Fairphone 4 better for money and environment?

Hi all,

I have a question: wouldn’t it be a better way to release a Fairphone 4 within the next time? Because I calculate with 5 years lifetime of my Fairphone 3. The deal for new costumers: the benefit for money and the environment is great in the first year (2019), good in the second (2020) and so on. but when we are in the fourth year (2023) of life you spend 400€ for a phone which will probably live just one year. That is bad for money and environment.
In my opinion it is better to release every two years a new phone so all costumers have 3 to 5 years SW support.
What do you think about it?


I agree !

With the condition that there would be an incentive to keep your 2 years-old phone longer when a new model comes out, like new camera modules after two years instead of after only one year…

And then be tempted by the shiny new device with all new options…

I think Fairphone costumers are not that way.

But okay what if I would be that way. I would buy a new FP4 and sell my FP3 on eBay and another guy can use it or I give it as gift to my parents. It is just a problem if I throw it away.


Might come as you think :wink:

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New phone every 2 years and Software support for 3 to 5 years? What is the differences between this FP and Samsung or ant other Android producer. They provide better hardware at lower price with the same software support.

FP lives in a nich with its “particular” customers. We shound’t think like FP is like anyother companies because less of fair tech, sustainability means produce less and use more; on the contrary it has no reason to continue in this “pioneering” path.


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Fair trade for the miners and manufactures, this is not just any other phone, this is the Fairer Phone


My opinion is we do not really a new smartphone every two years, even 5 years should be ok provided the software is updated.
Please remind the more you release a new model, the more you spend natural resources, workforce, money and so on.
Being able to buy spare parts is a great way to extend the life of our material.


No quite newer phones do not use more resources, they often uses smaller chips etc. It’s just the technology is evolving. The resources are going to get used, that’s the nature of the demand, which phone doesn’t matter. Sure we may run out of wood and find coal then uranium but it isn’t going to stop.

A new FP4 won’t use more resources than making another FP3

Yes spare parts are great but the cost of continually making them is not profitable business especially for a small company. Also note that newer versions of old hardware are often cheaper.

I bought an early digital camera in 1996, the Olympus 800CL for £800 it had 810Kpx,

prices drop with newer models.

My 12" laptop was £2400 with a 2x33MHz processor and 32Mb ram, 1.2Gb HD

I fear not everybody got my point.
If I buy a new phone I expect a four year SW support, better five years. So I wouldn’t buy a Fairphone 3 in 2021 because I get just 3 years.
But if there is a Fairphone 4 in parallel I get my 4 or 5 years support.
So the phone of my wife will lose support within the next one or two years and we want a long term solution. But if there is no new Fairphone 4 we have to buy a Pixel which gives us 5 more years. In my opinion it is not a good choice for the environment to buy a Fairphone (or any other phone) at the end of life periode. Every phone needs the chance to be used 4 to 5 years.


100% agree @Deckard1984
To be fair to more customers, the release of new hardware garantee the customer five year software support if a FP4 would be available yet. The release of FP3 was two years ago and will probably get another three years support, maybe longer. But for a customer who needs now a replacement, it is the most sustainable way to buy a fair product with long support. And that would be a FP4.
ImO it need to be seen from this perspective.
If one already have a FP2/3 and is happy with it, there is no reason to switch to a FP4. I even think it is selfish to think the FP2/3 is adequate to me, it should be for others too.


It is a bit off-topic, but it comes to my mind when reading this:

When the FP3+ (!) was released one year ago, they mentioned on the website that the FP3+ will get 5 years of software support from 2020 on.

Some weeks later Fairphone changed the text on the website, mentioning that the 5-year-support is counted from 2019 on, when the original FP3 was released - not from 2020 when the FP3+ was released.

But I guess many people bought the FP3+ in 2020 based on the statement it will be supported until 2025 - which maybe was just a misunderstanding.
This has been discussed on the forum already, but can not find the thread anymore.

I agree with everything else. Buying a phone which was released two or three years ago would be fine for many people, regarding the technical specifications of the phone.
But it will not be fine when the support ends soon after buying.

The lifetime of a smartphone nowadays is mostly not limited by the hardware or processing power, but mostly by software support.
Fairphone can make the difference by supporting as long as possible. But non-fair companies are going to catch up; Samsung offers 4 years support now for most of their phones.


Agree :slight_smile: This should be the “unwritten law”.

So, the point is “who and why someone should buy a FP4?”

  1. new users attract by Fair Made
  2. unsatisfied FP3 users
  3. FP2 users
  4. satisfied users that desire new hardware

Just a short analysis now, made in prospective of sustainability:

  • category 1: new users for FP, that’s good.
  • categort 2: I think this users should fix their own problem before decide to make a switch (from sustainability point of view)
  • categort 3: the lifecycle of FP2 is almost finished (more or less, it depens on the needs)
  • category 4: bad choice from sustainability point of view

Just some more thoughts … Should be better:

  • make some new module?
  • design new sort of device? (tablet/laptop)

or make new phone after 2 years?


You’re welcome to add other category (and argue of course)


No that’s good I’m happy to be bad (cat 4) as I don’t really need a phone at all, but I always question someone who touts sustainability as way to go.

