Fairphone 3 specification speculation & leaks

The following is related to this topic of discussion only in that I’m interested in the financial success of the FP3. Basically it’s a meandering reflection on how consumer trends, product placing and brand image could affect future market share. I want Fairphone to do well and I want their consumer base to grow. I’m getting increasingly exited about their new product release as the clock ticks down.

Frandroid ran an exclusive on the future fairphone back in May 2017. This is already discussed on this forum here: Fairphone 3 - Interview of Bas from FrAndroid. It’s no longer a relevant discussion topic, because we’ve had more recent news about the Fairphone 3 since then. However, I found the comments at the end of the original web article to be just as revealing as the web article itself. They got quite toxic. Fairphone was accused of ‘greenwashing’. I don’t think this is fair. Some commenters defended Fairphone’s efforts to create an ethically responsible smartphone. Those that defended Fairphone did so staunchly. The company has an unshakably loyal base, and that’s really something. You could say they are die-hard fans. Those that denigrated it were more reflective of perhaps some of the websites more regular reader base, or at least those that find the time to post comments on gadget websites. Their main argument was that Fairphone’s only sales argument was ethical responsibility. To be reductive, this didn’t interest them. One guy said that if Fairphone met him half way by releasing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6xxx series processor instead of the proposed 4xxx series, then he would be prepared to buy into it. Low and behold, we now more or less know that Fairphone is releasing a 6xxx processor. It should come as no surprise that Fairphone pays attention to media comments and market trends. They released survey results of their biggest customer fan-base profile themselves. They are on top of their game.

So how do you satisfy customers’ wants and still stay loyal to your own ideals? I don’t have the answer myself. The mainstream market trend is for slim, aesthetically pleasing and submersible smartphones. Wireless and button-less is also an increasing trend. Big companies set the trend to some extent and have very powerful marketing machines. The kind of device you display on your desk could suggest for instance that you are successful, professional and artistic. That’s important for some people. The manufactures themselves might think different[ly] to their customers of course. I’m not naming any names! Then there are so-called rugged phones, that seem to revel in their own ugliness. For sporty and adventurous people I suppose. What does that make ethically and ecologically responsible products? Boring? For boring people? But there’s another category, albeit a niche category: industrial electronics. For businesses. Companies pay a premium for products that are built to last and have good client support. The only product example I can think of now is Compulab, but there are lots of them, and businesses know about them. And I’m sure Fairphone knows about this market sector.

But for the rest, those manufacturers that don’t set the trends, I’m sure it must be frustrating have to follow customer trends and stay afloat. I’m sure some of them have concluded that customers are idiots. I imagine their engineers are more than capable of making superbly built products but then either not enough people would buy them, or else they wouldn’t upgrade them as often because they wouldn’t need to. Maybe they make two very different product categories for business and consumer clients.

Anyway, whatever Fairphone does, I’m pretty sure they know better than I do what they’re doing. The next product looks like it won’t have top-tier processor. Their loyal customer base aren’t as susceptible to marketing ‘gimmicks’ as are other consumers, as one commenter here so accurately put it. I’m bracing myself to have some of my expectations dashed when their product is revealed, but I’m willing to compromise. They’re worth it. The FP3 will not be a flagship phone aimed at an elitist consumer base. It might well put more Fairphones in peoples’ hands though. A lot will depend on how gadget websites receive it too of course. Maybe Fairphone will send samples for reviewing to some of the better ones.


I have concluded just that some time ago. They really are - and that’s why there must be market regulations just for the sake of not drowning in our own - pardon - crap.

Very well written, I agree. The best thing is, its not about being the owner of a flashing flagship phone.
You don’t buy a phone, you buy into the fairphone vision of a better world.

You invest in world changing values.


I agree for the ethical “low tech” aspect, however wouldn’t a higher-end processor, RAM and other specs make the Fairphone last longer, future-proof, thus being a more sustainable option?

