‘Sustainable’ Nokia tablet ready for the garbage dump after three years

Nokia is presenting two smartphones and a tablet, which strongly emphasizes how much recycled material it does use. But that communication seems mainly greenwashing because after three years all updates stop, even though the device still works perfectly.

Nokia presents three new devices, the Nokia X30 5G, a 6.43-inch Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 695 5G chip with 6 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of storage for 519 euros. Or a version with 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage for 549 euros. We learn that the frame consists of recycled aluminum and the back of 65 percent recycled plastic. The packaging is largely made of recycled paper and by omitting the plug head, it is also smaller.

Nokia X30 © Nokia

The second device is the G60 5G, a 5.58-inch device with the same chip for 329 euros (4GB RAM and 128 GB storage) or 369 euros (6GB RAM and 128 GB storage). Here the plastic back is completely recycled and the frame is 60 percent.

Nokia G30 © Nokia

Finally, the T21 is a 10.36 inch tablet on a Unisoc T612 chip with 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 or 128 gigabytes of storage for 249 and 269 euros respectively. Again, a housing made of 60 percent recycled plastic and “all the durability and promise one would expect from a Nokia tablet,” according to the press release from HMD Global, today the company behind the Nokia brand.

Nokia T21, Nokia
Nokia T21 © Nokia

Durable hardware, disposable software

But don’t set your expectations too high. Where a telephone is replaced soon after two years, a tablet is quickly kept in use for 4-5 years, especially if the device is given a second life for the children within the family.

That’s where the shoe pinches. For the T21, Nokia promises two years of OS upgrades and three years of security updates. That is not much for a device that technically can last twice as long. In addition, that timing starts today. If you buy the device within a year, you can safely enjoy it for another two years. The tablet will of course continue to work, but security problems will not be solved afterwards.

We asked HMD Global why that is so limited. The manufacturer does not give a clear answer to this, but does state that the current offer is already an improvement compared to the past:

“The T Series brings the promises of our previous G Series to the tablet space. The basic promise that was there on the G-series, namely two OS upgrades and three years of monthly security patches, is now coming to the T-series. We will revise our promises as we develop our G Series, but we consider this a strong offering for an entry level tablet.”

Smartphones up to three years

The two smartphones are doing slightly better, the X30 and the G60 5G receive three OS upgrades and security updates for the same length of time. We have to nuance that this is already one year better than the two years that most devices on Android have to do. Only recently, especially with the most recent Snapdragon chips, has that increased to three years. Only Samsung has been offering that term for a little longer. The difference with Apple is huge. Anyone who bought an iPhone 6S in 2015 will receive updates until this year. Five years or more is not an unusual term for the iPad either.

Still, it is remarkable that a well-known smartphone maker explicitly shows how strongly its devices focus on sustainability, while they are ripe for the garbage after three years in terms of software. In addition, the three devices, like most smartphones and tablets, have a battery that cannot be replaced, which means that the lifespan is limited there too.

Nokia presents three new devices, the Nokia X30 5G, a 6.43-inch Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 695 5G chip with 6 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of storage for 519 euros. Or a version with 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of storage for 549 euros. We learn that the frame consists of recycled aluminum and the back of 65 percent recycled plastic. The packaging is largely made of recycled paper and by omitting the plug head, it is also smaller. The second device is the G60 5G, a 5.58-inch device with the same chip for 329 euros (4GB RAM and 128 GB storage) or 369 euros (6GB RAM and 128GB storage). Here the plastic back is completely recycled and the frame is 60 percent. Finally, the T21 is a 10.36 inch tablet on a Unisoc T612 chip with 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 or 128 gigabytes of storage for 249 and 269 euros respectively. Here too, a housing made of 60 percent recycled plastic and “all the durability and promises one would expect from a Nokia tablet,” according to the press release from HMD Global, today the company behind the Nokia brand. But you should not put that expectation too much. high. Where a telephone is replaced soon after two years, a tablet is quickly kept in use for 4-5 years, especially if the device is given a second life within the family for the children. For the T21, Nokia promises two years of OS upgrades and three years of security updates. That is not much for a device that technically can last twice as long. In addition, that timing starts today. If you buy the device within a year, you can safely enjoy it for another two years. The tablet will of course continue to work, but security problems will not be solved afterwards. We asked HMD Global why this is so limited. The manufacturer does not give a clear answer to this, but does state that the current offer is already an improvement compared to the past: ‘The T-series brings the promises of our previous G-series to the tablet space. The basic promise that was there on the G-series, namely two OS upgrades and three years of monthly security patches, is now coming to the T-series. We will review our promises as we develop our G-series further, but we consider this a strong offering for an entry-level tablet. “The two smartphones are doing slightly better, the X30 and G60 5G getting three OS upgrades and just as long security updates. We have to nuance that this is already one year better than the two years that most devices on Android have to do. Only recently, especially with the most recent Snapdragon chips, has that increased to three years. Only Samsung has been offering that term for a little longer. The difference with Apple is huge. Anyone who bought an iPhone 6S in 2015 will receive updates until this year. Five years or more is not an unusual term for the iPad either. Still, it is remarkable that a well-known smartphone maker explicitly shows how strongly its devices are committed to sustainability, while they are ripe for the garbage after three years in terms of software. In addition, the three devices, like most smartphones and tablets, have a battery that cannot be replaced, which means that the lifespan is limited there too.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Sustainable Nokia tablet ready garbage dump years

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