FP2 Upgradability (the 2GB of memory)

Hi there.

I’m very, very interested in an FP2 so far - but I’m afraid that the premise of keeping it for 3+ years is flawed mostly because of the amount of memory it offers. The specs are okay otherwise, but 2G of memory is mediocre for me even today.

My use cases are limited - a ‘smart phone’ is something to read mails and surf the web for me. I don’t play games or install apps like mad. But I do value a decent amount of memory. My phone’s FF currently has > 20 tabs open.

In short: I wasn’t able to figure out if it might be possible to upgrade the memory some way or another in the future? Any links, definite statements, previous discussions that I missed?

Thanks.

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Nothing was said about this by FairPhone themselves, but I wouldn’t count on it being possible.
Not sure why 2GB would be too little. My FP1 seems to chug along fine with only 1GB.

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Not to mention, sure you’ve got 2GB of RAM but a full 32GB of flash memory, not to mention an SD card slot. So what’re you worrying about?

I explicitly care about RAM (for running stuff), not storage (to store apps or data).
The latter is not a problem, in fact: 32G are more than I ever used on a mobile device and I don’t see that (my usage) changing. Being able to expand that is nice, but again: I won’t need that. Flash memory cannot replace RAM (well, in theory you might be able to swap, but that’d be broken on various levels: While technically possible, let’s just say that nothing extends RAM except for more RAM).

I really, really care about multi-tasking, opening heavy PDF files, potentially opening dozens of web pages. That’s … about all I do on my phone and RAM helps keeping the oom killer at bay and making this a lot snappier.

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May I ask how much ram your current phone has?

Sure thing. My current phone has 3GB. It is the opposite of everything the FP(2) stands for, not repairable and certainly nothing I want to use in 2 years (actually, I don’t want to use it today).

To be absolutely clear: I was using a OnePlus One (3GB) until my wife hijacked that, and I got a company issued S6E (3GB) at that point. The OPO is cool, great, nice. The S6E is so broken, sad and crap… I won’t even begin complaining about it, because that might lead to an endless stream of “Why?? Who would want that??”.

Anyway: Both have 3GB of RAM. A downgrade doesn’t have to be bad, but … I’m basically just asking if I might be able to improve the phone in the future. The OPO is already a year old and the FP2 isn’t ‘really’ out yet. I wonder if I might have better chances to use a phone for 3+ years with an OPO (specs) or FP2 (repairability).

If you look at desktop machines, there are quite a lot of ‘upgrade packs’ available to buy - those might change mainboard/cpu, but often enough look into RAM and SSD/more storage instead, to revive ‘old’ machines.

RAM matters in my world.

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Thanks for putting this topic up for discussion!
The RAM-issue was one of my “ouch” when I first saw the Fairphone 2 specs this summer.
I do, similar to you, use my phone like a multitasking champ. On my old SG3 I right now have 69 Pages open at the same time in Chrome, Flashfox running alongside for flashpages, different office suites to read,write and scroll in large PDFs. All this I use at the same time, jumping back and forth. And this surely needs RAM, RAM that my SG3 doesn’t have enough of already.

You can argue that this behaviour is bad,and that I should learn to use my phone as a phone and a computer for multitasking. But apparently some of us (at least two) are working with our phones like this.

And to get back to the question if this issue will be possible to change by upgrading: The RAM isn’t one of the supported “easy fixes " in the Fairphone 2 (those where you only need a standard screwdriver and a new piece from the shop”. BUT, after I saw the iFixit guide, I got hope that it would be possible to dare to do even internal surgery on the phone. So let’s say that Fairphone starts to ship Fairphones with 4Gb of RAM in 2017, I think (and please correct me if I am totally wrong) that it would be technically possible to get one of these new internal parts (like motherboard) and upgrade our old phones?

Or maybe it is just my positive thinking.

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I think that’s reasonable thinking. I could imagine FP making a poll what to improve (because it’s made to be upgraded) and they might offer it. Though, if it’s only you two interested in more RAM and the rest is interested in a better camera (just for example), you might need to give in to democratics

Ok, not disputing the RAM issue here, lets be clear, but I do like to ask: “why?”

Also, I’m pretty sure your browser unloads a page from memory when it needs to do so and only keeps a reference to the URL in memory. Once the tab is opened again, the whole page is retrieved from the server again.

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First of all, there are two questions on the table I think:

1 Is it technically possible to upgrade the RAM in FP 2 at a later point. And the answer should be: Yes, but not as easy as with other upgrades.?

2 Will FP offer this upgrade? And the answer should be: No mention of it, probably not if there isn’t any broad demand for it.