What is it you are so keen on sustaining, 1. your will power, 2. your comforts, 3. your planet, 4. fair trade

So in my cats (1 and 4)

Thank your for the sumup :slight_smile:

For years I was 1 (bad - my cat 4), I used to switched from top-range to another every 1/2 years without feeling much specs improvements.

I choiced FP to get out from this tech-rush. Now I’m first 2 then 3-4.

Why did you choice FP?

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I don’t see a problem in any cats, if you sell or give as gift to others. We are running into problems if you throw the old one away or keep it unused at home. But in every other case it is okay.


Yes that would be my idea as well. But unfortunately my Fairphone 3 has crashed 2 times in one and a half year and I am not a heavy user!. I have just send it again to the provider. ( My telephone switches itself off and I can not get it to work again) They told me that I am not the only one with big problems with Fairphone I hope that - after this reparation-it will last me for some time. But if it crashes again I am going to buy a samsung! 400 euro for 2 years of use with 2 major crashes is not fair is it!

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A daughter is a human rights lawyer and was considering one. I was a bit nervous about the quality in terms of look, specs and support so I bought one to see what it was like. I had wanted a new phone as my old Samsung Alpha didn’t have wifi calling or an SD slot etc etc. ~~ and I had/have no network where I work and reside which was an issue with the covid lockdowns.

Anyway I bought the one for my daughter to test and thought it was good enough, it works, then thought I’d keep it and buy another for my daughter.

If the FP4 comes out I will probably buy it for my daughter knowing there’s a spare FP3 around.

Fairtrade was and still is the guiding light for consuming, not specs or looks.

I’m well past my support days, age old specs, a bit rough around the edges, definitely not what you want see see hanging around with on the dance floor, but I like to think I can be fair.

I think people would also be more likely to buy a phone that’s just 1-2 years old, as opposed to the present situation with Fairphone. While there are only a couple years between the first- and second-generation Fairphones, but as you said in your post, the Fairphone 3 is four years old. Sure, they released the Fairphone 3+last year, but it’s just a Fairphone 3 with a better camera and better audio. Plus, what if someone wants to buy their first Fairphone and the current one has been out for 3-4 years? They’re not going to want to get an older phone. They might get a placeholder phone and keep it either until it can’t get OS updates or until Fairphone finally releases a new model, which isn’t exactly the goal of Fairphone. I mean, isn’t one of the goals of Fairphone to minimize the number of phones going to landfills? How does that work when someone has to buy a placeholder phone just so they can have a newer phone until a new Fairphone is released? A four- or five-year release cycle works fine once everybody who will ever buy a Fairphone has bought one, but that also doesn’t take into account new generations of customers who might want to get a Fairphone but are reluctant because the then-current phone is kinda old.

I realize that the reason for this four-year gap might be to get people used to not getting a new phone every year or two, but as I said earlier, waiting four years between releases isn’t going to get a lot of new buyers. I’ve been waiting to buy one for a few years (I live in the US), but I want it for a few reasons. A lot of folks might only be interested in Fairphone because it’s pretty much the last phone which still has a headphone jack and a removable battery. Those are fine reasons, but there are other reasons, like upgradability and Fairphone’s commitment to making phones which can run the latest OS as long as possible - hence their calling out Qualcomm for not providing binary blobs for more than a couple years, or at least providing the source code after that time. I’m not sure if the reason Qualcomm doesn’t provide binary blobs for more than a couple years is because they don’t want to invest resources, or if they’re worried about releasing trade secrets, or if they want to make people more likely to buy a new phone sooner. If it’s the first two, I don’t see why they couldn’t just license the code - either for free or for a price - to phone vendors who are interested in such a thing. Granted Fairphone, would probably be the only vendor which would be interested in licensing the source code, but at least it would be a step in the right direction. Fairphone could compile the drivers for the then-current version of Android and they could even make those binary blobs available to other Android derivatives. Sure, other Android forks would be getting blobs rather than source code, but at least would be a step in the right direction. RMS wouldn’t be happy about it, but it’s probably the only way to convince the vendor to part with the source code, short of the EU requiring chip vendors -or at least SoC vendors - to provide source code at some point.


Not quite 2 years yet :slight_smile:

The goal maybe to encourage people to think about it which may bring about some reduction, which I am sure Fairphone are achieving. There can’t be a goal to minimise as that would reduce to nothing.

No one needs to buy a phone or a placeholder so they can have a newer phone, they can wait. It’s not Fairphone job to persuade people not buy other phones but to provide alternatives, which they do.

The emphasis is more on what the individual wants rather than what Fairphone provides. All the arguments would still exist if there was no Fairphone. There are phones with phone plugs and removable batteries replaceable modules etc that you can buy in the USA and some that have taken a step towards being Fair to the miners and manufactures, so Fairphone is not such a big deal.

The discussions are great but if someone wants a phone they will buy one depending upon what is attractive. The only thing about Fairphone that is is the Fairtrade aspect to me, the rest I can get otherwise.


That’s great! Totally agree :slight_smile:

My brother and friends laughed the first time they have been seen my old fashioned FP3, but day by day (and after a bit knowledge of Fairphone) they started to look at this little brick with a friendly smile. “I’m the guy with a Eco/Fair-Phone” XD