Fairphone 2 - list of news coverage and specifications

My 2 cents:

  • Other OS’s is a must.
  • Battery seems a bit low end. 2800 mAh would be appreciated.
  • Size is ok (to me). You cannot really satisfy everyone in this matter.
  • Price is ok (to me), when the phone will really get long term updates (say 5 years at least). I guess, many people overestimate upgrades. I use a 10 year old laptop with a latest Linux, and its still good: stick to the older stuff and repair it…

@apheiner Thanks for your considered reply. Still have a working Nokia N800 here in my drawer. I simply can’t let it go, liked it so much.

Well, that boils done to personal definition, you may calculate that way. However, the positive side of this is the following: I need neither NFC nor wireless charging. So for me, the price would be 525€ and i am happy it is not more. I was just arguing that I do not see NFC as crucial, and wireless charging even less. Yay for upgradable back-covers so you could possible add that functionality while i do not have to pay more then required.

This would have to be done very careful! If you are here in the forums or read some comments you can still here the outcry about no Android Updates, bad Cyanogen support etc. The new processor was choosen to address these things, at least in part. It is a well known CPU used in many top-notch devices (albeit most from last year) that has very good support from Qualcomm and open source android distributions. If it would be replaced, there should be no compromises in that aspect and i do not know how much could be saved here. It would have to be a high to medium range Qualcomm processor which is widely used, offers LTE and good Android Open Source support.

NO! Please not! Some many people using the Fairphone a somewhat old-school: They still use their phone to make calls and call quality is very important to them. Again: software based noise-canceling is simply not on par with solutions using a speciality microphone. This. i believe, would noticable reduce the quality of the phone, without a significant price drop.

Whats enough is up for debate. I do not need the latest flagship processor (would be a Snapdragon 810 or 808 instead of 801), not do i need giganting internal storage (the FP2 has resonable 32GB), nor do i need NFC, wireless charging or a 12MP camera (given that the resolution alone does not make the pictures a tint better). Arguably, i would have been happy with a smaller screen, like 4.7 and lower resolution. But we do, not know if that would have reduced the price.

But I think people expect a kind of quality for a device that should live long. And even the smallest components have an influence here, take for example the less then optimal proximity sensor (i do not care if caused by software or hardware), which leads to a considerable amount of people being very annoyed because they accidently end calls, change phone settings etc while calling (Count me in on that! I really had it and it seriously damaging my experience with FP1.)

I would welcome a price drop: If another Qualcomm processor is as future-proof as the 801 is expected to be and cheaper, yay, i would prefer that! If a smaller screens is possible and would reduce the price, Yay! Lower resolution? Count me in! But i do not want to save on parts i think have been proven to be crucial for longevity or are suspected to contribute to a general, quality experience. Better voice quality and no more dropped calls with the FP2 would be something i look really forward to.

True! But stop giving my excuses for gadget-impulse-pre-ordering/buying ;-).


Thats me as well. Let’s see if we can stick to our goals here ;-).

I do not think that is true. In my impression, they to care, especially some members if the team, it’s just that they have to balance needs and requirements and, to be fair, a free-software-phone is not number one priority. I do think that is a good thing, it allows Fairphone to make progress in other areas. I think it would be great if another (social) enterprise stepped up here and proved: It is possible to make a competitive(!) free software phone. However, there as not been somethink like that since the open moko, with the closed you get probably being Yolla and Ubuntu. Freedom, there, as well stops when hardware drivers (binary) blobs are involved.

How would such a strategy look?

Which would that be?

What features could you spare? What specs could be lower, even considering the target of the device living for 5 years?

Every design has a compromise, here it might be the perceived high price. It is sad this will exclude some people that would like to support Fairphone. I am very excited for the cost breakdown, but keep in mind 525€ already includes the bonus for fairer sourcing of materials, worker welfare, etc.

I think the price is reasonable. Fairphone is a social enterprise now, they do not take donations, but finance all their operation by selling this phones. This includes research, recycling, raising visibility, conflict-free mineral, worker welfare, all not directly related to the specs of the device. And that comes on top of what they need to pay for development (hard-and-software) and maintenance and support. Having a storage of replacement parts etc.

I would love to the phone to be cheaper, but i do not see a lot of room to make it cheaper given all those requirements and the relativly low scale.

I can very well image Fairphone to build upon that model in the future: If the price of components drops (which is to be expected), i might very well be that they reduce the price in the coming year(s). It is also possible to deliver incremental updates to reduce the cost of developing a new model, while keeping some parts, for example, replacing the processor with a slighter faster or simply cheaper but similar powerful chip in a coming FP2,5 model. So there is hope for that.


I agree, some of us do not need a high end phone to play video games or watch full HD videos. We need durability, stability and a responsive OS which may be done with a lower specs phone :wink:



the thing is - under current economic conditions: you cannot sell a lot of such devices, because it simply gets too expensive. There are practically no really open SoCs around, just better ones and worse ones. Just like the idea of production in Europe: it would be great, but there is currently no way. Or like the idea of certificates for all sources of metal et al for production… FP cannot solve all these problems.

