FP Leak: New Fairphone will run Android?

Oops, apparently it was not on fairphone.com but from press (heise.de, English version available):

According to CTO Olivier Hebert, talks with potential partners have started, but he didn’t give any details. The phone will come with Google’s apps (e.g. Play Store) installed, but Fairphone also wants to provide a naked version of Android without these apps.

My guess is they have more information from a press event or a press kit. Could still be bogus though.

Edit: Found an English translation of the linked article. It sounds like Fairphone CTO Olivier Hebert said that Play Store will be installed.


Yep @ben, we had the announcement yesterday but there should be more news as we roll through the summer and when the shop opens.

We know these questions are important to our community (and potential customers) so we hope to give more information in the coming months.


As you can imagine, i disagree. I think this should not be assessed on one aspect, but the full package. If Fairphone delivers on the promises made towards open source https://www.fairphone.com/projects/creating-a-developer-friendly-software-environment/, then the FP2 will can be seen as more free than the current model.

I think you mix “Google Apps” and “non-free software” in general: The FP1 is full of non free software: Binary blobs for drivers, several apps added or modified by MediaTek… driver support is also not very good.

If these areas can be improved, and supposedly there will be alternative distributions (Firefox, Ubuntu, Cyanogen), would you still say the FP2 is a step back just because it defaults to deliver Google Apps?

I would have liked this as well. But we are not the only potential customers and there may be other reasons for them deciding to use a 5inch display. Maybe we should simply ask for the reasons.

@paulakreuzer Why? If Fairphone delivers an alternative, it would probably similar to the “Vanilla Android” today. An installation would replace the full operating system. No need to fear Google Apps zombies.

And still here i am dragging myself into the same discussions again :wink:


[quote=“ben, post:31, topic:6558”]
If Fairphone delivers on the promises made towards open source
[/quote]FP failed on its promises in past. There is no reason I should assume it’ll be the opposite in the future. So, for now, I base my opinions on facts and not on promises.

[quote=“ben, post:31, topic:6558”]
I think you mix “Google Apps” and “non-free software” in general: The FP1 is full of non free software: Binary blobs for drivers, several apps added or modified by MediaTek… driver support is also not very good.

If these areas can be improved, and supposedly there will be alternative distributions (Firefox, Ubuntu, Cyanogen), would you still say the FP2 is a step back just because it defaults to deliver Google Apps?
[/quote]And I say it’s you who are mixing it. I never said the FP2 in whole is a step backwards. The sack of MTK is certainly a good thing. But my post says:

[quote=“HackAR, post:26, topic:6558”]I see the installed Google Apps Store as a step backwards regarding the goal of an open phone.
[/quote]If you read it carefully, you’ll see it’s about Google Apps Store only.

[quote=“ben, post:31, topic:6558”]
Maybe we should simply ask for the reasons.
[/quote]Maybe it’s they who should tell us, why they’ve made a poll and decided against the outcome?

If you refer to the poll on the forum: this forum is a community forum, not a means of communication between FP and its clients.
Besides, the people on this forum are not the (only) people who would maybe buy a FP2. So maybe there is better information to base such decisions upon, than a poll on a forum…

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The poll was initiated by community members (if it is this one you are talking about) and 75 community members participated. Hardly representative of anything.

And, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, there are probably a dozen reasons for how they designed Fairphone 2. As you say, it would be very interesting indeed to learn their motivation and reasons.


[quote=“danielsjohan, post:33, topic:6558”]
So maybe there is better information to base such decisions upon
[/quote]Maybe. We might never know. Maybe 50000 people mailed FP and told they would by a 550 EUR device. Who knows.

[quote=“jftr, post:34, topic:6558”]
The poll was initiated by community members
[/quote]A moderator to be exact. I’m ok with that, if you argue he’s not a representative of FP and should be seen as a private member only. This would come down to:

Anyway, the discussion about the tech decision on FP2 is not really related to the topic of this thread “New Fairphone will run Android”. It was only a secondary argument, that FP is not as open and transparent as they claim.

Even the moderators are not related to FP. The forum is completely in “our” hands :innocent:


@HackAR Fairphone is not a democracy and user/moderator-created polls on the forum are no binding referendums.
Also there might even be a reason why they didn’t make the FP2 just the way that FP1 users would want it! Fairphone is hoping to sell the FP2 not to people who already have a FP1 (or any working smartphone) but to acquire new customers.

I admit with the flaws that FP1 has they can’t expect that no FP1 user will sit out the FP2 but I’m sure that many people will stick with the FP1 for years to come. :smiley:


[quote=“paulakreuzer, post:37, topic:6558”]
Fairphone is not a democracy
[/quote]Never was. But some people think FP does what people want. And my point (one of many) was to tell them, that’s not what happens here.

You are right, i did not read carefully. Sorry for the misinterpretation! Glad we agree that otherwise it might turn out as an improvement.

What exactly is GoogleApps and why do we need it for?

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Google Apps are:

  • Play Store
  • GMail
  • Google Keyboard
  • Hangouts?

among others. I don’t have them so I don’t know what else is included, except for some (anti)services:

  • Location Provider
  • Sync
  • Voice Input

So it’s nothing you really need. Lots of us are living without google.

Btw: Could someone who knows exactly whats included in gapps/ google services make an entry in our Dictionary? thanks.


