Good bye - after just over 1 year of (not so) Fairphone usage

Dear Fairphone Team,

these are my last words in this forum and they may be harsh and an offense.
I am kind of sorry for that on the one hand and on the other hand I am not. This world moves into a direction of “putting political correctness over speaking the truth”. I won´t do this here.

You tried your best and failed miserably. To be honest my heart is bleeding because of this. You started ambicious and failed from a over all perspective. So sad because you did so much good.

I am talking about the Phone OS. You convinced me that Android is a “fair” approach and the best that could be used so far and other OS will likely to follow but this is the start.
In the beginning you promised something else. I remember the “aim for OS altenatives” and other things. Nothing of this has come true and in my personal opinion this is one of the aspects that may lead to a total fail of this journey because people (like me) lose faith in you. I was a big promoter of the Fairphone until it was clear that there will be no software updates to get newer Android-versions on the phone.
I am not talking about having all the time the fancy new stuff on it. For me this is related about security!
Through this fact you produced a sort of fairly sourced “eletronical waste”. Congratulations gentleman for this achievement.

Aside the bad and unprofessional communication style on this topic I am missing your critical self-reflection of this topic.

On the one hand you made very clearly, that this phone will have a lack of technology (no NFC, no LTE, which is totally fine for me) and it can´t be fair in any way but the OS is something you put a bet on, with the users / customers money.

These days I sold my “not so fair that I want to keep it”-phone to some person who either does not care about security or is not aware of the lack of software-updates. After roughly 1 year usage. Shortest amount for a phone I ever owned…
Why? Because it made me angry everytime I touched it. I replaced it with a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini duos (second hand) which runs Android 5.0.2 now and works perfect with a Dual SIM setup. Please think about this fact: A single person gets it done to push some new live into a phone that has been abandoned by the vendor at Android 4.2.2. Android 5.1 port is already in progress so this device will likely get this version too. At least its more realistic than with…
This phone may not be “fairly produced” and not “responsible sourced” but I will do the environment something good by using it for a much longer time as I would with the “not so”-Fairphone. Keep in mind: Sustainability is one of your goals.

I hope you did learn your lesson on that one and put a big eye on this topic while developing the next phone. But I will not put any bet on that anymore.

Selling the phone is the final thing I could do which is a result of all the frustration that came in the long run with your device.
It was not an issue waiting nearly 9 months from order to shipment (I was one of the kickstarters). Also the “minor down-sizing” of the hardware was not an issue to me. I did not like the way you handled this communication wise and the reasons spoken were not plausible for me but as said, that was not an issue.

Bottom Line: (Sadly) Your marketing is better than the result. Something I can see in IT-business all the time…
For me this was an experiment (in many terms) that did not work out. Anyways I am quite well experienced with Android now and can provide my family with current OS-versions through rooting / flashing custom ROMs on a well proven, sometimes 5 year old hardware. If that´s not sustainable I do not know what is…

I am really sad about all this but these things should be discussed as transparent as everything else.
Hate me, blame me, this is just how I feel about all this.

Feedback is important. Take and do whatever you want with it.



I think it would be sad if this were your last words in this forum. It would be quite interesting if you report again, say in a month, how much better your new phone does its job compared to the Fairphone: battery life, any software problems, performance of apps, camera quality, etc… we could learn a lot from it.

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Did you ever read Fairphones blog? There is alot of self criticism, e.g. in this entry.

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If you want the Fairphone team to read your letter, you should send them an email.

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Hmmm, let’s see…
Using the FP had become an intolerable experience for you, making you angry every time you had to touch the phone.
The reason for this was the lack of updates beyond Android 4.2.2 leading to grave security risks.
So you sell your phone to someone who, as far as you know, might not be aware of the update issue/vulnerability. But you do not mention it, apparently perfectly happy with leaving her/him in ignorance of a vulnerability that you yourself found intolerable.
Did I get that right? Have I missed something?

Sorry, but i think it is not tburger who is ignorant. We are about 60000 Fairphone owners who are now left almost on their own. All the communication from Fairphone is about the NEW Phone - this reminds me a lot to the other phone manufacturers.
I have to thank tburger for his post. It expresses almost exactly my feelings about the first batch Fairphones. I am one of the kickstarters too.

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What communication are you expecting about the existing phone? I’m not sure what else there is to say about it, we all know the complications with the 4.2.2 situation and that’s stalled anything further. There are also only 60,000 devices out there and no further production of them, so from that angle there isn’t much more to say

This went up on the support site on Wed regarding the next update… there will be more comms over that shortly. There has been comms for those in the beta test group about the software update and we expect FP to publish the changelog along with the official update soon

Is there something else you are expecting, as maybe FP don’t know…



I do hope this isn’t your final final word :wink: and that you do keep in touch with the community and FP to see how things progress. I do share your frustrations in terms of the updates. I know that FP do take the security bugs seriously and will continue to update/fix what they can, as quickly as they can, with the resources that they have, but I know that some will remain due to 4.2.2 being out of support. Anyone concerned with security (should be all of us, but of course let’s face it’s not a concern for lots of people) should look for third-party solutions/workarounds where possible.

I don’t think FP appreciated that the OS of the phone would be just as important (and arguably more so) as making the hardware fair. However I think we still have to see it as a project, striving to get to the end result which is a fair phone, running a fair OS. I think the use of the word ‘fair’ can be misleading and judging by the debates that have happened on the forums it’s easy to see that we all have different interpretations etc.

