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Discussion "Our approach to FP1(U) software and ongoing support..."

If you are having doubts, you should wait for the FP2, which will arrive in the second half of 2015. In the meantime, you could use a friend’s phone, I’m sure someone close to you has an unused phone at home. :slight_smile:

@JaneP - if you just want a phone and have no “techy” interests, then you have nothing to worry about here :smile:

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We are actively looking at ways to achieve this goal, but we’re trying
to be realistic and face the fact that the first Fairphones will most
likely not be upgraded beyond Android 4.2.

It’s really rather disappointing :frowning:

Selfishly, I was hoping to use Google Wear (primarily as a user and secondarily as a hobbiest developer), which as far as I know has a strict requirement for 4.3+. Bluetooth LE would be really nice too, if that’s achieveable through backporting. More generally, I had hoped that not being tied to a big (uncaring) manufacturer would make things easier from the software upgrade side of things.

There’s the cyanogenmod ROM which @uudddu mentioned, but development seems to be slow (stalled?) and not an option for people like me who would need bluetooth for the Wear integration (and a second SIM!).

Despite having some rudimentary knowledge of development I’m far and away from a device developer / behind-the-scenes type and so I don’t think I can contribute much :-/ It’s frustrating, as the major pieces are there: mostly open hardware, cyanogenmod; although we’re lucky to have those it’s not quite enough it seems!

Is there anything we, the Fairphone community, can do to bolster efforts either on the FP side of things or the CM side? The post I linked to in the thread at xda-developers mentions a bounty, but is that the most productive way to go?

I think the most important thing would be to get in contact with chrhoffmann, the guy who ported CM to the FP. If someone could talk to him/her to see his/her side of the things, then maybe we could come to terms and development could continue. It seems that nobody has managed to get in contact with chrmhoffmanm.

I cannot believe this isn’t discussed more. Having just received the mail requesting interest in FP2 this really did it:
I’m hugely disappointed in Fairphone B.V. Instead of trying to do everything for FP1 they plan on doing other obsolent hardware. There’s no real upgrade to be seen in 1.6 and 1.7. Update 1.8 is postponed indefinitely. Sustainability was one of the biggest principles of FP and now it seems they are more caring about making a quick bang. For me sustainability is the only true fairness you can show to any living thing on this planet.
Of course you can use your FP1 till the hardware dies (that’s five to ten years for me) but in two years this will be dangerous if you roam the internet (or even receive a spam SMS!). Using it as a phone is no problem but then again I could also use my “brick phone” from 2002. Using CyanogenMod is no option either because it will never have updated core elements let alone recent drivers because MediaTek will not release source code. With enough pressure I’m sure this would have been possible to do for a company like FP.

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Note, that there is the FP beta program currently running:

And you think 2 years to be acceptable? Not my idea of a ‘fair’ product…

Thanks for the link, Stefan. I sent a sign-up mail. A newsletter about this development would have been nice since I’m not around the forums regularly. I’m sure you will get more devs this way.
Let’s see what they are doing in the beta program. I presume they are trying to better FP OS or the upgrade mechanism. I doubt that it will include any new Android internals or MediaTek drivers but I’d like to be proved wrong.

I haven’t received an answer from beta program. I guess they have enough or they put every employee on selling … Recruiting customers on development is another sign how bad this is going. Does anybody know what’s going on there?
There was a news article on heise.de about the FP2 quoting Olivier Hebert that there will no further development beyond Android 4.2

A sh**storm followed in their forums and I was about to chime in. Their were some valid points like that a small start-up can’t really chose the manufacturer. But in the end this has a really bad aftertaste as to why they didn’t just take a slower, easier SoC and tried to run an alternative OS from the beginning. Instead they chose contrary to sustainability just something cheap that works to get it out as fast as possible. This surely was written many times I just had to get it out.
I will try to use my FP1U till the hardware dies. Maybe sooner than we prefer we will have to install CM.

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I think what we as a community are coming up against is the frustration of the complication of the phone market.

As far as FP choosing a chipset, this isn’t the case. The chipset is selected by the manufacturing partner. The manufacturing partner holds this licence with the chipset vendor - therefore FP have very little control over this.

As the FP team are trying to produce a ‘fair’ phone they have to have control over what goes into the phone and that’s what their aim is to do. That immediately limits the manufacturing partners available.

From what we think we know already (Source: Here) the manufacturing partner for the FP2 has a licence for Qualcomm… so from my understanding this is a better situation to be in.

