Please don’t mix up ‘(security)updates’ with ‘(firmware)upgrades’.
The FP1 did receive some secutiry updates, the FP2 receives them quite often. So indeed: in that area FP is doing a decent job.
But they utterly failed in the firmware upgrades: the FP1 didn’t receive any at all, the FP2 just one. The result is that atm the FP2 is still being sold with A6, while A8 is the current version. If FP2 would have been an Android One device (theoretical mentioning, as A1 didn’t exist at the time) it would be on A8 now, without costing FP work & time on development.
I don’t mix up updates with upgrades, but you can’t have failed with upgrades as long as you can provide updates. If security updates stop being delivered for your current OS and you don’t have an upgrade yet, then you might have failed.
To see that as an utter failure - given that preventing the official Android version dead-end randomly generated by Google would have meant Fairphone to be able to correctly predict Google’s random Android 7 upgrade policy back in the Android 5 days - is a very far stretch this short --> <-- of a trolling attempt in my point of view.
An Android version number alone is not a problem in itself.
If Fairphone would have had the foresight to sell the Fairphone 2 with an unlocked bootloader, there could be an easy upgrade path via independent Android AOSP efforts such as LineageOS, and thus for people crying foul on Android version numbers or for people otherwise interested the Fairphone 2 could well be on at least Android 7.1 right now, without costing Fairphone work and time on development.
But wait a minute … that’s exactly reality, isn’t it .
I understand the main point though. And I share the enthusiasm about decoupling hardware and software, as long as Google’s terms don’t prevent Fairphone from offering something like Fairphone Open OS or at least not locking the bootloader.
Please correct me, if I’m wrong. Ain’t it so, that almighty Google decided to make a list of conditions a phone has to comply to to be considered worthy i.e. supported for “Nougat” (Android 7). That’s a general decision, made while the hardware essentially would be good enough to run “nougat”.
Well, just searched the forum again and it might be the SoC manufacturer Qualcomm as well:
Still, if a company is going to bind itself even more and tighter to another company like Google, they will ultimately be dependent on their decisions. And that could easily mean LOS, Ubuntu, Sailfish or what ever happens to come the way, will become more unlikely or even impossible for the Fairphone. That’s what I would call a no win situation for Fairphone.
And just as an afterthought: Never touch a running system.
I don’t need every new version of Android, as long as the one I am using now (even the old one on my FP 1) is doing all I want. If the security is kept up-to-date, all’s fine.
Compared to my windows laptops: I hardly ever changed the OS version on any of them; no matter how aggressive Microsoft tried to make me. So, why should it be so important for a phone to me, if it’s not for security reasons or if I am really missing a feature.
“Give me all that’s nice to have” - at least to me - is not what Fairphone is all about.
For me (so that’s really personal) security updates are far more important then firmware upgrades. So I’m not that worried about FP2 running a 2 year old Android version.
But many are, and it would certainly be a selling point for the FP2 if it would be running A7 or even A8 at the moment.
Whatever the personal idea: FP did/does a good job in the area of updates, but fails in OS-upgrades.
Anyway: I was just enthousiast about the idea of a hardware company, and especially FP, not having to worry about or to invest in firmware, so they can concentrate on what they are good at: building phones (i.e. hardware) in a sustainable way. That’s what FP and the FP-community is all about, and what made me buy a FP in the first place. But I was (and still am) very disappointed in the software development (although I still use my FP1 series 1, be it only as a secondary phone).
I have not owned the FP2 for that long. I came from an iPhone and bought a 500+ euro phone. I was disappointed that that phone did not have the latest Android version.
The FP is supposed to last quite some time. During that time Google engineers are making Android better (and not just for the Google corporation). I would like to get those updates, even if the older version of Android is being supported. Maybe more because I’m used to having that on my iPhone.
I don’t know if Android One is the way to go (not saying that it isn’t, not saying that it is, I really don’t know), but I agree with Rob that FP should strive to minimize their effort in upgrading. Maybe that can be achieved with Android One (Android One Open would be better), maybe that can be achieved with project Treble.
