Clever consumer tech firm invents bio-degradable iPhone cover

15 Feb 2010

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2010, BARCELONA – An Irish-based consumer electronics company has developed a world first – an iPhone cover that once disposed of is bio-degradable within five years. The product is set for worldwide distribution in the coming months.

Dublin-based Jivo unveiled its new ‘Leaf’ iPhone cover at this year’s GSM Association Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.

The company’s co-founder Ivan Eustace told that the smooth TPU Eco Pure handset cover was also manufactured by a plastic injection moulding company in Ireland’s northwest and its success will help sustain local jobs.

The Leaf handset cover will first go on sale in O2 stores around Ireland in March under the carrier’s Hero range of products.

Eustace says that up until recently all of Jivo’s products, from earphones to iPod, iPhone and laptop accessories, have been manufactured in China.

About Eco Pure

He and co-founder John McHugh discovered a new type of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) polymer made in the States known as Eco Pure. Mixed with ordinary polymers the material would be bio-degradable within five years.

“We put our scouts out and found a company in the northwest that had been making widgets for pharmaceuticals and cars. They agreed to take a punt and try to make the covers and after a number of goes came up with the perfect product,” said McHugh.

The name of the company has not been named because a contract is being finalised. But McHugh said the success of the ‘Leaf’ would help save the machine tooling and plastic injection moulding business in the northwest, which had been waning.

Jivo’s Paul Matthews said the ‘Leaf’ will have a price of €19 and the plan is to export the product globally in the coming months.

Jivo’s consumer electronic products are sold in music stores such as HMV, electronics outlets and on airlines such as Virgin and United Airlines across the US. And as well as agents in the Far East, Jivo has offices in France, the UK, Spain, Germany and in Scandinavian countries.

Some 30pc of Jivo’s products are shipped to Europe, 60pc to the UK and the rest are sold in the Irish market.

The company is also basing its future growth on Apple’s expansion plans for its stores worldwide, with 40-50 new stores planned, mainly in Europe and Asia. Eustace said Jivo has one simple maxim – “where Apple goes, Jivo will follow.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: Above: The ‘Leaf’ iPhone cover. Below: Jivo’s John McHugh, Ivan Eustace and Paul Matthews at the Enterprise Ireland stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Jivo team

Read more Mobile World Congress news:

Spending on wireless surpassed US$1 trillion in 2009

Irish mobile tech showcased at MWC

24 phone operators challenging app store dominance

2010 will be the year of the connected car

Era of embedded devices – Vodafone in M2M alliance with Verizon

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years