Comments section of Heise article "Das zweite Fairphone"

For the German readers, you may have already seen this article in Heise published this week:

Das zweite Fairphone: Bessere Hardware, teurer, ab Ende Sommer vorbestellbar

I see quite a lot of comments there, but 1) my German/Google translate is not so good, and 2) the comment functionality there gets a bit messy.

Can someone summarize the comment section and let us know here on the forum?

*EDIT: I updated the title and body text here to make it clear I was asking about the comments section. But it sounds like people find the comments section a bit aggressive/trolling, so not sure if there is a real discussion to be had here.

1 Like

I’ll try to sum it up quickly :slight_smile:

Talks with Olivier Hebert about technical details, alternate operating systems, and issues with the updates for first generation FairPhones.

No name yet, but company that will procude it was found, technical details are mostly fixed and will soon be announced. Heise spoke with Olivier Hebert during MWC in Barcelona.

New phone will be high end, better camera, better display (in terms of resolution), LTE, better chipset from Qualcomm, and Android 5. Reasons for this: phone will be more sustainable, and components have been chosen to make repairs easier. No fancy stuff like bend displays or fingerprint sensors, but lots of input from the community has been processed.

Qualcomm will make updates easier; the old Mediatek chipset was the reason for no OS updates for the first Fairphone, for which Fairphone tries to continue to deliver security updates.

First FairPhone was an existing phone with some tweaks, the new FairPhone was designed from the ground with external help. It will be produced by Hi-P, seated in Singapoure, producing in China.


Thanks, @PepiMK. That’s helpful for the Fairphone community who can’t read the German article.

But I was more interested in the comments of which I see there are over a 100! I would like to gauge the reaction of the German community - I get the feeling this is the first time they hear of the news of software support, and difficulty with opening up the source code, that Fairphone first outlined in this blog post last December.

(But maybe I’m too sensitive, it could be a lot of trolling in the comments. That would also be interesting)

1 Like

Oh, sorry about that, kind of interpreted the “comments” in your post title as wanting comments on the article. Never expected anyone to actually want comments from Heise. I really like the Heise articles, but at the same time, I despise the comments sections. Reading it is not good for my health :wink:

You’re right about the trolling, there are quite some troll posts. Some bashing about the Android 4.2 debacle and who would be at fault, some demands for alternate OS… . A handful of people would like to get one when their old phone dies, but those are about the only ones that are neither provocative nor pure trolling.


I find the article a bit obscure when it comes to pricing. On the one hand, Hebert states that ‘high quality hardware will lead to a higher price’ (“Aus der höherwertigen Hardware resultiert allerdings auch ein höherer Preis”)
On the other hand he says that while the FP1 was a bit expensive compared to other middle-range phones, the FP2e aims to offer ‘a high-quality smartphone at a middle-range price’ (“Wir wollen ein hochwertigeres Smartphone für einen Mittelklasse-Preis anbieten”)
I’m not sure whether this means that the FP2 will be cheaper than the FP1, or more expensive.


Ooops, misunderstood just as @PepiMK did. His summary of the comments seems accurate, though, but I must confess that I didn’t bother to read them all:


I summarized the vague features mentioned in the Heise article in Fairleaks, after @Marvin24 brought it up here.

PS: @kgha where do you get these nice gifs from? :wink:

Can’t remember where I first saw that one… but I realised that it could come in handy sooner or later so I saved it for future use :slight_smile:

1 Like

Here you go @anon90052001 !

Some deal with the typicaly different conceptions of “fair”, quite often fair is assiocated with os updates or privacy. Some are quite negative, some neutral and some slightly positive. Examples:

Conmio: “Whats fair about a Fairphone if it’s can only be solved with (buying) the successor.”

Francitus: “It would be worth thinking about if dealt fair with my privacy”.

Some are even very positive like:
Longthinker: “I wish the Fairphone-Makers perseverance and successer. So far i am a smartphone-objector - if is change this attitude sometime, then with something like the Fairphone. Thought (…) i don’t want Android at the moment.” He also recognizes that going small steps towards sustainable and fairness deserves respect.

However, one response to this thread is from an alleged former Fairphone owner “red.herrings” calling this statement “heroic” and continuing he replaced the Fairphone because of issues with charging in his car, bluetooth and more, with a Samsung S4 Mini which he thinks is actually more sustainable. He/she seems very angry because he says Firefox OS / CyanogenMod were promised to him by email and now the phone is stuck on Android 4.2. He continues quite aggresive and implies buyin the Fairphone was like throwing 325€ out of the window. In a second post he excuses for being aggresiv and explains in more detail why he is angry of the Fairphone-Makers. The problems he speaks of are well known and deal mainly with “obsolence by software”: No alternative OSes like Cyanogen or Firefox OS and an old Android 4.2 plus bugs.

Software is a very important issue for the commenters: A lot of users ask for different operating systems or at least timly updates. Like Longthinker above. Some encourage to help the developers of the CyanogenMod port (ari1105p). User replaceble OS is an request/idea by ZaphodBB, in essence making very easy to install another OS. Some express their discomfort with Android (“M76”) stating an open System would match better with Fairphone and mentioning Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu: “Why with Android again??? Sad!”
“Crown3” questions that Mediatek was not really unwilling to provide updates, but rather implies Fairphone did not want to pay Mediatek for that. He/she states “Otherwise Mediatek cannot possibly put it’s foot down (querstellen)”.
“Nobody is Perfect” says “The device is not even 2 years old and there is already no more software support. The last android version os 4.2.2(…) The makers understand nothing of sustainability.”
“flare----*”: "The first Fairphone due to old android junk already? Really very sustainable."
Many more threads deal with that, mostly being dissatified with the lack of android updates.