Anyway, I hope you have luck with your new phone, and thanks for sharing :thumbsup:


Well,there are some 500,000,000 people out there running Android versions older than KitKat. And I guess that a significant proportion of them have phones that cannot be upgraded, with no security patches offered from the phone manufacturers either. I was once left on my own by HTC, now I’m left on my own by FP - but with the significant difference that FP have explained what has happened and why they cannot provide a solution. With HTC it was just No longer supported, period.
BTW, I can’t help finding it fascinating (and a bit disturbing) that so many easily accept that the giant Android/Google refuses to develop/provide security updates to a less than two year old OS version. Microsoft supported WinXP for 14 years…


Yeah that is true, but on the other hand we paid money for WinXP and also a lot of government organisations were dependent on it. So they had a better position against MS.

Android is not used in governments and many companies because of security concerns. They prefer iOS or even Windows Phone (or Blackberry).

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…and that Fairphone plans to learn from their mistakes whereas other companies don’t even see this as a mistake.


True. We didn’t really notice, though, since the price for the OS was part of the price for the PC we bought.

But I guess that I somehow pay for Android, too, without really noticing. Google’s global revenue for 2014 was 66 billion USD, mainly from advertising, and in the end this money comes from customers buying goods from companies advertising via Google.

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Hi Chris
In the beginning of the Fairphone project updates, longterm support and a long product lifetime were key points of Fairphones communication. I can’t believe that in the design phase no one realized and talked to the suppliers that it would be soon impossible to update the phone to newer versions of Android. This was such profound mistake.
After the December 14th forum-post about the postponed 1.8 update and the December 19th blog entry about the software strategy we didn’t hear much about updates for the first and second batch phones. Until recent days, the annoucement that the fixed 1.8 update will come soon. This is about five months of silence about the issue.
What i liked in the beginning of the delivery of the first phones in January 2014, was the open communication and discussion about bugs and problems with the phone. This was unusual for an electronics manufacturer and was one of the right ways to change how products are made. But this changed drastically after the failed 1.8 update last December.
For example there should be a blog post or a support article with a step by step tutorial how to make the actual phone more secure. HTH

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This was exactly one of the major points because i decided to support Fairphone in 2013, because they stated to do it better.

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I disagree. FP was never much of transparency. Ok, it was better than other Corps, sometimes. But I was never asked if I’d like the new design of the phone. The phone I ordered looked completely different. Was I told about the downgrade of the SoC? Nope. Basically, they’re doing just like all other corps: selling a product they think we’d like. Without asking us. How about MediaTek and source code? It seems FP was f*cked by MediaTek, otherwise how could FP promise the sources for the OS? Unless FP didn’t read the contract they signed. What info have we got on the issue? None to zero. There were 2-3 Blog posts about it months after the forum was pressing them. The one fact is: a blog entry is NOT an correct official statement. Especially if it’s between 3rd party posts and ads. Ok, Granted… But the posts contain no info at all. Only political talk about “not our fault”. Guess what? It is your fault. The community had known for years: MediaTek is one of the worst choices if you want an open OS. But you knew better. Your goal is sustainability and you want FP to be used as long as possible? How come your contract does not include OS upgrades? By that time Android 4.2. was already near it’s end. By the time FP begun shipping some new phones were already sold with 4.4.
And I’m not talking about fair as in fair trade. The workers were getting minimal wages. And the fairness ends here for me. I would’ve loved to pay 5, 10, 20, 40 EUR more just to double they earnings.

Did FP learn from all that? We might never know. But at least I know they’re dropping root for FP2. That’s the direction they walk.

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Please keep in mind that it is important to realise this is mainly a community forum. If you wan’t to make sure your message reaches Fairphone, use the official channels on the contact page as well. I am pretty sure they are interested in such opinions to do better in the future, but let us keep a friendly tone.

It also think that this, again shows what a great range of thinks is actually associated with “Fair”. For me this was not about me, but the people involved in producing the Phone. It is right to discuss if there is done enough in that aspect and what could be /must be done better (i often hear “minimal wages” for example). Sadly, in this forums, i see very little interest in that stuff compared to complaining about the software experience and updates and open source etc. It is a misconception or a misscomunication. I, for myself, never assiociated the Fairphone with “best possible privacy” or “best open source support” etc but more with “fair” in a sense of “fairer trade and production” as well as transparency in such aspects like lifecycle, cost breakdown, sourcing of minerals, list of suppliers. Fairphone has delivered on those, but again, a lot of people think of extra ordinary insight in to the software development process for example, when they hear transparency.

I think this is actually an important topic:The “fair” in Fairphone is associated with so many expectations, not all of them related, and some very hard to fulfil. What can Fairphone do, to make sure future buyers are not so disappointed about their devices and the communication from Fairphone. What do you think @anon90052001?

I think for example, in “advertising” the FP2, Fairphone should concentrate on the great things that actually are delivered: Worker Welfare Found, Research toward materials sourcing like the great blog about why fair gold is hard,trying to improve repairability by cooperating with ifixit etc. They should not associate themselves to much with alternative OSes or being more open source then others open source or providing extraordinary update support until time has proven that the situation is really better with FP2.

I am afraid it will take some time until we see if custom androids are coming and ports to use Ubuntu or Firefox and if updates can be delivered etc. But if that works, people who care will notice and this is in my way the best way to regain trust in that area: Talk little, do a lot.

I am referencing the AOSP for Xperia program by Sony a lot recently. This is because i think they are doing the exact right think: In official channels, the Sony Xperia Z line is not promoted with this program, but only on developer channels, where sony informs developers about that program and it’s achievements. People who care notice anyway, the support for Xperia devices by CyanogenMod @ Co has improved a lot!

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Thank you, @tburger for your statement!

@HackAR & @ben: You have made your points in the other topics, if you have further need for discussion, please continue there.

Edit: I opened a topic to discuss the meaning of the word “fair”:

This topic is now closed. New replies are no longer allowed.

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