Fairphone 1 maintenance comes to an end

Well guys, this is not exactly what I expect from a company advertising their phone as sustainable and long lasting. As someone who bought the FP1U with sustainability in mind, this for sure makes it my last Fairphone…

4 Likes

Many things have already been said, but I still think that it is worth while still commenting on this issue, because some things are just not accaptable.

As one of the users who contributed to the idea of a fair and sustainable phone by taking part in the crowd funding, I now have to find out, that we cannot really speak of a sustainable idea. Where is the point in building a phone with a battary that can be exchanged when battaries are no longer available? Whenever I or some friends intend to by some technical equipment I start asking whether batteries can be exchanged, knowing that they are a week part that can make a otherwise still functional device useless. I do that to raise awareness of the fact that nowadays many decives are just looked upon as throw away items after a few years no matter what the conditions for peole who produce these things and for the environment are. Now, we learn that we have bought a phone with exchangeble parts but these are no longer availabe after a time period which is unacceptble. My previous mobile I used for ten years and I have got a new battary after eight years. Same with software. I thought that fairphone was a company which does not produce things for people who want the latest and fanciest functions on their technical equipment (which the fairphone does not provide anyway) no matter what the conditions for workers and enviroment are but for those who want to use the necessary basic functions taking into account the consequences of their consumaerable behaviour. The information on the termination of support does not at all agree with that. I will look for another company next time.

4 Likes

Okay, I’ll rephrase to make clearer what I mean: one of the aims of the project was to communicate the difficulties of making a fairer product in the electronics industry, and it has done so for me. Regardless of how well, or not so well, Fairphone succeeded in making such a products (it is quite clear from other posts Johannes made that he thinks Fairphone didn’t do so well), to me they did reach that objective and in the process have made me more aware of how other products are made.

10 Likes

All products have their lifetimes, and as a proud owner of one of those 10,186 specially engraved back covers given to the crowd-funders that helped get FairPhone started, I accept that this is the way of the world.

Many thanks to the FairPhone team past and present for getting this important product to market and helping shift the discussion and giving consumers a real choice.

A question: is a FairPhone 3 in preparation? The reason I ask is that FP2 has been available for some time now, and when the time comes to move on from my FP1, I would like to know whether I should go direct to a FP2 or wait for an FP3.

8 Likes

Exactly, We have to see Fairphone different from normal companies; some of the posters express anger, disappointment, hurt customer expectations.
While, with the mainstream companies, these feelings might be justified (but for the most part, things like discontinuation of failed products are handled more rigorously by other companies), we have to think different © with Fairpone.
The first and single differentiator has been fairness in the production chain. Not open source, not a different customer experience.
Most of the FP owners like to get part of a movement - which is yet to be started.
additional pillars might be:

  • open all sources, including hardware
  • open the company internal discussion and decision process
  • open the companies financial base to something community / collectively owned

These expectations have been there and maybe fed by some Fairphone statements but have not been in scope as far as I know (and contrary to my wishes).

Fairphone managed to state an important example saying:
-> it IS possible to source minerals and work from fair conditions. Some bigger companies start to do that now. Mission 1 accomplished. Means: Even if FP1 would be a technical wreck (which it isn’t, at least for me and my 4.4 Alpha version) it would’ve been worth all the money and all that human energy. Thanks to all contributors.
This is even true where FP workers conditions don’t yet meet FPs own standards - alone the publicity makes it worth (and we have a working not-so-unfair phone as a surplus).

Let’s see where this journey goes.

11 Likes

Fairphone’s @Douwe said this in that other topic:

Since the interview with Bas was apparently talking about “late 2018” I expect a FP3 in late Dec 2018, or speaking from experience, in early 2019.

6 Likes

which other companies?

1 Like

Philips for example:

4 Likes

Ouch. The point of FP1 was a sustainable phone that wouldn’t need replacing, and would hold its value in the market. Now here we all are with cracked screens, ageing batteries, dodgy bluetooth and an old OS, limping along - waiting for the long promised Android update - when that is pulled from under our noses as well. Now we look rather foolish to our Samsung/Nexus friends.

I’m not entirely surprised - and hope lessons are learned, but the fact remains that the main goal of the FP1 project is now a failure. No blame, but I’m actually very upset about this.

5 Likes

Uhm, no. Just, no.

The main goal of the Fairphone Project is to increase awareness about conflict minerals. The Fairphone 1 was a tool to get them into the game so they could open up the supply chain and bring conflict free minerals into the supply chain. Also it was a tool to get them started as a company with among others the goal to (one day) produce a phone that will be as sustainable as possible and last as long as possible.
So the main goals of the FP1 were reached successfully.

