FP is definifely neither sustainable nor fair!


As part of a reply to a question concerning a fail-function of my FP1 I received from a member of the support team this information:

“software development has priority in finishing the software for Fairphone 2”

And no solution for my concern…

This very disappointing!
I bought the FP1 with the intention to have a SUSTAINABLE phone. Now it turns out, that the FP1 it not more sustainable than phones from Samsung and others - and worst: LESS sustainable!
Sustainability of hardware in first instance is a matter of being able to update it with up to date software to use this hardware as long as possible instead of buying an new hardware each two or three years and making the old hardware to e-waste. This is given for Samsung and many others, for example based on cyanogenmod.
For the FP1 this is NOT given - and there is no working cyanogenmod-solution due to the few users of FP1 compared with the number of users of other phones.
Giving priority to a new hardware (FP2) means, to offend against the principles of sustainability.
So, my conclusion is:
I will try to sell my FP1 and buy a Samsung or HTC or whatever - a phone with a lot of users and therefore with a much better guaranty for working SW-upgrades (in the minimum based on cyanogenmod). And in no case a FP2 with still not so many users and a quite high price.
But I am afraid, that it will be very hard to sell an old FP1 with an outdated Android and facing the upcoming FP2.
So: My FP1 will end as e-waste - like all other phones and therefore also becoming a very unfair phone!

That’s frustrating.


Hi Hans Peter,

I understand your frustration as a fellow FP owner. However to offer you long term support on Fairphone 1 (we are doing our utmost best to support this phone in any way we can - but are sometimes limited by the fact that the starting point we had back then makes this not always easy). But right now - personally - I’m quite stressed about getting everything ready on time to deliver FP2. Getting FP2 shipped to the market will also enable us to get additional income (as we have been without a selling phone for quite a bit) - if we would not focus here and purely focus on FP1 - we’d go bankrupt and the situation would be even worse - as their would not even be a customer support agent to support you anymore…

I’m in no way replying to diminish your post and I’m sorry that for now we lost your support :frowning:

but just wanted to give an additional insight into some of the decisions we make.

This is a personal reply by the way - so please do not see it as a company reply - my 2cents as a fellow community member :smile:


It is not clear to me what your problem is. Are you really blaming FP for having a small user-community? This is not the fault of FP, but something you knew when you bought FP1. Or are you blaming FP for not giving you immediate support regarding software development? FP is a start-up with limited (support) capcity, you knew that when you ordered your FP. Also your are making a comparison on something that neither FP nor HTC, Samsung or others can take blame or credit for: the activity of FOSS-developers for alternative operating systems.

You probably didn’t knew that it would be technically impossible to port CM. Neither did FP, I guess. But this was something FP never promised either. Either way, the whole discussion on the Mediatek chipset is extremely old. This blogpost however, should give you and others a lot of hope! But I am sure your read that, didn’t you?


Have you tried here? :wink:


Hi Marco,
thank you for your reply!
I understand the commercial issues well - and this issues show the limits of a sustainable economy. And FP (as a very small player in the market) cannot change them, of course!
If it turns out, that the starting point of the FP1 makes this not always easy to support FP1 for several years and that a completely new designed FP2 is the only chance to survive with much more additional customers than it might be a better choice to make a recall of the FP1 and offer a fair deal to exchange it for a FP2. By that you can give up to invest - in parallel to the support of the FP2 - a lot of energy in the support of FP1 without any chance that the FP1 (due to the given limitations) will become a still attractive phone.
Reading https://www.fairphone.com/2015/09/16/long-term-software-support-fairphone-1/ I see, how troublesome it is to find the right way for the future support out of so many still existing alternatives (upgrading to a more recent Android version on one hand and replacing the Android software by alternative operating systems (Ubuntu OS/Firefox OS/Sailfish OS) not being very “handsome” for non-nerds on the other hand).
So: Why not, as a small company, focussing on the development and support of ONE phone (= FP2) and making a fair exchange-offer (FP1 => FP2) for all FP1-user?


Two of Fairphones main aims are to show that it is feasible to build a phone that needs as few conflict materials as possible and that a sustainable smartphone market is possible. Following Fairphone’s own statement ‘The fairest phone is the one you already own’, I do not believe it would be a plausible action by Fairphone to encourage people to dump their FP1 for a FP2. That’d be just right the opposite of sustainability.

