Fairphone 1 maintenance comes to an end

If I would have had the idea I couldn’t use my FP1 for more than 3 years I would never have bought it.


Batteries sure are one of the most hazardous and dangerous parts of a phone. Shipping them comes with legal precautions. Testing and certifiying them takes ages, and mishandling them can cause serious injury or death. Batteries were the part that we ran out of the last. Mainboards and screens were gone before. The community can come up with these ideas because they are not legally liable for the damage that can stem from using an untested, unlicensed battery in your phone. You blow it up, you’re liable. As a private person, this is more or less severe, depending on your health care. As a company, this can mean your end.

It is vital to understand, that inside of a very complex supply chain set up for one component only and every time a specific component for a smartphone is manufactured, the willingness of one actor, e.g. Fairphone, is not sufficient to keep production going. There is assembly factories involved, there are subcontractors involved, all of them have their own economic and logistic reality. Fairphone does not produce spare parts themselves.

Every spare part has their own story. For some, we found the right suppliers (think: plus the entire production line and supply chain that has to be set up for this very component) but we were not satisfied with the quality. Miquel still recalls the time where they were sitting in the office testing various alternative FP1 screens, but they were all sub-par (think: a pain in the neck). For some spare parts, we simply did not have enough cash to order the quantities that could’ve been assumed to match future demand. In this point, two of our goals were mutually exclusive. One was the financial independence from external investment, the other was the supply of spare parts. Money does not grow on trees, especially when the phone you sell to get the money to buy spare parts is not produced anymore. For other spare parts, the minimum order quantity was just too high, considering that there were less than 60.000 FP1s in circulation.

It is hard now to make you understand how much we have tried to source these parts because we haven’t properly communicated about this. As a company grows, some information becomes confident because there are various external stakeholders out there whose relations a company has to entertain. Thus, this boils down to a question of believing us or not. I am not going to lie about this.

You can scold and condemn us for not sourcing more parts, this is easy. You can also take this as a public learning about how the industry works and which obstacles one faces when wanting to keep your phone longer. This was one of the main missions of Fairphone. We are here. The brickwall exposed.

All the best from Amsterdam,
Social Media


60,000 FP1 have been sold. So “many thousand” batteries have to be replaced every 2-3 years at least. The numbers should not be the problem.

The buyers of the FP1 and FP2 paid their phone before getting it. That’s “investing”. Why not do the same with the batteries. FP still does have the specs and know how and where to produce them, I suppose. Why not ask the FP1 users to pre-order and pre-pay a battery to expand the life expectancy of their device. If pre-orders come within a reasonable range they could be produced - otherwise the people would get their money back.


Good one, I want 2 (at least)


I didn’t say that batteries are not dangerous, I said that they are not very complex compared to the other components. I think we can agree on this.

I don’t scold or condemn anyone.
And I take this as a public learning, indeed.


Well, no. There are plenty of factories and firms out there. They only might have different conditions, qualities, minimum order quantities, prices, working conditions, … you name it. We actively have to look for a supplier that matches our criteria. We have done this. For several years. Say, we have found one now:

Keep in mind that producing isn’t the only part in the process. The second considerable effort goes into testing and certifying these batteries. This all costs time in which more and more FP1 users decide to abandon their devices because something breaks, they are fed up, they are concerned with the security levelof their outdated OS, … What is a “reasonable range” is thus not only determined through the price a customer had to pay for a piece of battery to still keep the company it sells profitable. At this point, “reasonable range” also for us means the quantity we reasonably can support ordering without having huge storage cost or simply producing waste (which, especially for hazardous pieces like batteries means quite some ecological footprint), etc. “Reasonable range” is a very dynamically changing and unstable concept, especially when we are talking low numbers as with FP1 battery demand. Finally, the longer it takes, the more likely it is that “reasonable range” of battery supply falls far below the minimum order quantity of a supplier.



That might be an interesting idea. You could start your own crowdfunding or try to convince a third party supplier to produce batteries for the Fairphone 1.

Still, if only batteries would have been missing, maybe Fairphone could have figured something out. But that enormous amount of work and cost invested in a phone that won’t get updates anymore and haven’t gotten security updates for over a year? For that sourcing every spare part is almost impossible and for that no other spare parts are left on stock? I think it’s a lesson learned and there is no realistic way out of this, if we want Fairphone the company to survive.