In a rather long, but informed and interesting thread, “uki”, freetime kernel and android developer, discusses “Old Android - who is to blame” concluding Mediatek chipsets are really hard to work with software-wise and Mediatek currently simply being unable to deliver on recent Android versions for nothing but the newest chipset. “What is accused to the manufacturers of the devices is unfortunatly all to often a failure of their suppliers.” Interestingly here refers to having heard about much better support for Qualcomm chips.

Also, Fairness and Sustainability is assigned with sturdyness and water-resistence, like by “wilma12”.

Another dissatiesfied user “DrCyber” states he will sell his FP1 because of unfullfilled promises, mentioning the “M” Version of the chipset, software sources and android updates, but also the impossibility to change the display glas. He also mentions he likes that it is possible to order spare parts with Fairphone. He asks “We should i still believe anything they say?”.

User legan710 this the price well be to high, assuming more then 400€.

User RC likes the size and weight of the current phone.

User IngoK says “Super! I’ll take it.”, stating being in need of a replacement for an old Nokia and wanting to wait until that one is broken,

User Moody asks “Who much sustainability is reasonable?” stating most phones live about 5 years long already and until then, are already obsolete (because outdated?).

1 Like

Joe, I’ll probably head over there during my lunch break to see if I can sum up some coherent and possibly constructive comments. Don’t expect too much: it’s not “the German community”, it’s a mixture of some technologically very literate and a lot of just-for-fun-tech-interested people.

And you are right about :trollface:s: the Heise forum is renowned as the major habitat of the Heise-Forentroll, which I think is a highly efficient and tech-oriented version of the general internet troll. However, some of the people there have been hanging around since the 90s, true digital natives which have seen a lot of projects rise and fall. And sometimes rise again, like Apple.

Without having looked at the discussion, I can already tell you that anyone who will signal that it’s OK to be stuck at 4.2.2 because of $reasons will get a serious whipping over there. And I’ll bet they call for Ubuntu, CyanogenMod, Sailfish, and Firefox OS. In that order of importance. :wink:


EDIT: For some reason, I did not read @ben’s post earlier. WTF, it even pre-dates my first post.

Now, I also did some reading: there are more constructive comments than I assumed, but there are some people complaining about their experiences with FP. And there’s quite a discussion regarding the software issues, as expected.

[As Ben described: ]
There is one person (Uki) who wrote on length how difficult it is to keep Android up-to date on devices and concludes that the problem is most of the times not with the manufactures and sometimes not even the SoC-providers, but with the suppliers of components and Google. Whenever Google changes something on the APIs (example: Video playback) some parameters must be changed as well (example: framebuffer, DRM), and even if the Kernel is open source, drivers must be licensed seperately by the SoC manufacture, and only binary images are provided, at maximum. The bottom line of this post is: even if Qualcomm has better code quality and code support then MediaTek (Uki has no experience with Qualcomm), we might be screwed after some time. The argument brought forward sounds valid, sadly.

After reading, my impression is that more commonly, people believed FP would get alternative systems up and running, and at least believed updates would be coming. Being stuck on 4.2.2 means translates categorically to “unsustainable” for those people (regardless of who is responsible for the lack of updates). There’s one post saying that caring about ecological & social issues should be the second priority because replacing the phone counteracts the positive impact.

My general impression is that people on the forum are reluctant to believe that the FP2 will be more sustainable than the FP1(U). They read the announcements for the FP2 critically and see that the announcements and articles about the FP2 do not really commiting the company to anything, but is expressing intentions. Which, in case of the FP1, were taken as promises, like in the case of above-mentioned commenter red.herrings. :blowfish: :red_circle:

This post neatly sums that position up:

If we are to blame the Fairphone-people (and we should), then it’s because they left their customers in the belief that they would get a grip on their suistainability problem No.1 (Software support).

To end on a positive note:
What I said above still stands, the Heise forum is not representative for “the community” in general, but for a technically inclined part of it. An there are quite some people who either express support for Fairphone, in general, or/and have high hopes for the FP2. :sunny: :iphone:


And: The heise forum is a quite critical crowd. I stay away from the comments there almost always. I have the impression that negative and aggressive posts get a lot more attention then balanced posts. And lot of the people come there for discussions and “impact”. Saying all in all there have been some issues with FP1 and deliviring on promises but i think FP1 is a good thing wont get you much reaction there i am afraid.
It’s a rather sad example of a community ruled by a large crowd of trolls. Still, a lot of critical posts have some truth in it or show typical misconceptions about what fair actually means. I think they also give an indication on where Fairphone has work to do in communications and where they have to deliver to regain trust in a rather critical technical community.


I think you nailed it. Technically inclined people want clear 0/1 communications from companies, and if you don’t deliver something they assumed as a 1, they will write you off.

But don’t be fooled, they’re not alone: you don’t often find a " a bit is better than nothing" attitude with average customer as well, at least in Germany. FP2 will be measured against the best, not against the best of it’s class. However, FP2 is quite likely not intended for the average customer. (If Fairphone want’s a slogan, I would offer: “FP2: not your average smartphone.”


Thanks so much @ben and @humorkritik!

Very insightful and good to get this perspective - also considering their position as a very techie, critical crowd :smile:

The assumption is that the phone will be more expensive, but on the other hand the price-performance ratio will get better. Does that make sense?