Future Android version for the Fairphone 1 / 1U

Indeed, it’s crazy… the manufacturers create a culture of short-term satisfaction. Even if the product doesn’t actually become obsolescent, the consumer is encouraged to think that “old = bad”.

I don’t think there a compability issues, it is just the case the Mediatek has not supported the vendors with Android 4.4 for the chipset used in the Fairphone. There are rumors about KitKat for othere devices with MTK6589, but i have yet to see any proof of 4.4 running on any real device with that chipset. That is the biggest step towards 4.4.
If that happens, Guohong, the manufacturing partner and producer of the device the Fairphone is based on, will need to integrate all drivers for custom parts like camera, sensors, screen…and provide the update core to Fairphone. Integrating the Fairphone custom software is the smallest step i think, but still the Updater etc will need to be tested. It might even be the case that Fairphone needs to re-certify the Phone running such an updated software- i don’t know about that.
So there is a lot to do for Android 4.4 - and i doubt well will see that in the next weeks or months. But i think there still is a chance by the end of the year or so. I am certain that Fairphone will try make that possible – and i really think they should – if, but only if, Mediatek supports MTK 6889 for Kitkat.

There must be because @anon90052001 started one.

To conclude, i do not think there is so much pressure as @wolfigor, but i would appreciate if Fairphone and other manufactures as well as google and last but not least, us the customers, keep the pressure high on Mediatek. I for example regulary nag them on twitter.

For now 4.2 is fine and think it will be for a while, looking at the Android Platform distribution numbers from #Google: (https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html).

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@stojmas I’ve asked Joe if FP would like to do a poll on this to understand the community expectations/wishes. We’ll see… :smile:

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You can create a poll by making a new thread titled “Poll: BLANK” then each option in the body text should get a hyphen -
So:

  • Option 1
  • Option 2

That’s it! I’m totally open for you all to make your own poll about Android vs alternatives, though I’m more interested to know the “why” too. Of course, hard numbers will help us for community feedback too :smile:

Another nice function of this platform is that you can press “Reply as a new Topic” beside a comment and it will jump to a new thread. Maybe you want to do that for a new poll based on this thread.

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Thanks @Joe - I’ll create a poll from this thread:-)

Poll: Future Fairphone OS Development

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I am most definitely in the “it should have the most recent Android version within a reasonable delay” camp (meaning Fairphone is already overdue for 4.4 KitKat). Basically for 2 reasons:

  1. Security: any list of security advices will include: make sure you keep all your software (OS + apps) up to date. You make sure you install all updates (for Windows, Linux, …) on your desktop PC, don’t you ? There is no equivalent of “Windows Update” for Android, but major security fixes are included by Google/AOSP in every new Android version and smartphone vendors should distribute the new version within a few months to their customers who recently bought a smartphone from them. Most companies would define “recent” as 1-2 years, but given its aim of sustainability it should be longer for Fairphones. It’s good that Fairphone provides individual security fixes (like the one for the “SMS =” bug) in software updates apart from Android upgrades, but they are no substition for the problems that Google/AOSP has solved in the main Android development line. It’s like a PC vendor would say: “It’s OK for you to keep running Windows XP, but we’ll provide some hotfixes for driver issues now and then”. The fact that some users may like/want to keep working on Windows XP is irrelevant - security should not be bargained with. Which makes the “your opinion” in the OP also irrelevant, imho.

  2. Technological advancement. Not for the sake of having the most recent version per se, but for the possibilities that it allows. Just as an example: I have ordered a (very useful) gadget that uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to interact with a smartphone. The FP1 includes a BT LE radio, so hardware-wise I’m ready to go. However, BT LE is only supported in Android 4.3 and up. So right now, I couldn’t use that gadget simply because of the already outdated OS. I’m hoping Fairphone will have a KitKat update by the time my gadget ships (November or so). This just to illustrate that it isn’t simply abstract, it can be something really practical as well.