@anon99326380 Thanks for the insights. I hope Fairphone takes some of these learnings and prepares them for the public, similar to the blog posts on sourcing materials, which are always very interesting. An in depth information with background on why you want even supply batteries for the FP1 anymore.


Daniel, thanks for sharing your perspective. A very helpful contribution indeed!

I understand that FP has to certify the batteries, if they want to sell them as suitable for the FP1, and I can see why FP wouldn’t want to sell batteries which might fail (bulging batteries, anyone? :wink: ). But this brings us to an idea:

If you have found a potential supplier which might meet some criteria, would you, as FP, release information about them and facilitate a crowdfunding for non-official battery replacements?

This, of course, can fail badly, and since the Samsung debacle, everyone should know. But it might be worth a shot by the community, wouln’t it? If this prevents FP1’s to be landfill, this should be in your interest, I assume?

I bought third-party battery packs before and have had some luck. My Logitech Squeezbox Radio works brilliantly with them, and official battery packs are virtually non-existent. My Motorola S805 stereo headset didn’t like the retrofitted 3rd party battery replacement, on the other hand.

So, why not find out? Crowdfunding is not without risk, and this effort would probably mean to create a small own business. But maybe this would be possible.

I’d be curious what Bas’ and the other’s opinion would be on this. Could you ask them?


Then if the number of fairphone 1 is the issue… We could ask why did you stop the production ? So many people want to buy fp1. It was always out of production.

I think you should admit that create the fp2 was a business mistake.
You should maybe have first creat a FP1.2 that upgarde what was possible , and give continuity for your customer.

Did you realize than you certainly never could make a FP2, if you tell to all your customer of fp1, that it was a phone for only 3 year live. ( less than any other phone on the market !)

What upsett me the more, Is that fp& was sell like a sustainable phone. At leat if you say nothing about this…

Thats not true. Not at all. There are/were thousands of phones on the European market you could never buy spare parts for, had no chance to repair and did not receive a single software update.


Ok you maybe right i am exagerrate cause i am uppset, but i was talking about my personnal experience. i Never use a phone less than 5-6 years… Wil be the first time.
Software update seems to me really like a unnecessary tools. I want my phone that could phone, use a calendar, a gps, take picture, and communicate with my computer and thats all, dont need software upgrade for this.

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First of all: Thanks a lot for being communicative - this is one of my major points of criticism regarding FP. If you’re trying to start a movement, you can’t afford being tight-lipped. The people joining the movement want to know.

Yes, I totally agree. But you haven’t even tried. Sending out an E-Mail to all the 60.000 buyers of a FP1, it could have been “Anyone for a battery, last chance to see” instead of “Your phone will become a paper-weight within the next months”. And you could have stated what a reasonable range is and what price would be appropriate.

Not enough people willing to order and pay a fair price - their fault.
Not making the offer - your fault.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not that angry at FP for abandoning the FP1. I’m slightly annoyed that I sold my FP1 (after getting the FP2) to a friendly person in the UK, assuming that Android 4.4 was upcoming and she would have a great time using it. She’s probably doomed now. :unamused: This pisses me off, excuse my French…

My wife still owns a beloved FP1 and I will keep it alive as long as possible. I have my FP2 and am quite satisfied with it (but I will look out for battery candidates, just to be on the safe side), so everything is fine here. But FP (the company) should consider changing strategy. There’s nothing as devastating to a good idea than being found red-handed betraying it.

Working “Social Media”, you should know this.