7 Likes

I won’t step in here and defend the company or argue that plans and goals are not promises. At the end, there are either problems with Android 4.4 these cannot solve or it’s financially not possible for them anymore. Limited development power needs to be distributed amongst a potential third phone, supporting the current Fairphone 2 and the Android 4.4 version for a product they haven’t been selling for years.

I’m disappointed as well, but I like to remind myself the Fairphone 1 was not only about repairability, open os and longevity. It was also about raising awareness for thinks like conflict minerals, worker welfare and toxic recycling in poor countries for example. In that aspect, I think they succeeded. In terms of longevity and environmental impact, I’m not so sure.

Im asking myself if Fairphone is really more successful by producing an own product then doing awareness work like Greenpeace does. Still, I also think that the work done at Fairphone is really important.

I just yesterday bought a used Fairphone 2 from the forum to join the community again. As a new owner of that device, I would really like to know: What are learnings you took away from the FP1 situation, what are the concrete solutions and projects Fairphone is implementing? Will future Fairphone be (at least) partially compatible to the Fp2 modules? Are you talking with other manufactureres to share battery (specs and connectors)? Do you plan to officially support Lineage so there will be Android 7+ for the FP2? For my trust, I ask for open, direct and regular communications on those issues.

8 Likes

But the customers of FP1, who contributed to start the project, had to pay dearly. Fairness was discussed only in connection to production - but the fairness to customers seems to be lost.

I strongly think so, especially in regard to policy makers. They are very vulnerable to lobbyism by huge electronics companies and yearn for companies, who put in practice environmental and social improvements in the supply chains. Now that Fairphone exists, the policy makers can tell the whole industry that complying with tighter regulations is indeed possible.

9 Likes

One of the reasons why I invested in a Fairphone 1 (first edition), was the concept that I could open the phone and change the battery, myself. At the time, 3½ to 4 years ago, it was actually quite an issue, since it was not offered by any other smartphone vendor. I do not know how the situation is now concerning this.

My situation has changed since I bought the FP1, so I just need it as a telephone now. I guess it will work fine as such, so I can skip a generation and wait for the FP3.

Finally, I am amazed that a small company is able to produce smartphones with a, shall we say, conservative product portfolio. What would win me over for good, is a freely bootable OS platform, so I can stay clear of Big Brother companies from both the east and west. Thank you very much.

PS. Fairphone should at least have batteries for sale for the FP1. They last approximately two years with normal use, so a last shipment to fill the shelves for the next 12 months would be needed. After that FP1 will slowly render obsolete (no 4G, upcoming 5G).

5 Likes

… which has remained mostly an unfulfilled promise: Only two minerals are traceable, no living wages, 60 work hours per week.

Just calling your product “fair” is not enough.

2 Likes

Yet here we are, at least having this discussion. There’s plenty of information on the blogs regarding tracing/certifying other minerals (also after the FP1) and the challenges in improving a supply chain (and no, I don’t believe avoiding certain countries altogether is a solution). Interventions have been made in worker conditions, together with an exploration of why certain changes are a bridge too far. Whether or not you agree with the approach that was taken, or think the arguments in the blogs are lame excuses, at least there has been an opportunity to learn and discuss these matters.

Sure, they didn’t reach all their goals with the first phone they built (nor do I recall them claiming that they would), but (as pointed out by @Stefan) they have shown that companies can try harder, that certain approaches are possible, and that there is a (small) market for fairer electronics.


What strikes me in this discussion in general is that we all seem to have the tendency to pick one of the four areas in which Fairphone aims to make improvements as part of a ‘movement’, promote that to ‘Fairphone’s main goal’, and finally project that goal onto the product as a ‘promise’ or ‘main selling point’. Evaluating on that basis is sure to cause disappointment.

That’s not to say everything is all fine and dandy. Fairphone’s communication could have been clearer in the difference between movement goals and device characteristics. The impression I get is that they’re mainly about the movement and see the phone as a means to that end - to show that things can be sourced differently/can be designed differently (a proof of concept, if you will). By contrast, as customers, most of us will focus on the device in our hands, and then the goals become largely irrelevant. This is where the combination of advocacy and sales starts to feel uncomfortable, at least for me. On the other hand, showing what can and can’t be done (and learning from mistakes) is so much more persuasive in terms of convincing others that change is possible.
It’s a difficult to get the balance right, but they’re brave (or naive) for trying.