My German is somewhat rusty, but from reading the heise.de article I would say that your summary, @aexl, is misleading and incorrect. What the article says about the FP2 is that it will have:
eine bessere Kamera (better camera);
ein höherauflösendes Display (HD display);
ein eingebautes LTE-Modul (LTE module);
ein hochwertiger Chipsatz von Qualcomm (Qualcomm chipset);
und das aktuelle Android 5 (no need to translate that).

Regarding the FP1(U) on the other hand, the article says that there will be no opportunities to update beyond Android 4.2. But we already knew that.

Hi all,

There are quite a few points coming up, and I just want to weigh in briefly:

  • Fairphone as a company is still very tiny in the electronics industry. Our volume of 60,000 phones makes up something like 0.017% of MediaTek’s sales last year. Source: eetimes.com.

"The company [MediaTek] said it expects to ship more than 450 million chips for smartphones in 2015, an increase of almost a third from the 350 million units that MediaTek forecast for 2014.”

  • My point being that Fairphone has very little leverage to make the case for upgrading to Android 4.4 or opening up the source code - but we are trying. We are still working to create a solution for ongoing software support. I wish there were more firm news to announce, but it’s a work in progress.

  • Community beta testing: This was done as a way to validate our own testing, and to engage our community more. I want to make it clear bringing in the community is not a replacement for our own professional development and testing. (Though if a community member wants to apply for a position, we have a job opening still in the software team, and always open to applications by writing jointheteam[at]fairphone.com

  • I’ve opened a new topic asking about the comments on that Heise article. I want to make clear, Fairphone is not a ‘business as usual’ phone company. We want to talk directly to our customers and community and be transparent about our operations.

  • My personal opinion: The frustration of not being able to deliver on Fairphone’s ambitions for open software may be the biggest learning point for us all (the company and the community), as it reveals how complex and bureaucratic this aspect of the industry is.

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@aexl @anon90052001 I still think that choosing Android was the best choice at the point in time when the FP1 was planned because it is conform with the initial goals of Fairphone, namely rising awareness (also, and more importantly, with people who are not techies because these already know some of the problematic situation the phone industry is in).

By choosing Android, Fairphone had a far further outreach than it could have had with any other OS.

PS: I hope you can follow my thoughts, if I was unclear, please ask.

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The point is: We, your customers, do not get the information about your tries. For us it seems like you don’t. You’ve earned a lot of negative feedback on your communication previously. And your policy is still on need to know basis. Fairphone is not different than other companies. A lot of advertisement, a lot of what you think we should know. The fact, that you (sometimes) are communicating directly with customers makes no difference, since you don’t say anything. Do you have a NDA with MediaTek on the communication? Are you forbidden to tell us what their answer is? Im certainly not happy with “we are trying” once every 3 months.

@HackAR, just a friendly tip: by not making every other word bold, you’re ensuring your text is easy on the eyes and less hard to read.

As for the contents of your post, I partially agree. FairPhone could be even more open in their communication towards customers, but I feel it’s not for a lack of want on their end, but due to a lack of experience. It’s probably very hard for them to get a clear picture and understanding of how the community perceives them and this causes them to overestimate their own transparency sometimes. I sincerely believe they are trying, but sometimes fumble because they don’t know better. I do feel they are learning and getting to grips with this thing called “communication” though. It has definitely improved in the past year.

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Well… I do not agree. I’ve made your argument half a year ago myself. But the fact is: Nothing has changed. I don’t see what has improved. Please enlighten me.

I just sent this message to Mediatek. I know it will not change much. But doing nothing will surely change nothing at all:

Hi MediaTek,

I’m the proud owner of #Fairphone #FP1, which include a #Mediatek chipset. I want it to last a few years, for I don’t like to throw away good and functional devices.

The maker, Fairphone, won’t be able to fully support it in a year or two, as soon as you, and other intermediaries will cease supporting its internal chipsets. Furthermore, it cannot be upgraded to some newer version of #Android, or cannot use another OS, such as Ubuntu or #Sailfish OS, due to the same lack of source code for its chipset.

I urge you to release the full source code needed to operate the chipset, even if you are not legally obliged to do so.

I’m sure such a gesture would make you a better choice for many makers over the world. Besides, this chipset getting old, the release of its source code, after a reasonable delay (say, somewhen between the end of production of your chipset, and the end of support on your part), would probably not give much advantage to your competitors.

Thank you very much for considering this demand.
Regards.

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Did you get an answer?

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No answer at all so far. Obviously, I’d say…

Actually, I was not expecting any answer. But, I, as a humming-bird, try to do my part… even if my part alone has no effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw

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