Just don’t act like upgrades do not matter to users as long as they are safe and supported. It matters to at least two of us.
Ok, we are missing here the WHY. Why has not upgraded Fairphone their FP2s to Android 7 or 8? Because Google and Qualcomm, simply put. The SoC/platform of FP2s is MSM8974, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line. Google imposed some requirements while developing Android 7 that excluded this platform at the moment (a Sony phone based on the same platform even had a beta before this requirements), and Qualcomm does not have interest in upgrading their firmware to comply with Google’s requirements for Android +7 because MSM8974 is an old (i.e. relegated) platform for them. Yup, Fairphone suffered for external programmed obsolescence.
Learn more at this #epic thread already linked by @BertG:
… And what’s more, it’s one of just a few phones on the Snapdragon 801 chipset to get this upgrade. Fairphone are doing a good job in difficult circumstances and means security updates should be theoretically available for much longer now.
This update will be the second major update to the Fairphone 2, but it will also mean that Fairphone is one of the few manufacturers on the market that released an update to Android 7 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset. Our work on this update will be publicly available and could, in theory, be adapted to the same chipset on other phones.
Well, that’s absolutely good news; well done Fairphone!
Still this doesn’t change my original statement. Even more: if (hypothetically speaking) FP2 would have been an Android One device, it would have had at least those two OS-updates, and even much earlier, without all the software development done now by FP.
Anyway: it looks like FP has indeed learned a lot of the FP1 software disaster and is on the right track. Which is good news, very good news indeed!
What they - as I see it - have learned as well,is not to raise hopes, they might not be able to meet. I really consider it a wise decision to have stuck to “let’s see what can be done” until they could be sure that “Nougat” will become reality.
I do not fully agree with that statement, as I really have the impression, that Fairphone has put no less effort in updating or even upgrading the FP1. The obstacles, they were up against, simply could not be overcome with reasonable effort (i.e. not risking to loose the company).
Because of the learnings of the FP1, a more mainstream and open SoC (Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Codeaurora project) was choosen for the FP2. But yeah, Fairphone did what was in their hands trying to update the software of the FP1 to Android 4.4 —a phone they didn’t sell at that time, with a SoC whose vendor is known for closeness, Mediatek. I fully agree with you, @BertG
The FP1 is from a time where Android phones received less often feature updates. It was also a learning experience for a fresh, small company with a unique goal.
I don’t expect feature updates from vendors of phones.
I expect security and reliability fixes.
What I expect is a patch for e.g. Heartbleed.
What I expect is a fix for remote holes in webview/chrome embedded.
What I expect is a fix for Stagefright.
What I expect is a fix for random reboots caused by software or hardware (I don’t care why it happens; fix it).
What I don’t expect but appreciate is when the software is more friendly to the battery such as e.g. Android 7’s Doze.
The concern not wanting to rely on Google is warranted (though no need for childish mentions such as Micro$oft etc) however why rely on Android in the first place. Those are long term concerns. What matters is that the OOB experience is valuable to the general customer while possible to deviate. Which is currently possible: installation of Fairphone Open OS, ability to (relatively easily) flash all kind of other OSes such as LOS and Ubuntu. But if your concern is not wanting to rely on Google, then I wouldn’t want to use any Android derived work either. Which is why it makes sense the Russians go for SailfishOS instead.
Everyone will have their own OS preference.
And not everyone has the knowledge to flash their phones.
There should be an option in the shop, to choose which supported OS we prefer (Android, FairPhone Open, LineageOS, Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish).
The factory should make few phones with each OS, so when a new customer choose a certain OS, it’s available at the warehouse for immediate shipping.
This idea is as old as the Open OS, but unfortunately it won’t work unless FP drops G%§$e altogether - which they won’t, because FP OS is still the most used OS on Fairphones.
G%§$e simply won’t allow it.