(BTW: On this linked website, there is also explained, how much the weak Euro changed their calculation. I suppose that this accounts for FP2, too: with a strong Euro, it might be 100 Euro or so cheaper…)


Well then I would say that this phone will not be economicly profitable. If you make a phone with no real up-to-date, high-end features you are just not competitive enough to be profitable. In my opinion the fair-side of the phone alone is not enough to be unique and thus be economicly concurrential.

One issue concerning the relatively large size might also be the modularity.

Many people complain about the large size. Personally I would also prefer a 4.7 inch screen over the now standard 5 inch.

However I’ve just had the thought that the larger size might make modularity easier or maybe even possible in the first place. I can imagine the modular design introduces some small overhead in size because the modules need to be replaceable one by one and the frame needs to be sturdy.

Long story short, Fairphone has obviously poured a lot of thought into the design and there might be many reasons we don’t know about or can’t even imagine why they designed it the way they did. It’s important that we stay critical but we should also trust them to some extent. In the end they are the experts.


Summarizing, the high price (plus some other smaller issues) are getting people upset here.
This has been a very important strategic decision for FP, I hope you considered well how many customers you will lose and how many you will gain, as every unfair company does nowadays. You clearly changed your target: from mid-people who can afford 200-300 euros for a smartphone and make it last long by upgrading software, removing apps, changing distro, correcting hardware (I personally soldered something in my current unfair smartphone, following Youtube videos, to make it last long), the target has changed to higher-class people, who wants to feel eco-bio-fair geeks. What I want to say is that the latter, who wants high specs and top-class features, are used to (unfairly) change their phone quickly.

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I like the FP2 concept a lot and I really hope, that everything works like expected, including the connection of the differed modules of the phone. I think it was the right choice of Fairphone to use components witch are used in a wide range of other phones. This is the only way to become a realistic chance of longtime software support and a longtime support with spare parts.

Very good work @Fairphone, I couldn’t imagine that you try to take such a huge step (modules) at FP2. I’m very exited about that.

Except the GPS I’m absolutely happy with my FP1U but my last Smartphone (HTC Desire S), witch is used by my mother at the moment becomes even more problematic (after 4 years of use) and makes funny things, so I will buy a FP2 to be able to give my FP1U to my mother.

Yes 500€ are quite expensive and I wold never buy a pone for this price. But I’m willing to buy a phone and the idea(s) behind it for this price. I’m not happy with this but I think it is acceptable.

I hope both Fairphones will live long enough to don’t need to buy another one in next years again. And I hope that the module connections of the FP2 will stand even huge shocks (I would like to mount one of the prototypes to my bike with nothing more than a Finn an ride some rough roads. But unfortunately I don’t have one ;))


I think this is a fair argument. High-end features will make a phone attractive. And I would like to expand on this. High-end features don’t necessarily have to be cost drivers. Remember the cost breakdown for the first Fairphone. Only a fraction of the final sales price (€ 129,75 of € 325) were spent on design, engineering, components, manufacturing, and assembly together. Which means, only a fraction of this fraction was spent on components. Trying to save on those components seems to be missing the point. Components are no relevant cost drivers. They just serve to make a device attractive and justify the final sales price.


This is something to ask Fairphone. If i find the time i will pose that question in comment section on blog later today.

Well, that is all and pure speculation. Nothing in this statement can really hold given a more thoroughly and serious observation.


so surprisingly we agree. You don’t care about a high-end screen, someone using the device for photo work does… Same for the chipset: I don’t need a high-end because I do not time-critical computations (games), you may play games. This argument can easily be expanded to any other functionality, like NFC (critical for one, not for the other) or wireless charging.

My main point is that, due to the modular architecture, it is relatively easy to replace elements by new high end elements (future proof), or downgrade it because you don’t need some functionality (in your case the NFC, in my case the latest processor). If you want to go from A to B a Skoda may be good enough; others may insist on the top-of-the line Audi (the same platform). So a “good-enough” strategy is an as valid approach for durability as a top-of-the-line approach. It may even be a key selling point for a large part of the Fairphone customer base (see earlier blog by Tessa) such as the ethical supporter or proud pioneer (I’m very much into their business model, rather than into their technology)

Funding strategy: using an independent sales channel (a “bank”) you uncouple device from service provider. The operators also want their cut (and that can be stiff), and that will be charged to you, and/or sales price (whole sale discount that comes at the cost of the profit for Fair phone). Fairphone also has to negotiate with all operators in all countries (Netherlands, Germany, France, Swiss, Sweden, Finland…). And you reduce the choice of provider (hardly “fair”, if I may abuse the word).

Both ideas address one key issue: good price/performance with sustainability and good working conditions for the employees. I don’t see the point in having the utmost sustainable high-end model that no-one (few) can afford.

And arguments against impulse buying: it’s a hobby. Collecting stamps also costs trees :wink:

How would such a strategy look?