Community moderators are not representatives of FP at all… we’re just very enthusiastic community members. Fairphone have allowed us to run these sorts of polls with the understanding that they are ‘just for fun’ and we will not necessarily get a response from FP. Not to say FP doesn’t look at what the community is saying though, they are hearing our voices and they are taking our concerns into account where they see that they can, but also taking the wider context of the market they are trying to reach.

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The most important services is missing:
Google Cloud Messaging.

Others are:
Google Play Services
Malware Check
Swipe functionality for the Keyboard
and in current Android version (5.0): Google Chrome WebView*

  • this updates the WebView used by a wide array of applications automatically and prevents issues with WebView we currently face: Security updates of WebView have been coupled to OS updates until Android 5.0

There are two things to installing Google Apps.

  1. The Apps
  2. Google Play Services

Source: ArsTechnica

ad (1): Not all Google Apps are automatically installed when including GApps in a ROM. I don’t know which ones that are. However if you look at the third column of the picture above, you see the Google Apps that can’t be used without Google stuff installed. (Mind: There are many other apps from third party that also rely on Google Services, e.g. beloved TextSecure)

ad (2): Google Play Services are listed in the second column of the above picture. They are what digs so deep into the operating system. It consists of the proprietary services offered by Google but also items that previously belonged to the open source Android AOSP (column 1) were moved to Play Services. Google did that to be able to update parts of the operating system although many manufacturers don’t update the operating systems on most of the phones.


Looking at that table could be quite dillusionary for People wanting to run Android without Google Play Services. Note though this if for Android M, developer preview. Some things might change, but it is a trend that other have noticed to: Google moves functionality from Android to Play Services and Google Apps.

On example is the Camera, but also the Email client, the AOSP Calendar and the Keyboard in AOSP have not been updated that much. AOSP more and more becomes a basic system targeted at developers and many cool features are left out. Now many wanting to avoid Google might not want or need that functionality, but to me it indicates a shift: AOSP is targeted at developers and system integrators. Most user visible apps are proprietary now. Android at it’s core is still open source, but applications facing the users are increasingly not.

This illustrates why i think and have argued before, if you really want to support a full Open Source OS in the sense of Linux destop distributions, you are better of with Firefox OS, Jolla and Ubuntu. And if you and we other Open Source fans not start using this systems, that might a sign that when it is about Apps, users do not really care about open source. This is why i would prefer users wanting open source fighting for these OSes instead of relying on a platform that only offers a small part of its UX as free software.

Anyways, everybody is free to choose, and i do not think anybody using Google Android as oposed to AOSP is dumb, has not unterstood the industry or anything. It do think thought that increasingly, Google Android is not Open Source Android. And Google Android is what (this is my experience) almost everybody not being a developer expects when a phone is marketed as Android phone.

Yes, you are right, this is the latest listing for the upcoming Android M. Fairphone 2 will be based on Android 5 Lollipop. Some parts are different but the larger picture remains intact.

@ben, please don’t mix up AOSP and the Android which Fairphone users see. AOSP is indeed meant for integrators (Edit: it always has been). For instance it is the base Samsung, Sony, and other smartphone manufacturers use for their versions of Android (also Cyanogenmod or other ROMs are based on it). It is also the base for Fairphone 1. Still, all the Samsung, Sony, and Fairphone smartphones have camera, calendar, etc. The underlying functionality to take pictures is still in Android, only the app is missing. It is just an app that has to be and usually is provided by the manufacturer.

That will also be the case for Fairphone 2 again. If there will be an option with GApps installed, those apps will be from Google. If there will be an option without GApps, then there will be other apps installed.

To summarize, lots of functionality gets moved to Google Play Services. And you are right that in numerous cases users want that functionality. Me, for instance, I do want GMail, Hangouts, Google Maps, Google Now, and whatnot. But Android is still completely usable without Google Services.

Look for instance at Cyanogenmod. They are starting to substitute Google parts with Dropbox, Microsoft products, or stuff from other sources. Or look at all the open source options. You just have to use existing alternatives.

You are right in that AOSP has always been meant for system integrators (and arguably developers). However it included a Email client, Camera, Calendar etc as Open Source. This is more towards my point: Many users complaint that they do not want proprietary Google Apps, but the substitutes are also proprietary. I know that the basic functionality is still there. I also know that AOSP is the base all manufacturers use. But the Camera, the Notesapp, the Email App of all these devices is not released as open source by that manufacturors. The Android we have on the FP contains a range of proprietary Mediatek apps or customisation. The Android License, to my knowledge, allows that.

I also do not think Sony/Fairphone/HTC/Samsung is willing / able to provide alternatives to features like the Malware scanner, Maps API, Text-to-speech engine, System WebView, etc.

I doubt that. I pretty much assume the FP2 with GApps is the same package PLUS Google Apps. I do not think there is any app to be found in the Google free version that is not in the Google Apps version. But i am open for surprises.

I want that functionality to! And i have no problem with Google Play, I am on Android anyway and i would not want to miss that functionality.

You are right that this is always possible. My argument was that it is getting harder.

Not all of them. So far for instance Cyanogenmod has a pretty good track record of providing open source alternatives. But yes, you won’t get Samsung’s or Microsofts proprietary apps open sourced.

I don’t understand that. Can you please explain what you mean.

It is getting harder in the sense that less stuff is included in AOSP and integrators have to look elsewhere. However I have the impression that (since Snowden’s revelations, etc) people are more aware of the issue and there are more efforts come to fruition that help finding alternatives.

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