I have had three different core modules (because of different issues covered by the guarantee) since I first got my FP2 in January 2016, and it still gets slower and slower with time (despite hard resets)… Would it be because of software updates? Anyway, remember Snapdragon 801 and 2 GB of RAM were already slightly outdated, not to mention Android 5, when it was finally released in December 2015…

A few examples of the consequences on my FP2:

  • My pictures sometimes take up to 10 seconds to be taken (yes, ten seconds, and without the retarding option)…
  • Sometimes simple HD videos recording make my phone to crash, ruining the recording…
  • Updating apps through WiFi make the phone get veeeery slow…
  • Some apps like the simple Ecosia browser too often either freeze or crash, make it suddenly reboot or get really slow as well…
  • It’s frequently impossible for me to simply answer a phone call because the screen can’t even display the answering options (or freeze or stays black)…
  • Same for turning the screen on or off, I often have to wait for several seconds…
  • It seems I don’t receive some of the SMS people send me…

And I haven’t even mentioned the other modules’ issues which will probably be solved with FP3:

  • way too small battery capacity,
  • average cameras despite the upgrade (I hope for good ones from the start with FP3, not having to buy upgrades to have decent ones but instead much higher-end cameras would be appreciable),
  • too slow charging (fast charging and USB-C will probably be implemented on FP3),
  • malfunctioning/fragile modules (I hope they’ll have been more tested before release, in order not to have for example a dying-microphone-like issue)…

… etc, etc… If this was not Fairphone, I would call it planned obsolescence!

That’s why I really hope for a very good processor, RAM and graphic capabilities for FP3, as well as pure Android interface to have the updates ASAP. And even though I hesitate for social and ecological reasons (as Fairphone, despite being probably the best in this industry, is far from being 100% Fair and sadly cannot really be Green), after almost 4 years of hustle and stress with my never-really-fully-working-FP2, I think I might upgrade for FP3 because I definitely can’t wait for FP4 with my FP2 in good conditions of use… Let’s hope FP3 will be more stable and trustworthy…

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The SD 600 series is mid-range. Mid-range phones are “good enough” and affordable. High-end phones are better, but it is more difficult to afford and the difference isn’t worth it.

The PC industry has suffered from this problem the last 10 years or so. And because of its modularity you can replace a monitor if it dies.

The smartphone (and other gadget and mobile device) industry has figured that you want your products to eventually be not reliable anymore. Then the customer comes back.

A way to solve the issue, is a service oriented market. After I wrote that last sentence, I realize it is something Fairphone is going to go after. Not before (I forgotten about it).

A few more words about the mid-range phone. Yesterdays high-end smartphones are today’s mid-rangers (I’d est. it at 2 years). A mid-range smartphone gives a good bang for a buck and is good enough. Certain features are common nowadays on smartphones.

  1. The fingerprint reader, for example, is very common on mid-range phones. So it should have that (you can just not use it). Legally, it comes with a downside. You can be forced by law enforcement to use your finger to unlock your phone. So either you want a way to quickly disable the feature, or you want to use it as 2nd factor besides PIN, or you have nothing to hide from law enforcement (even though your device contains SO MUCH personal information) and are clairvoyant about such and take precautions to use a burner if you go e.g. to China or Russia or USA.

  2. NFC, is getting more common these days on smartphones. The Dutch government is phasing out the OV Chipcard (for public transport) in 2023. Not sure what is going to be the replacement it could be a bank card or a smartphone (either with NFC). So you want a device with NFC, be it a smartwatch or a smartphone. Furthermore, if you consider DigiD they also are able to verify your identity via NFC plus your passport.

  3. Another feature a mid-range smartphone has, is a decent camera. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as the high-end. Its reasonable people play a game on a smartphone, it is reasonable they have some browser tabs open, which warrants a mid-range smartphone.

Going for a high-end smartphone with sublime quality, and making it fair, is going to make the product too expensive. Volume decreases, the sweet spot is lower. A low-end smartphone would compete with FP2 too much. After 4 years you want the successor to be a reasonable upgrade. So a mid-range smartphone makes sense, and perhaps in 5 years a low-end smartphone produced for the masses with fair tag, is a possibility. However the beauty of a service-based smartphone is that it is guaranteed to work well, and if you want to stop with the product you stop with the contract. So if after 2 years you feel like you wanna swap to something else, your hand-me-down is going to find a new host. Because the service provider will take care of that. The only thing left to discuss, is the price of such. Theoretically, I believe a service-based economy is a way forward, see for example this TED talk about the circular economy by Thomas Rau.