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I understand your point, and it would be right when talking about hardware (like some people only wanting the very latest iPhone). But this is about software, and then “old” really IS bad because “old” means having security flaws for which there are “new” fixes available. That has nothing to do with short-term satisfaction but instead with good maintenance practices in the digital age. (cfr. my other post below)

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Although I do not have a craving need for the latest Android, I would feel comfortable that I can keep the same phone for ever if I want (which is one of the selling points of the Fairphone) if it could get the Android upgrades. For now this is just not doable due to hardware restrictions, and to me it seems that fairphone have cheated us on that one - or have been cheated by Mediatek.
This does not alter the fact that I do love my Fairphone with all its good and bad points…

Would be nice if FairPhone could make another statement about this. Are they still in talks with MediaTek on this issue, or was it dropped altogether?

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@jerry I believe they will be providing an update sooner rather than later. Fairphone know it means a lot to some of us in the community and do want to do the right thing.

I’m sure they want to release an update but it’s mediatek that’s the issue and I think they don’t give a [insert explitive].

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I have a question, and would be glad if someone could answer it for me: What exactly is the problem with these chipset drivers? Where do they come in? And why is it not possible for the experienced developers (for example from xda-develpers) to solve the issue? I do not understand how Mediatek could make it so difficult to break open the system?

With the exception of the Zephyr HR bluetooth heart rate monitor. No cycling gadgets that I have found are compatible with v. 4.2. Fitbit requires 4.3 at least. Unless you use your Fairphone for the bare minimum, i.e. e-mails, internet browsing, shopping, and buying tickets. Its going to become increasingly out of date.
In short, the update to at least version 4.3 is absolutely essential. I got my Smartphone today, and I can’t connect it to any of my gadgets, and I am really gutted.

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I agree with Daryl; I just started another topic regarding the new Android Smartwatch (running on Android Wear - sorry, didn’t see this topic). It needs an Android Phone running on 4.3 or higher.

I see that there is some work done on Cyanogenmod on Fairphone, but it doesn’t support dual sim and bluetooth, so not an option for me. It becomes painfully tempting to buy another Andriod phone - but then the ‘fair principle’ is out of the window.

I want to have both! :wink:

Maarten.

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Just received my Fairphone, and discovered the issue with my gadgets not connecting. I really am gutted. I am a passionate cyclist, and the gadgets are really part of the fun for me. This basically means that if my Fairphone doesn’t get v.4.3 then I will sell it, and by an Unfairphone that has it, and this would kind of defeat the point of buying a Fairphone in the first place. I don’t care about v4.4. But all the gadgets I have seen need 4.3.

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I can only advise you to be patient for a little longer. Keep in mind, that only ~29 % of the Android devices around right now are 4.3 or higher (source)

I’m certainly willing to wait, but I’d need to know that it is gonna happen, even if it’s a way down the road.

I have the same problem as other users. I want to use some gadgets and all of them need at least Android 4.3. I was thinking to try some new Android watches as Motorola 360, but it works with Android Wear which needs at least Android 4.3… If my Fairphone is not soon updated I will sell it.

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I think that if what you are saying is true, then you should consider selling it as soon as possible and as little used as it hopefully is.

How soon is soon enough for you?

What if they were to tell you that an update to 4.3 is not likely to be achieved this year? Would it be too much to wait?
What about next spring or summer?

Based on what I read about it so far, which includes the unofficial 4.4 testings, I doubt that FP will be upgraded to 4.3 “soon enough” or even at all.

Bye :wink:

Im 99% sure the reason all those gadgets need 4.3 is that they communicate with the smartphone via BlueTooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE for short), which Android started supporting from 4.3 onwards. BLE is very energy efficient, which is particularly suited for [small] gadgets so they only need to be recharged once a week (e.g. a smartwatch or health gadget) or even can work for several years on a single, non-replaceable battery (e.g. some cycling gadgets). Btw, the gadget I mentioned in my post above is also cycling-related ;-).

But indeed, this means we can’t use any of them until the phone is updated to 4.3 at least. Of course, it would be very silly for Fairphone/MTK to invest time in 4.3 given that 4.4 is equally available. If we’re going to update, we might as well receive the improvements of 4.4 over 4.3. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, and put some (well-intentioned) pressure on Fairphone to let them know a significant part of their userbase really does expect an upgrade to 4.4 in the not-so-distant future !