Fairphone 2.1 - with support for Nougat

Then, in my view, the only benefit of the Fairphone 2 that is left compared to other (non-modular) smartphones is DIY reparability…

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Fairphone’s modularity has always been about repairability and recyclability. I don’t recall having seen any word in the device pages or story pages promoting any aspect of upgradability inherent in the design. Overall, the ‘benefits’ of Fairphone’s approach I’d say are linked to the four themes in the story section, all of which are works in progress:

  • Long lasting design: “the world’s first modular phone built for repairability in mind”
  • Fair products: “creating demand for materials that are good for people and planet”
  • Good working conditions: “work closely with selected suppliers”
  • Reuse and recycling: “one step closer to a circular economy”

That is the phrase I should have used at the start of this thread; a new mainboard module for FP2 which would give greater performance and a Google-compliant chip for Nougat. That would be Fairphone 2.1, imho.

@paulakreuzer; installing a custom ROM is not for me. I know it’s not that hard, but it’s something that I can rule out; in my hands it takes too much time crawling forums and feeling out of my depth. It’s simply a skill I don’t want to learn.

Stefan’s post seems to be the final word on this; it doesn’t seem like a new mainboard is plausible for the FP2. Thanks for explaining.

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If you live near a Fairphone community in your country, maybe someone could install a custom ROM on your Fairphone 2, and you could spend him/her a beer … or two … or three … :grinning:


But the used Snapdragon 801 (8974-AA) SoC was released in Q3 2014 (and used in the Blackberry Passport since September 2014), nearly 3 years ago. The SoC being the most deciding component for obsolescence, for the purpose of this discussion I would side with edanto that the hardware is nearly three years old despite the product being assembled significantly later.

And I think herin lies an important lesson for Fairphone: the economic lifespan of an SoC is approximately two years. SoCs and production processes still evolve fast enough (in terms of perf and perf/watt) for parties like Qualcomm to keep releasing new SoCs every year or more often. These SoCs will inevitably be incompatible with earlier chips. With a bit of stretch, you can get OS upgrades for these two years and provide a well supported phone for 3-4 years, but only if you manage to release your phone at the same time as the SoC. Parties like Fairphone don’t have enough volume or engineering momentum to pull this off; it means you’d have to develop the mainboard for the phone from a Qualcomm engineering sample in the few weeks long before final production of the SoC.
Another point I’d like to stress (again ;-)) is that upstream kernels matter! The more the Android kernel diverges from upstream, the more effort needs to be made for an Android upgrade, and thus the less likely it is to happen. On the contrary, if drivers and CPU support live upstream (and Qualcomm is doing quite well in making this happen), the community takes care of this as frameworks evolve.
Hopefully for the hypothetical FP3 you guys can start with an SoC that comes fresh from the presses and make real effort to push for a kernel that is as close to upstream as possible!


In regard to the Android operating system and support with security updates, you are absolutely right.


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Project Treble (Android O)

Sorry, but in my opinion that was no upgrade but a necessary replacement for a flawed design.
Just read this thread again, if you have any doubts about it:

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Stefan is highly involved with the community and has a lot of knowledge on Fairphone, but is not involved in developing the next Fairphone, as far as I know (yet :wink:).

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The Fairphone team are my marionettes. :imp:


Replacing a module with a better one is by definition a module upgrade, no matter what’s the reason behind it. And don’t worry, I know that thread by heart (like almost every thread in the forum ;)). If you have any doubts about that just take a look at my forum stats. :smiley:

So back on topic, here are the upgrade stats for all modules:

  • Cover
  • upgraded :white_check_mark: (to make up for a major flaw)
  • Camera
  • Upgrade announced to come soon! :heavy_check_mark: :grey_question:
  • Top Module
  • Upgrade announced to come soon! (along with the camera upgrade the front camera will be upgraded too) :heavy_check_mark: :grey_question:
  • Main Module
  • minor changes made as seen here.
  • major upgrade very unlikely. :x:
  • Screen
  • Minor changes made (mainly due to changed supplier) - whether bright spots are fixed by that remains to be seen.
  • Bottom Module
  • no upgrade announced (personally I guess this will be the next module FP will try to upgrade, because besides the screen it’s the module most prone to hardware issues).