10 Likes

@Douwe, one of the moments where again I think that Fairphone is failing to presenting itself properly (also thinking of the phrase: ‘do good and talk about it’).

That information does not belong just into this community forum, because only the very interested/enthusiastic/disappointed people will come to read it anyway. And then it is still a lot of random digging to find this juicy-parts-post of yours.
What belongs into this forum is a reference to this information on the main Fairphone page. But looking here https://www.fairphone.com/en/our-goals/design/extending-life-span/ I cannot find anything like this.

Also I think that a newsletter regarding FP1 end of life is not enough.
People having changed their mail account might not get the information plus it has a feeling of trying to dodge bad press when the blog does not contain an entry. In that entry you could explain why you decided to stop the support - or, if that is the case, why support is not possible at all - and that in more detail than in the mail and community forum entries. For example someone posted somewhere that FP1 exists in so small numbers, that continuous production of spare parts would be an environmental impact not outweighed by its benefits. And why is that? Because nobody in the industry has ever really tried to standardize batteries and that is the real disaster. Also in that blog entry you could explain whether back in the days when FP1 was initiated nobody thought about that situation or whether there where reasons why to expect a different development. And you could explain your measures how to avoid a similar fate for FP2.

I think people like simple answers, because they make decisions in life easier. But sometimes things are a little more complex. So for those who really want to know it would be interesting to get the information easily and intuitively.

4 Likes

Fairphone now stooped the lifetime of my old F.P.1 hoping I’ll buy now a FP2. But why should I buy it now with the same bad camera as FP1 ? The price is still -after 3 years- 520,- I am a normal photographer, and in order to prevent unnecessry electronic waste, I will not buy a speparate camera for having middle-good pics. So again: why used FP2 still a camera technologie before 2012!! I am very disapointed of stopping support of FP1. If I buy now FP2 it is ONLY because of the fair- n a m e d project - not at all of the company behind, who cannot plan (e.g. enough spare-batteries for FP! - which is a ridiculous issue!), more sleeping than awake. …
If I’ll buy now a FP2 because of my ethics in mind… BUT IF FAIRPHONE STILL WOULD NOT START TO DELOPE A BETTER CAMERA MODULE WITHIN 2017 (which I would buy extra), I will give to all my (facebook-)friends the strong advice, NEVER MORE to buy a Fairphone again !!!:frowning::rage:

Hi @Martin4,

wow, that’s what I call a rant! :slight_smile:

Okay - so: how many spare batteries have to be planned?
For that you’d need to know how long a battery lasts on the average. Also you need to know, how many FP1 will be used in the years to come (if only spare batteries are produced then FP1s will die due to broken screens or motherboards and so on).
The monetary price of all this is one issue - the lesser batteries are produced, the more expensive each one gets. And it can get expensive because the battery manufacturer wants to earn as much money as he looses due to producing a few special batteries instead of hundreds of thousands batteries for one of the big players. If for the FP1 battery special production equipment is needed (which maybe has meanwhile been destroyed by the original manufacturers) that means more expenses.
Another issue is the environmental impact which you are also concerned about, because at the end there is the risk of having produced too many spare batteries which will then have consumed precious resources in vain.

A better camera…maybe FP thought that this would make the FP2 too expensive?

What I don’t understand - why FP is not providing such explanations. Imho they can only win by providing more information.

But certainly:

that is a pretty bold and not very fair statement (unless of course you have any proof for such claims).

Anyway - the more people use FP2, the lesser are the chances of running into spare part issues. Also because FP2 is not produced in few batches but constantly.

4 Likes

Understandable and probably most reasonable decision. The FP1 was a decent effort and nobody could expect that this initial attempt to build a fairer phone would produce one that is better, cheaper and longer lasting all at the same time than other phones. I guess the rules of our free market economy simply don’t allow that.

My FP1 “Special Edition” isn’t the best phone in the world and I sure wish I could use it longer than until something breaks and I possibly can’t repair it any more. But the concept worked out for me - I could replace a broken display once and I got a replacement battery for free! I need to tape the back cover to the phone because it wouldn’t stay on after I dropped the phone a few times too often… but it still works (besides 3G and GPS which never really worked) and I have a battery runtime of several days.

And most important, this phone did start an important movement. No one could have hoped to make a bargain at the same time. You get less fair trade banana for the same price than of a conventional one, too.

I hope my FP1 will last long enough until the FP3 :slight_smile:

6 Likes