The last question is the one from Jerry: “Why do some people (like me) have 69 tabs open in chrome…” And the answer should be: Because my habit is like that and it’s the way I use the phone. Fx could be that I browse for some articles about travel guides to China on google, and open 10 pages I find interesting and will read. Then I can have these tabs open and read them at different times throughout the day, without regoogle or keep track on which pages I already read.
And even if the pages reload when I open them up (as you mention), they need more RAM than you think just to be able to scroll through in “open tabs”.

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I would like to concentrate to the technical point:

The 2 points I am not clear to:

  1. Is the RAM module soldered or clamped to the board?
    (I guess soldered --> not or not easy changeable)

  2. Will FP offer in some future a core module with a higher RAM?
    (my opinion: FP even doesn’t know itself, yet. [Any comment by @Douwe?]
    Highest intention of the modularity is repairability and only as a side effect the upgradability.)

I dont want to fire the discussion about, only want to make the technical point clear, as far as we as the community can know it.

Cheers, Robert

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Thanks a lot rob!
Good to focus on the techs, and I think you are perfectly right suggesting that the FP team probably don’t know themselves what the future will bring in upgrades. And even if they have a clue, they probably won’t speculate to avoid expectations.

I’m sure they probably won’t release a motherboard just for the sake of upgrading RAM. But one scenario could be that they in one-two years upgrade the “factory built” FP2 to one with better specs at the Core Module, and then I see few reasons they won’t release this module to be able to integrate with our older FP2s? We might have to also upgrade some other modules, as the technology probably made some of them unusable with core components of 2017, but this will probably be both easily done and cheaper than buying a new phone.

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Honestly: That’s just how I tend to work/read. Open news aggregation site, open all interesting links, start reading. Get interrupted. Return to phone, refresh aggregation site, open new interesting links, start reading…

I don’t think it’s that easy. Yes, background tabs will be unloaded. I do think that quite a bit of overhead remains (for the controls, the list of titles, the ‘screenshots’/previews of the unloaded sites). But even if we ignore the browser and claim that it magically just needs memory for the active page and nothing else, dozen tabs or not, I offered other use cases (multi tasking between apps, big documents) that aren’t fun if memory is scarce.

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This would be an interesting option for me, personally. On the other hand: The whole concept of hoping for an upgrade 1-2 years in feels kind of weird when we’re talking about a device that tries to avoid creating electronic waste, that wants to be your phone for more than the average phone’s lifetime?

I guess that’s my problem here. I understand the environmental reasons to stay with a device for a long time, to repair not throw away. But you can’t “repair” obsolete technology. In 3 years: This phone might be in a very good condition, but if it’s unable to run current ~things~ then is will end up being replaced.

Maybe I should just accept that this is an amazing phone supporting ethical values (supply chain), offering superb support for its lifetime (repairability for 1-2 years), but will end up obsolete as quick as any other phone - potentially a bit faster for my use cases, starting with less memory than even > a year old models on the market have today.

That’s still worth considering, just a tiny bit … sad

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Being ethical comes at a price, in your case, not opening so many tabs! I’ve got a 4 year old Samsung Galaxy Nexus with 1 GB of memory and it’s still OK, not super fast but not frustratingly slow either.

I’d say the price is … the device’s price in this case :slight_smile:
If I decide to buy this device, support this project, that’s - sorry to admit that - already an investment on my side. Honestly, that’s the “easy” part: Handing over money in exchange for FP doing the real work, improving the world a bit.

Keeping an outdated device is something I don’t see myself doing right now, but who knows… Habits change.

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I have a Galaxy Nexus too and… it’s simply not usable for me. Slow like the death!

Firefox is ok depending on the website, but the apps I use work fine, Guardian, Clash of Clans no sloweness there.

I get your point and there is already a lot of similar posts in this forum about wanting what other phones already have (like better RAM) and these discussion tends to end up in two camps (one “fine-with-lower-specs-if-fair” and one “want-the-best-techs-and-sad-that-FP-hasn’t”). But I do not see any need to stick to these camps. The modularity in FP2 makes it possible for us to repair AND upgrade.

And I do not really understand what you mean when you write "On the other hand: The whole concept of hoping for an upgrade 1-2 years in feels kind of weird when we’re talking about a device that tries to avoid creating electronic waste, that wants to be your phone for more than the average phone’s lifetime?"
FP2 Have the possibility to FX release a new core Module with a lot of fancy new stuff, and just add this into their factory built models. In that way offer a totally new updated phone with the cost of one single new piece. For people (like you and me) who wants the big RAM for example, could then replace our core module, and the only electronic waste is a small module (that could probably be sold or reintegrated in a phone if still functioning)? That is awesome in my opinion, and is no electronic waste to talk about comparing needing to buy new phone.

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You can’t be ethical and keep up with the pace of smart phone development, that is the real truth. You either have to make compromises or not be ethical, there isn’t an alternative.

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