FP1(U) upgrade: Mainboard with open chipset (+ official Android updates)?

Hey all!

After reading the new blogpost I thought about [quote]“obsolensce” through software[/quote], as @ben commented, and an idea came to me: Wouldn’t it be possible to release a mainboard for the FP1(U) with a different chip, so one would not have to change all the hardware, but only the mainboard, to be able to get the last Android OS (or even alternative OSes)?

I am not a hardware developer, so I don’t know about the details… Do you think it would be possible to design an upgraded mainboard for FP1(U) with an open chip?

And also important: Would you consider buying one, to be able to run updated Android versions (nessecary for Android Wear and Bluetooth LE support)?

I certainly would, after some time, because I would like to keep my First Edition FP as long as possible, but also have the latest software running on it. I don’t think the other hardware parts will be outdated by the time the software support ends.

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That would be somewhat amazing :smiley:
The question is whether somebody (who?) will be able to design a mainboard that will fit the FP body perfectly while carrying completely new hardware (which, in turn, would have to be compatible with existing hardware) .
Getting someone to produce this new mainboard might be a challenge as well:
The demand for this upgrade would probably be even smaller than for the (new?) fairphone.

Ok, I’ll stop being so negative now :wink:
I would definitely get an upgraded mainboard (tomorrow maybe? Pleaaase :smiley:)
In a year’s time from now I think i’d rather have an all round better phone if I were to invest into mobile electronics again…
For me, the software path looks much more promising.


Nice idea @Stefan - however I suspect the FP team will not consider this for the FP1(U) phones. The FP team had been supporting the Phonebloks project (not sure if they are anymore, not heard anything) so maybe it’s something that with come with the FP2

I fear that it won’t be done by the FP team. It would be great to see a professional accessory movement arise, which produces spare parts compatible with FP1(U). (Where are the entrepreneurial do-it-yourselfers??? :))

I get some updates from them through Twitter and they had some contest running to decide on the best “Sound Blok”. Phonebloks though will never be a real phone, but “only” a movement. They are supporting Project Ara.

I hope so! Actually FP should adapt Project Ara’s design standards so parts are exchangeable.


Of course I would buy one! But I fear it’d be too much expensive. Anyway, bulding the FP2, is important to remember the updates matter. As far as I can see it’s one of the most discussed topics in this forum:)


Yes, this should be possible: The (very small) project Neo900 http://neo900.org/ produces such a mainboard for the Nokia N900 phone. However, it is a very small project (only few hundreds boards), so that won’t be mass-production and thus quite pricey.


thanks. I didn’t knew that an open hardware smartphone project already existed… Definitely a way to go for further Fairphone editions…


One could view the mainboard as giant SD card. You know, something with connectors that you insert in a (possibly pretty large) slot. I don’t see anything impossible here.

I suppose that most part of the hardware on fairphone is open source…I mean the design. so it could be possible (always my personal opinion) to ask the guys who assembled the first motherboard to assemble a new one with different SoC (a.k.a. not mediatek) on it. also, I suppose that fairphone team have no legal implication with this modus operandi…
could it be?

I fear, its not so easy because all the components (camera, radio, wifi daughterboard, etc, etc.) are built to work with the Mediatek chipset and also the drivers only work for this specific chip.

You’d have to change practically the whole internals of the FP just to keep its outer design. In this case it would really be more sustainable to buy a new phone, which is designed with better specifications and new implementations of energy consumption and in general more sustainable and efficient.

yes…exactly what I meant! :smile:
of course it would be a big work, but I think it’s a work that worth the fatigue! :blush:
it’s a new type of project ara…if you want to see that way. and it’s something really nice, specially if you’re electronic enthusiast and not afraid to try thousand of different OSs :smile:

maybe just a redesign of the black plastic on the back of the phone could help the migration to the new motherboard and you can keep the battery.
they could also produce it in carbon fiber, or ceramic…

Could you do it? Remember there is only 60.000 FP1(U) out there and the part of hardware developers should be quite tiny…
Also the existing Mediatek chipset is not of bad quality (so it would be a waste of resources just to discard it), it is just (still) closed source. My biggest hope is Mediatek Labs and Mediatek’s promise to work better together with software developers.

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Well, that might be an interesting alternative, provided that it is the MB that breaks, not the screen or anything else, and if a new MB also means a new hardware config allowing for upgrading to fresh Android versions - unless the FP team finds other ways of patching security holes in Jellybean.

I found it is time to revive this topic after 10 months! :wink:

Unfortunately, as you can read above, it is highly unlikely that we’ll have an upgraded main board for the FP1 (and besides it would probably not be very sustainable to upgrade FP1’s hardware).