Quite honestly I don’t understand what you’re saying here :confused:



even samsung and htc will not give you a guarantet update service for a longer time as they build a newer phone.
Sometimes they give an OS-Update to a few of the older high-end phones.

but remember that the FP1 isn’t a high-end phone and does also not cost that much.


I’m sorry that you got disappointed by Fairphone and its online support. If you don’t want to spend time on fixing your problems yourself, I’d really follow @DjDas’s suggestion and offer your phone at the unofficial second hand market place here on the forum:

There are a lot of people, who would be happy to own a Fairphone 1.


I doubt FP have the financial capacity to facilitate this. It’s also unnecessary. With the recent developments in licensing, FP is capable of maintaining the FP1 codebase in-house, guaranteeing the possibility of prolonged support. The focus on FP2 sounds like a temporary thing, considering its imminent release. FP is a relatively small company.


Hi Hans-Peter,

so you thought you could buy fairness with a few hundred Euro? Well sorry, but life just ain’t that easy. What FP is attempting to do is a massive task. It is fighting for justice on several fronts at once. The most important of these is supply chain transparency and fairness to workers, an area in which it has not only made great strides, but is beginning to drag the industry along with it http://positivenews.org.uk/2015/economics_innovation/technology/18555/fairphone-2-user-repairable-keep-companys-ethical-edge/

Another issue that a lot of us care about is being able to run our phones using Free Software http://www.fsf.org/. This is not because we are ‘nerds’, but because we care about removing our technology from corporate control and allowing developers the freedom to deliver the best possible software. Personally, I think that this is essential if we are to conquer the sustainability problem.

I share your frustration that so far little progress has been made on this third goal, but I am also aware of the lesson of history, that change is never won without a struggle and that defeat must often come before victory. Often the struggle for justice involves people sacrificing their lives. Having to buy a new phone seems to me a very small price to pay!

Best wishes,



Hi Marco,
I appreciate your personal response to Hans_Peter. I have been on the forum now and again and it has helped fix a few things and I found FP online support as helpful as they possibly can be.

It is not easy being ethical in this society.

I try to hard to keep my principles regarding how I vote with my Pound. I boycott Amazon, Coca-cola, Nestle, Asda, Tesco just to name a few.

I need a smartphone to conduct business in today’s age but I hate how they are made, disposed of and expected that everyone have one. I was so excited to get the FP1, I have had it about 9 months now. I stand by my original statement, it is not easy being ethical. I know nothing about coding or software development so already I am aware that it will be a bit harder for me to fix anything myself or customize it much. The GPS is wonky, the screen is uber sensitive and even more when charging, it overheats way too easily and the only case I could get for it was an overpriced, chunky piece of 3d printed plastic that slowly chipped away until it no longer fit the phone.

When I first got the phone I was an ambassador for FP! I would bring it up in so many social situations to the point that I would really inpire people to get one. Now when people ask me about it, I feel slightly embarassed that I jumped on the bandwagon too quickly. There is no way I can afford the FP2 at the moment. I actually feel too guilty to sell a buggy smartphone to someone I know.

For now, I am grateful that it is fair in its fabrication even if it has a tempermental personality. It has really taught me a lot of patience, like having a person in your life that you must be very forgiving to.
You weren’t going to get it perfect the first time around and I feel naive for thinking so. I believed it would be FairPhonetopia! I feel silly.

I think it would be fair to offer a reduction in the price of a FP2 if you trade in FP1. It just seems to make sense. It would make being ethical slightly easier for me.


Trade in FP1 and get FP2 cheaper

Samsung has left me alone with updates after 1 year of selling their phone. First 6 months were many (mainly bug fixes), then 6 months nothing and then the last update. I don’t find this “sustainable” at all. Fairphone tries much harder with updates in my opinion in the best way they can. And the number of phone users is of course less big compared to Samsung, but Fairphones’ community is quite strong and people find good solutions together I find, so I’m happy to have this forum here.

Of course, it is nice having Cyanogenmod for the phone - but it is not essential. Many things can be achieved with FP OS plus some tools which work well because you got root for your phone - unlike other phone OS. Maybe after FP staff got clear with FP2 they find a solution for futher OS development. For the moment I’m pretty happy with what I have got.


I understand your frustration. I am currently in two-minds about the FP2. After selling off my FP1 due to its rubbish GPS I purchase a Sony phone that is much better than the FP2 in many ways. However I felt guilty about it and have preordered a FP2. Not sure I actually want it: we are nearly a month to its delivery and have had no demo whatsoever of the operating system, only one of many worries about it…
You will sell your FP1 for a good price if it’s in a good condition with all of the original packaging and bits. There is a strong market for it and I believe it will become valuable due to it’s rarity (60,000 phones is a drop in the ocean of the mobile phone world.)


