English

Fairphone 1 maintenance comes to an end

setbacks
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fb11affb9f0>

#1

After supporting our Fairphone 1 for three and a half years and the Fairphone 1U for nearly two and a half years, we regret that we are no longer able to offer spare parts.

We’re proud of everything we achieved with our first Fairphone 1 owners. Together we sourced conflict-free tin and tantalum from Congo, set up a Worker Welfare Fund with the Fairphone 1 manufacturer and showed a concrete market demand of over 60,000 people who wanted a fairer phone.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached the point where we can no longer maintain our first phone. We will continue to support you to keep it going as good as we can, but our options are getting more limited.

This very difficult decision is primarily financial. Since the launch of the Fairphone 1, most of the original spare parts have been retired by our suppliers. While we’ve worked continuously to find new suppliers, we simply did not have enough capital to invest in the volumes required to meet demand in the year ahead. After exploring every option within our financial means, we have now reached the point where it’s impossible to support the Fairphone 1 and maintain the financial stability of the company at the same time.

For similar reasons, we’ve also decided to stop developing the upgrade to Android 4.4 for the Fairphone 1. This project has been an ongoing effort from our internal team as well as key members of the community, and we’re disappointed that we are not able to see it through to the end.

We understand that some Fairphone 1 owners may feel let down. We want you to know we’re applying what we learned from the Fairphone 1 to improve our spare parts sourcing for the Fairphone 2 and future phones. For example, we’re working to improve our financial outlook, as well as improving our planning to better anticipate the demand for spare parts in the future.

We want to be transparent about these challenging issues, but we also want to help you as best as we can. To help you keep using your phone as long as possible, we’ve collected some tips and resources on maintenance, repair and recycling on a special page for Fairphone 1 owners. For example, if you would like a secondhand spare part, you could request one from our community. Or if you are ready to get a new phone, our Fairphone 1 owners will get early access to a limited supply of the refurbished Fairphone 2 planned for delivery in August.

Again, thank you for your support of Fairphone and buying the first Fairphone. It sparked the movement for fair electronics and brought us where we are today: a growing movement and strong company working together tackling the many issues in the industry one by one.

Please let us know what the Fairphone 1 means to you and any questions about the Fairphone 1 that you maybe are left with.


:de: Enttäuschung über Fairphone 1 End of Life Strategie
Fairphone 1 end of life options (newsletter)
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#4

This is sad and unfortunate news. But understandable. Happy to have contributed to the effort by buying a FP1U.


#5

These are not the news I wanted to hear.

Of course I knew that this would happen, but three and a half years are shorter than I expected (although more than most vendors do).

I hoped at least for a stable KitKat release. So, all the time you spent developing on this upgrade has been useless.

My phone still works, but I’m not sure what to do when it doesn’t. Buying a FP2 after you let us down feels wrong.


#8

I’ve been using the 4.4 Alpha for quite a time now and am quite happy with it. At least GPS is working better than with any other version I had before, and battery life is not too bad.
But, I admit, I am neither a frequent power user and I don’t have things like google services or facebook or any always-on chat tools.
My next phone (if this one breaks) will run Ubuntu.


#9

These are very disappointing news. As a committed FP-user from the first generation, I have followed the development with enthusiasm and also with the necessary patience. There have been frustrations, but the highly important aspect of sustainability has so far counterbalanced all of them.
Thus, I am happy to say that my original FP1 first batch still works perfectly, and so has my FP2 come to do. I am a happy Danish member of the German Facebook group Fairphone Freunde with more than 4,500 likewise patient, creative and idealistic users. We are very interested in a continued service and support of FP1, especially in the further supply with batteries. Batteries are technically seen a minor problem, but mean a crucial impact.
Can you please inform us about possibilities for a continuing production of batteries? Thank you!


#10

From all the previous discussions it looks like producing new batteries is unrealistic. So a realistic approach could be to design a frame that would hold a third party battery (most probably with lower capacity…) and provides the correct electrical contacts. The FP1 in our household still runs fine on its second battery, so I didn’t have the pressure yet to investigate this further. It would probably be something like this:


#11

As you do not continue, would you then please link to the public friggin’ kernel source ?

Thank you very much.


#12

@wolf This is not the direct link, but you might be interested in this. Don’t get your hopes up just as yet though!


#13

You’re right. I do feel let down. One of the things that attracted me to Fairphone 1 was its alleged sustainability, and the idea that it would last a long time was a key aspect of reducing its impact on the environment. It’s already impossible for me to download lots of Android apps as they are not compatible with the phone. I was hoping this might be fixed by the Android upgrade but now that won’t happen, so my phone (which otherwise works fine) is on the road to being obsolete whether or not spare parts are needed or available. I’m glad that Fairphone has made some forward steps with regard to sourcing conflict-free materials but I’m still facing the prospect of replacing my phone sooner than anticipated and I don’t have confidence that a new Fairphone will be sufficiently future-proof or have a significant enough positive impact to justify the cost.

