Fairphone 3 - Interview of Bas from FrAndroid

I, too, like the idea of an biannual release. If it will be alternating in the sense that the odd Fairphone versions (1, 3, …) are cheaper/smaller while the even FP versions (2, 4, …) are more high end. I for example wouldn’t have joined the movement if the FP1 had been 500€+ phone as the FP2 is.

So, as already has been stated by others, FP cannot please everyone, but I’d say it is a good idea to target at least the low end and the power users.


Nice discussion already. I think @Douwe is right, not everybody be 100% satisfied with a new model.

I would really like to have some compatibility with the FP2 (SE), in that some modules are the same and use the same connectors. Or, in case the FP3 is a smaller lower end device, i vote for an upgraded FP2: Same display (or 100% compatible), but better camera and faster chipset + RAM.

The FP2 is great for users today, but in (late) 2018, it will hardly be possible to sell the device to new customers. By that time, most new phones will have Android O… and expectations regarding performance and camera quality, for example, will naturally be higher.


I think probably even if the FP3 will be low end FP2 production will be stopped soon after - except for spare parts.


I hope they are going to care about availability and make preparations to supply enough spare parts for Fairphone 2, otherwise they will walk down the same dead-end street they took already with Fairphone 1…

I see the progress and plans for Fairphone 3 critical. I have a lot of concerns/doubts because

  1. Unused potential of the FP2 plattform:
    The Fairphone 2 plattform has a lot of potential, so if you say, there is no chance of upgrading the SoC or other components, and just a little chance of upgrading the camera module, so why modularity? Just for repair reasons? I thought the idea of modularity was once to upgrade the plattform modules from time to time to reduce the waste. Without this, it is just for easy repair.
    What’s with the back connector? No ideas? So why I had to pay for this part?
    What’s with a better battery? Wireless charging?
  2. Long term availability of spare parts
    If I have a look at FP1 and see the availability of spare parts, I can imagine, that it would become harder to get spare parts in 2 or 3 years for FP2.
  3. Shared human ressources between FP1, FP2 and FP3:
    Fairphone is a very small company compared to other smartphone companies. They just have 100% of manpower and have to decide, what’s important now and which project gets the ressources. So if you take a look at FP1 you see, when FP2 was announced, all manpower was put in FP2, that’s definitly normal, so now there is just a small amount of resources left for FP1, seen in the porting/development of Android 4.4(?).
    So I think it’s very realistic that more and more ressources are used for FP3 and there is no time left for porting new Android versions to FP2. So if there a plan for releasing FP3 in 2018 I can imagine that right now a lot of manpower is used in FP3 and FP2 is just “done”?

So FP3 becomes now main priority, more and more developers are solving FP3 problems, porting software for FP3 etc. So my hope was once, that FP2 could be longer the main project, maybe for five or six years. With upgraded modules or ideas like to use the FP2 plattform to release a low cost and a high end smartphone or just things like an online configurator where buyers can choose individual, for example a low cost camera, a high end SoC, a normal display and a bigger battery with wireless charging. Just for example :slight_smile:

So my hope was that FP2 could live next to FP3 side by side with 50:50 shared ressource, i know, sounds naive :slight_smile: and I hoped that the process of innovation at FP2 is still not over, but right now it feels like the end of the road for FP2 :frowning:

Or am I to pessimistic? Just look at transition of FP1 to FP2 to estimate what will happen.


Yeah, that was the main reason. And it’s not “just”: in fact it is a huge problem-solver. Just look at the planet’s state on electronic waste and what was the first phone to get 10/10 repairability on iFixit.

Well, some people (I included) thought so. But they didn’t confirmed that, they just didn’t discard it. They had been working on it, but there are (again!) big technical issues and bad industry practices. Systemical challenges, after all. No one can win all battles at the same time. Not excusing them, just explaining the situation. Words are easy.

So deterministic you are here. Businesses and projects, like people, change with the experience. Also, they designed FP2 with other spare parts model, so this is just fallacious (no ofense).

They just released Android 6 with security upgradability in mind, removing Fairphone-specific parts and being more mainline with the Android source. They are currently also working on Fairphone Open OS Marshmallow upgrade… I don’t think they are devoting all their resources into a “concepting phase” FP3.

Also, there is a whole topic for the “porting new Android versions”, with bad-decissions and (tada! again!) systemic industry issues.

Phone’s modularity is not computer’s modularity. Not even close.

Solving the world is just so easy, I must go do it right now. Bye!


Thank you, @Roboe, I fully agree with you. As a software developer and traffic telematics engineer I don’t wont to think about, how hard and difficult it could be to design something like a modular smartphone, no one really did before! So I’m a big fan of what they realized with the FP2, it’s incedible and they proofed, the concept is working!

So with the modular plattform in mind and all the euphoria, i hoped that FP2 had a much longer maintenance life and the plattform would used for a FP 2.5 or a FP2 low cost or some back connector module cover.

Hmm nahh …ish! I know, i know, but just think about display, camera, battery, back cover modules. Please let me dream :slight_smile:


OK, I agree that screen size does matter for many people, whether it is small or large. But the costs should not differ that much from each other, as long as Fairphone do not aim to develop and produce a “fair hightech state-of-the-art” display. :wink:

One thing to consider (reading about the “display desaster” - I’ll handle my FP1 with even more care now!) for FP3: Use new hardware only when absolutely necessary. A camera is a camera, a display is a display, a USB port is a USB port, after all. And if parts are modular, that should be even less of an issue. The case of your FP2 breaks? Doesn’t matter. Any future case will fit. FP3, FP6, FP35: A case is a case.

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Regarding case and display: Following your approach, they would have to be the same size for now and ever. But sizes of smartphones are different, and so are the people who buy them…

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Of course there are different size smartphones. But if you buy a Fairphone today, it is only one size. If you want a different size you have to buy another brand.

FP2 is the same size as FP1, so they could have (should have? It’s not that difficult to replace?) used the same screen. And the same battery. And the same power button… What’s the point of using 100 % different parts each time you design a new phone?

FP1 and FP2 are not the same size. FP2 has a 5" display whereas FP1 is about 4".


I do not know where you got that information, but obviously you are wrong. It is a very different smartphone:


@BeMiGro: Thanks!

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OK. Point taken. The power button is probably a different size too.

But still: Why?

Exactly. That’s what I’m complaining about. Make future models more or less the same, except for parts that have to be different for some reason.


I like the way you think, but I do not believe in wonders… :wink:

6 posts were split to a new topic: Discussion about life cycles

Hi, after a long time I am back here… Unfortunately I couldn’t afford the Fairphone 2 but I have read here that they want to do a new, cheaper version of the phone. I can hope that the processor will be something in the middle range, like the Snapdragon 660 that seems to be a great middle range chipset. Definitely a serie 400 would be an extremely bad idea under the aspect of durability and I don’t think that the difference in price is so high. Also I hope that the modem will be something with a widest range of frequency supported as possible, like the Sony Xperia X for example, this is important for the future proof aims of this phone.
Anyway these are only my consideration, I look forward to see what will be the final decisions about this future phone, hoping that this time I can afford it and it will suit my needs.


Compatibility will be quite easy if all drivers are free and mainlined.
IMHO, we should concentrate here, new HW (except minor upgrades like bigger memory) is pretty secondary, unless it brings real benefits.
I’m not caring about more performance (I’m still fine w/ my 5yrs old phone). Yes, android is getting hungrier by the day - we should start cleaning up the mess there.


Would it be possible to have a lower-cost model w/ the same board populated for only one SIM ?