[quote=“paulakreuzer, post:19, topic:29331”]
Replacing a module with a better one is by definition a module upgrade, no matter what’s the reason behind it.[/quote]
Well, this may be just nit-picking on my side, but I would hardly call replacing a part that is not working with one that is an upgrade. Would you really call it an upgrade if you have a bike, where you can not fix the saddle due to a construction error and get in exchange a saddle that can be fixed because it is better constructed?
To prove my point and show that I talk from own experience, I had two tranparent covers falling apart before I opted for replacement. As I wanted to prolongue useage before replacement, I always waitet, until the cover was no longer holding on.
Of course, in the end, as I said, lets call it picking hairs and agree, that the new covers are way better and durable. (Although tbh I do miss the transparent design and are still disappointed, that I did not get the colour I want, because I am “just a warranty case” and no paying customer :disappointed:.)

I know, of course, I just wanted to get the “First Link” badge. :wink:
And - naturally - this link was intended for all the other users reading this thread before the other one. :smile_cat:

Edit @paulakreuzer s reply
I give you that point.
Just to take the lameness out of my comparative illustration:
Ok, make it saddle, that comes fixed, but is sure to fall off after half a year of riding, being replaced by one that stays fixed. Or take a car with a gear box, that is going to break after just 1000 km driving.
Btw: Would you know, if there are really original covers out there, that have lasted longer than 9 months. I have my doubts, but of course hope to be wrong.


Well if we are already nit picking then I have to call your comparison lame. Picking up your analogy it would rather be a saddle that works well for a while but has a high chance of breaking after a while that is being replaced by a long-lasting saddle with an even better mechanism to adjust it. So yeah, it’s definitely an upgrade (even if the old saddle may have looked cooler to some: transparent).

Mine did (blue translucent).

Used my black original cover for 1.5 years, not damaged, switched to slim for vanity rasons :slight_smile:


Can I request, please, that this topic stays focused on whether or not it would be possible for a main module upgrade to bring about Fairphone 2.1 supporting Nougat.

At this stage, based on Stefan and Paulkreuzers replies, I don’t think there is any chance of it happening. (And I know this is ‘just’ a community discussion)

I’ve certainly learnt a lot about Fairphone design in this thread, thanks in particular to posts like Rspliets.

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Unlikely: Yes.

Possible: Still yes!

That’s my summary. I think it would be a pity. An upgraded main module could keep the FP future proof and still have compability with most parts. And it would be a smart engineering decision, since all other parts are produced already, which spare a lot of cost and time.
It would be good for current FP2 owners, since it would be easier for FP to keep producing spare parts and good for future FP2.1 (or FP2U or FP2S) as they get a more future proof device with Android Support and performance reserves. I still have hope for it.


This, in my inexperienced view, is the most compelling reason for Fairphone to try and achieve a FP2.1 (or FP2U etc). Allow people to replace their FP2 batteries, screens as needed with normal wear and tear.

If they want to upgrade to FP2U; buy a new FP2U mainboard module (for compatibility reasons, maybe camera, top and bottom modules would all have to be FP2U) while re-using the battery, screen, case.

From what I can see, suggestions along those lines have been made for a few years on this forum, so I imagine Fairphone HQ have had similar discussions internally, with more detail and expertise.

I’ve searched through the product blog posts on the Fairphone website and I don’t see any posts exploring the pros and cons of these options. Hopefully a bit more detail will be forthcoming in future; it seems likely that a decision has already been made based on the length of time since it was first proposed.


Kinda like how the Neo900 [1] is a complete new phone just like Stefan said if you replace the SoC its practically a new phone already. If you want/need Nougat, go with LineageOS. For now, we still get software updates on Android 6 after 2 years. That’s a good track record. Lets underline that.

[1] https://neo900.org


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