The community:

  • seems to be very supportive of the FP ideals
  • very disappointed with the sudden end of FP1 support (especially batteries)
  • FP1 batteries seem to be the real problem to allow FP1’s to continue life (could be a good portion of 60000 still in use) (not junk usable FP1 phone due to no battery)
  • willing to contribute cash, pre-ordering, crowd funding for batteries
  • knowledge that there are batteries producing companies that could be approached if funding available
  • the HB5N1H battery is close, works, needs proper testing, may need temp/mgmt
  • multiple producers make this battery, could be approached with the FP1 specs (and likely make a usable battery with little development)
    —see some informal testing coments in 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 Generic battery to replace FP1 battery (⚠️see first post for warning) @Stefan
    Let’s try to prolong the FP1 lifetime and story and ideals

Hi to all,

much has been said about disapointment and things, so I don´t need to repeat it. I also think, that the battery issue needs to get done somehow.
When it comes to the software updates, maybe some creativity could help. When I got it right, there are 2 problems, one is that Fairphone as a company has not the manpower and budget to further work on updates for FP1, but have the license to. The second one is, that there are people in the community willing and able to help out, but they are not allowed to, because Fairphone is not allowed to publish the source code.
My suggestion:
let them become part of your company, let´s say as official Fairphone volunteers or by paying them a symbolic vage of 1€, so Fairphone don´t need to violate licenses by publishing code but can keep control by limiting access and the willing and able can finally contribute in this task, and maybe all of us could profit out of this.
I´m pretty sure, that there may even be some lawyers out there in the community willing to help to figure out, how to make this work.
Might be worth considering how to let an enthusiastic community participate in the development of the idea and the company to the benefit of everybody.

Best regards,


Oh wow, you’re one of these aggregator bots I’ve always been afraid of? :joy:

Yes, that’s what I meant!



The Netherlands have a minimum wage of € 8.95 per hour.

@TobiasF I think that the minimum wage doesn’t apply to short-term internships.

@bxl_11 About a third of the FP1s are still in use.

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That seems very low to me. Two thirds of the FP1 users have already dumped their phones? I thought users have chosen FP1 to keep their phones longer than usual.

I am curious what source you have consulted.


I’m not sure whether I even was supposed to share that rough number publicly. :wink:

Still I think it’s plausible since many users will have ditched their FP1s because of a broken screen, or just because the USB connector got loose. Remember that FP1 mainly was a proof-of-concept for implementing fair tin and tantalum in the supply chain. The design itself is not especially resilient (unlike FP2’s).


We did not stop the production. Fairphone does not produce anything. It is the suppliers that chose to stop production. That is how the phone industry works. Sourcing spare parts happens on a one-time basis. You find a supplier, you specify the quantity, you pay upfront, you get the parts (very, very, very simply put). After this order has been delivered, you might have to find a different supplier or you might have troubles concerning the quantity you order, or they might ask for a higher price. Anyway, you have to re-negotiate. At first, our assembly factory did these kinds of negotiations for us. After they stopped doing this, we had to do this ourselves. For such a small company like Fairphone this is quite a hassle. It’s a lot of back and forth.

What upsett me the more, Is that fp& was sell like a sustainable phone. At leat if you say nothing about this…

The Fairphone 1 was foremost sold as a fair phone. A phone that takes concrete steps towards fairer labour conditions and one that opens up the blackbox that is the phone industry. It is next to impossible in terms of reasonable expenditure of labour and money to upgrade this phone, which was already a bit behind in terms of specs when it was released. Our efforts were better spent capitalising on the learnings and means we gained through the FP1 and taking the next step towards a fairer phone. The modular design is easier to repair, source spare parts for and recycle, bla-di-bla-di-bla, you all know this. Bottom line: Ideas of longevity were sympathised with but could only be tackled with the Fairphone 2.

We did not know for how long the FP1 would last and we never made concrete estimates. We wanted to support it for as long as possible, and we think this is what we did. We as a company face a constant tradeoff between keeping our existing models for as long as possible and at the same time not ceasing to challenge the status quo and implementing the learnings we make towards making an even fairer phone. Impacting more lives of our workers by integrating fair and conflict-free minerals into our supply chain. By monitoring overtime and security in our factories. By making more people aware of what is in their phone and what machinery there is behind it. We have not known that the Fairphone 1 could be supported for this amount of time. But we know that it was not a business mistake to start the FP2. The goal of our business is to approximate a fair phone and make relevant learnings available to the public and prove a demand for fair phones so other producers will follow. Breaking ground with the FP2 thus was a success in that it furthered all of these goals. You don’t change the industry overnight and you don’t make phones live thrice as long as the industry standard overnight. If it were so easy, more companies would do it.