I knew I was taking a bit of a gamble when I bought my phone as the whole Fairphone project felt like an exciting experiment. I spent about 3 times more on the phone than I have ever spent on a phone before and I wouldn’t have done that for any other company. I’m still happy to have contributed my money to finding out whether a globally fair phone was possible and financially viable. And I still have a working phone, so I’ll see how long it limps on for. But am I convinced enough of the project’s success to invest again? At the moment, I don’t think so, sorry.

(PS: It would be nice if you could fix the ‘special page for Fairphone 1 owners’. The link from email returns a 504 Gateway Time-out error message and the link from the post above lets me in, then after about 5 seconds kicks me out on my a*se. Kind of adds insult to injury…)


#14

Thanks to all of you for the effort you put in to making the Android 4.4 upgrade. I used the different Alpha and Beta releases and most of the phone worked really well, with only Bluetooth LE being problematic, and I fully understand that was not your fault :slight_smile: It was a very worthwhile effort, which extended the useful life of the phone for me.

I have now passed on my FP1U to a friend based in the Netherlands, and he is very happy with it. I didn’t tell him that the software was only a beta version and he has not noticed that it is. Great work, and thanks again!

Pete


#15

Sorry about this. We are aware of the issues and our developers are working on a solution.


#16

I find it very hard to get my head around this.
Under the premise of focusing on FP2, I can understand the reasoning behind it, but stopping the work on FP1 after such a short time goes so strongly against the very idea of a sustainable phone that I am not convinced about the priorities. I wonder whether really more impact is made (globally) by focusing on FP2 (-> maybe! … I hope so!) but also I wonder whether FP2 will be stopped comparably soon…?
So far I am happy that my FP1 is still working well, I am also optimistic about the hardware, but I do use it a lot and I can foresee the time when apps I use regularly will stop working with the current OS…
:frowning:


#17

Fully agree - I’m still supporting fullhearted the idea of sustainability. But after all frustrations many of the FP1 users suffered (i.e. OS-Updates …), this news is just frustrating.

Also fully agree


#18

I’m not happy with this decision at all. I bought the Fairphone 1 mainly because I hate the idea of having to buy a new phoneeach few years. I can live with the old Android because what counts for me is that it works, I have not encountered much problems due to the old software and I accepted that.
What really hit me today is that there will not be any spare parts produced anymore. I changed the back cover, the midframe and the battery up until now. The prospect of something else breaking or not working and then having a phone with broken and unfixable parts is really something I was hoping I could avoid by buying this phone and so I am disappointed with this decision. This might be necessary for the future of the Fairphone brand but for me as a user who backed the movement during as one of the first 5000 buyers, this is disappointing.

Please mind, I still support the idea and believes of Fairphone and value the efforts it takes in sustainability, improving lives and work conditions.

But: There were bumps in the road, as one could expect when you do something new, but this is somehow seems like a full stop for a phone that should be long lasting.

edit: sorry, seems like this is now a reply to @katrin’s post, that was a mistake.


#19

Can’t you at least release a new version of Android 4.2 with some security fixes? Please. I don’t need Android 4.4, but I don’t want to use OS with security holes.


#20

Very much what @Isata said.

I may add that I recently broke my display, and I am getting comments from various sides that the “sustainability marketing” is crap. Only this weekend, I apologetically defended Fairphone and told several people that at least FP was still trying to get Android 4.4 to the phone - despite being quite aware that Android O is probably hitting the market this year in Barcelona as version 8, and 7.1 is the current version.

Given my experience, and the current price of €529.38, I am seriously in doubt if I should replace my FP1 with a FP2.

I wonder if you can at least set up a buyback program for people who will buy a FP2. This would be some kind of incentive. And I seriously beg you not to let down FP2 customers the same way. I convinced several people of buying a FP2, and in general they are satisfied customers. If the same story happened again to FP2 users - a drop of support well within the lifetime of a standard smartphone - this would be horrible.


#21

I don’t have a FP1 anymore because it was stolen :cry:, but the main reason I bought it to contribute to let the project start was that was born to last, so I’m pretty disappointed.
I think that the minimum you can do for the rest of the owners of FP1 is to let them have a huge discount to get FP2.
And please, I have now FP2 and I’m super happy with it: make it last. For real.


#22

Thanks, still hope for those sources the company worked on until recently.


#23

This is a question of copyright. All the stuff that we would be allowed to publish is pretty boring because it is out there already. The juicy parts are proprietary to Mediatek. There are some Fairphone related changes to open source parts. But they are really really minor…


#24

Did Fairphone ever consider crowdfunding specific spare parts? I am primarily thinking of displays and motherboards (as opposed to batteries) here because those are expensive enough to justify the losses from transaction costs involved in crowdfunding. This way you would have had the certainty that you would not produce a large amount of excess spares that would never be sold/needed.