You seriously think, trading in a working phone, reflects sustainability?

Right now I am owning my very first smartphone (Samsung). I have never ever received an update from Samsung during its lifetime. It’s 3 and a half years old and by now behaves like a grandmother. I’m looking forward to my pre-ordered FP2.
The technical specs are comparable to a Samsung Galaxy S5. If the FP2 (due to its easy replacable parts) will only last me 50% longer than the Samsung would have, it would come out the same price. If it only lasts 25% longer, in the end I will have paid like 80€ or so for a FAIR phone. That is worth it for me.

PS: @Miss_Popularity @Hans_Peter_Korn: Did you ever read this report about fairness of electronics companies?


That is literally the polar opposite of what Fairphone is trying to achieve. They want you to keep your phone for longer, not encourage you to get rid of it earlier.


If you really want to support this - than offering a FP2 is the opposite of it!
The intention of the FP1 was:

Müllvermeidung durch Haltbarkeit, lange Wartung, günstige Reparaturmöglichkeit, Dual-SIM-Fähigkeit und Recycling-Programm.

Offering a FP2 will enforce the creation waste by throwing away the old FP1 - as long as you don’t offer an attractive recycling- or reuse- programm for FP1s which are exchanged with a FP2.


Yes, I have a FP1 and yes I have bought a FP2. But my FP1 isn’t going to waste.
I have a new user for my FP1, to whom the gps is less important.
And I think there are many other users of a FP1 that will not throw their FP1 away when buying a FP2. Because that wouldn’t be fair.
Also there is a demand for used FP1’s. So there’s no need for a FP1 to go to waste.


This would imply that you can only ever make a single model of phone, or you only sell a model of a phone every so many years (with a gap in between). In essence you’re condemning all older phones as waste the moment a new model comes out. The energy waste of taking a working device out of use to replace it by a new device (even considering recycling) would be massive. You’d want the old model to be near end-of-life before even considering doing that.

In practise, for most users, the FP1 is nowhere near end of life. Some users have devices that are less than a year old. It doesn’t make sense to recall them en masse at this point in time, as that would be wasteful.
I’ve not expected the producer of my previous phone to offer me an exchange the moment they released a new model, and I’m not expecting Fairphone to do this either.*
What I do expect, is that they help prolong the useful life by offering security updates and selling spare parts (especially batteries - which is admittedly patchy). Fairphone is showing commitment to maintaining the FP1 by getting the software licenses in place. Not everything can be fixed immediately, and so far they’ve been faster than most in patching security problems.
If I do decide that the functions that the device had when I purchased it no longer fit my needs, then there’s the option of handing it down to someone who is content with the functionality it offers. If the phone is truly broken, Fairphone does offer a recycling programme.

*The only situation in which I would expect this, is if I lease a device and have terms in my contract about update frequencies.


Yes, I know http://www.rankabrand.org/static/electronics-green-fair-ranking-report-2014.pdf - and see, that Apple together with Nokia is better than all other “big payers” and on the second place behind FP … and at the same time I see in http://www.srf.ch/play/tv/dok/video/apple---nichts-als-leere-versprechen?id=72f5f02c-aa9d-4abf-8076-ab4483bf27c2 the real situation at the suppliers of Apple … and how difficult it is to guaranty, that for example tin comes from a fair mine. And a small company like FP cannot guarantee all this as it was checked by three reporters masked as workers during several months.
So: The intention of FP is noble - but I doubt that it can put to work even for a small amount.

So, IMHO, it is much easier to support sustainability to stop throwing away electronics by supporting them by ongoing SW-upgrades.

So: Throwing away a 3 and a half years old Samsung and buying a FP2 is exactly the opposite of it!

I own a Samsung tablet and I am very happy with it. And I appreciate NOT to have to do an update of the OS each half year … as it was necessary for my FP1.

If your Samsung behaves like a grandmother you can have a look at http://samsung.youmobile.org/ for an update of the OS or install CyanogenMod.
Both are chances to enlarge the sustainability by avoiding e-waste.
To buy a FP2 instead of an existing Samsung is the opposite.


YES! So: Avoid the development of new phones (and also cars, buildings, …) as long and possible and try to enhance the existing things as long as possible!
Therefore ideas like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonebloks and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Ara are good contributions to sustainability!