percentage basis of sales, the green phones are “still fairly small,” particularly because some of the higher end screens and packaging aren’t able to be produced in an eco-friendly manner just yet.
Dalton asked Hesse why all Sprint’s phones aren’t made greener, instead of selling individual green-niche devices. Hesse responded that the green phones are part of “a roadmap” to make devices greener and greener each year, and also because “it’s more challenging to make some of the more advanced devices,” green right now.
Interestingly enough, Hesse said he actually got some pushback when he was working on launching Sprint’s first green phone, because market research showed “customers didn’t care about a green phone and didn’t want a green phone.” However, Hesse said “customers don’t always know what they want. . . We just intervened and did it.”