The way I see it such a strategy would have to address issues like:

  • How to enable user freedom within the base image? (Like disabling google play services, and avoiding complicating modifications).
  • How to educate users on software freedom (offering easy testing of other OS’s, providing reading materials, starting off with the most free OS and adding non-free if desired)
  • How to enable development of a free software stack (unlocked bootloader, no signature checking, proper documentation, sideloading of non-free drivers, enabling reverse engineerng and development by providing devices, hosting hack-events and paying development)
  • How to avoid playng catch-up (buying additional stock of reverse-engineerd processors, use hardware closest to freed hardware to lower the required development effort, separate the function of phone and computing to allow more ree processors for the generic computing task)
  • How to increase the freedom options in the industry (partner with leading software and hardware parties to build more-free options to include in future devices or models)
  • How to use software freedom efforts as a market advantage (brings additional security, allows modification for other applications like handheld registration devices for companies, fuel the creation of different Fairphone distributions tailored for different audiences: a super-simple UI for elderly people, a UI for power-users, a UI with limited apps for children, hardware integration to cope with disabilities)

Just like with hardware-manufacturer the end-goal can and should be envisioned, so as to develop a strategy to work towards achieving that goal. Reaching full freedom options will require years of work, multiple Fairphone revisions, and changes in industry and maybe even legistlation. To make sure progress continues to be made, a long-term view is required.


I like your idea a lot. This does sound great and is definitely the way Fairphone should go in the future.

One reason why they are not implementing this idea right away might be the overall price: Due to economy of scale mechanisms parts and devices become cheaper if you order/build them in large numbers. If Fairphone would offer many different versions for each of the modules, they would have to pay more when buying the individual parts because they order fewer of each kind. That would increase the price and in the end the lower speced phone might not be much cheaper than the higher speced Fairphone 2 we have been presented with.

In that light it probably is a good idea to start of with one configuration and get that right and as cheap as possible. Later one can add other versions once the scale is large enough to do so.

Of course you could argue that they should have started off with a cheaper version with lower specifications. That would also make it more likely to achieve the large quantities and thus economy of scale is more likely to work. However that would compromise the overall idea of longevity. In the end people would generate more waste and would have higher expanses when they start of with a cheap version and then upgrade to higher specifications within a shorter time frame.


I think by large, we do agree.

It still is about that good-enough: I wanted to argue it will be hard to find a processor that is cheaper, but good enough. I suppose since the MediaTek disaster with the current model, i am very sensitive towards this component. For me a top-notch processor is not about the perfomance (now, it may be in 4 years!) but the amount of support to be expected for third-party OSes and Android Upgrades. Speaking of CPU/Chipset It may be only the “Mercedes” is good enough for the Fairphone, not because of its speed, but because it is the only one with adequate support. *Disclaimer: I have no idea if the Mercedes “support” is any good. And when i drive a car, which rarely happens, it’s a 13-year old Opel (Corsa, specifically ;-)).


Thanks for that detailed strategy. Sounds good like a good strategy to develop a free phone.

We agree on long term goals. But: I do not think Fairphone should be the company implement your full strategy, because I see it conflicting to other goals Fairphone pursuits. I also think Fairphone should focus on delivering a Fair phone, not necessarily a free phone.

While I am a supporter of free software, there is simply stuff for Fairphone to do that i personally think of as more important. This is a personal decision, but i have the impression that while open source/free software is part of Fairphones idea, it is not the driving force.


Make that “willing to spend” instead of afford. And the cost of FP1 is more like 350€ rather than “200-300”. It’s a phone and not a buillon.

Not speculation, @ben, I am reading this thread and counting how many people are saying “it was good to be fair, but 525 is too much for me, I cannot pay all this amount at once, I will keep my old phone / buy another unfair phone when the old one becomes unusable” while other saying “it’s not too much, an iPhone 4/5/6 costed the same, I will buy FP2”

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Exactly: those people say that they “want to spend” 200-300 euros for a smarphone, but they can afford 350 for a fair phone.

I think Fairphone put themselves right into the middle of this debate. Let me explain.

Some of you think the FP2 is too expensive.
Some of you think it should be more high-end (NFC, even faster/newer chipset, etc).
Some of you want a ‘good enough’ device.
Some of you want a great device, both to be competitive and to last longer.

Fairphone made a ‘good enough’ device with the FP1(U). They are trying to make a more high-end phone with the FP2. This was their plan all along.

For those of us who do not want to spend €500 on a phone, that is a bit disappointing. But people who want to buy cheaper phones could be overrepresented in this forum, because the FP1 was not bought by a lot of people who would normally want to spend that much on a phone (considering it wasn’t top-notch on the technical end).

Don’t forget that there is an ungodly amount of people who buy flagship phones for €600+ every two years. Those people could save some money (because of the lower cost and because of the expected longevity of the FP2) and have a fairer phone too.

Fairphone is not trying to sell us a new phone. They are trying to make it appealing (tech/price wise) to the enormous amount of people who are already willing to spend that much money on a phone and don’t have a Fairphone yet.

The FP2 is not the best of the best, but it is also not simply a ‘good enough’ phone. Some FP1 owners will buy the FP2 too, but most FP2 owners will be people who right now are walking around with an S4 or Moto X, iPhone 5 or Nexus 5 in their hands, just to name a few. Oh, and the Note 3, which is also big as fuck.


If you say it like this it sounds as if Fairphone actually struck the perfect balance between the two extremes.