7 posts were split to a new topic: Camera taking between 1 and 10 seconds to be taken

More …hm… pictures


Great! Thanks. Originally the photos are from nl.hardware.info - And in my opinion the photos there are sharper than on winfuture. But see for yourselves: [EDIT2 - The site has been taken down :frowning:]

EDIT: USB-C it is :slight_smile:


That looks like USB-C. Connector isn’t in the middle of the smartphone though. Bit odd.

What is this on the side here on the bottom? Looks like USB-C as well, but it is a speaker?

Other pictures show ‘normal’ philips screws. They seem larger?

Battery is certainly larger than FP2’s. Bezel size is small, screen to phone ratio higher. Basically following the trends.

Dual SIM visually confirmed based on pictures.

MicroSD visually confirmed based on pictures.

Also, easier to open the case, (see picture) so I suppose cases will last longer.

EDIT: Also the case is round on the back as well as the corners. That is nice for laying in the hand.

EDIT: One peculiar thing is that the hardware buttons are on the left side of the button.


We’ve seen (from Fairphone’s “Impact Report” that labeled it the best selling module or something like that :wink: ) that the bottom module was the faultiest module of the three “small” FP2 modules, from my impression mostly due to microphone failure. Maybe the visibly bigger distance between microphone and USB port in the FP3 helps to reduce the risk of mutual damage?


By the way, let’s welcome the return of “Designed to open” on the case! :slight_smile:


It doesn’t look waterproof to me :frowning:
But, it still might be :optimistic: :wink:

Seriously though if it’s not waterproof I think that’s a missed opportunity.

“Zuvor wurde bereits bekannt, dass in dem neuen, erneut modular gestalteten Smartphone ein Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octacore-SoC mit bis zu 2,2 Gigahertz Taktrate seinen Dienst tun wird.”

Should roughly translate to …

“It was leaked earlier that a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octacore-SoC with up to 2.2 Ghz will be used in the new, once again modularly designed smartphone”.


It’s “designed to open” and there are holes and small gaps everywhere … not a big “if” in my opinion.
But … somebody invented waterproof smartphone bags you can put any phone into and still use it.


I’m mainly wondering, if they already plan to quickly move to Android Q. Would be nice, if we got a moderately fast update :slight_smile:

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Yes, but that was the same source as before, and these fellow just got the pictures from another source (nl.hardware.info).

I mean, don’t get me wrong I hope they’re right (though OTOH, nothing is free). We just haven’t seen any proof of which SoC it is going to be. For me it points to the 632 thus far, but I think also RSpliet made a good point that some features on SoCs can be disabled or enabled based on what the manufacturer pays.

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Depending on which detail you are referring to, to me that right thingmebob looks like a little notch to put your fingernail under should you wish to pry open the case. To the left of that could either be a speaker or a little loop allowing you to attach a lanyard or similar to your phone. Let’s look at this photo:

You can see that behind that loopy thing there’s a square (shielded) bit of electronics. Could well be the speaker, especially since the back cover no longer has the two holes that the FP2 had for its speaker.


Yes, I agree that it doesn’t look waterproof, which is why I said it doesn’t :wink: I should have said water-resistant though, as it’s an important distinction.
However, just because it doesn’t look water-resistant doesn’t mean that it’s not. For example, my wife’s Moto G3 is water-resistant and has a removable back cover for putting the SIM card and SD card in, has 3.5mm and micro-USB ports as well, plus speakers. The only major difference with those photos of the FP3 is that the FP3 has a removable battery and is designed to be disassembled.
We just have to wait and see, not long now!
Cheers :slight_smile:

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FWIW, for whatever reason the Hardware.info source has been taken down. The Winfuture.de one (as already linked before by d2w) still works.

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Circular Economy by Thomas Rau:

One guy talking for twenty minutes at a TED conference. I have limited mental resources and my attention span was never good. I had to work myself up to watching it.

Then I started watching it. His anecdotes made me smile. His accent in English is cute. Enormously entertaining. I went on to watch ‘The End of Ownership’ by the same guy afterwards.

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