Wotcha all. Firstly, I would like to say that what Fairphone have managed to achieve so far is magnificent and I’m full of praise for them. I have followed them from their 1st phone, and a couple of my friends have purchased them in the UK.
I don’t know how representative of the global market I am, but my purchasing of smartphones has slowed well outside the pushed upgrade cycle of every 12-24 months, since the Pixel 2 I’ve owned since 2017 still does everything I could ask. With that in mind, I would love my next phone to be a Fairphone, but realistically a couple of key hardware limitations will put me off.
The Fairphone 3+ with it’s Snapdragon 632 chipset seemed underpowered for even web browsing, based on reviews from places like The Verge and Gsmarena. To make the purchase of a new phone compelling for me, it would have to be powerful enough to perform basic tasks well enough upon release to give me confidence that I can rely on the phone to still be capable 2-3 years into ownership.
The Pixel 2 (2017) I own uses the Snapdragon 835 chipset, which although well out of date, still has plenty of power for everything I could think of. For future Fairphones, might it be possible to use a higher end chipset, even if it were out of date? I’m thinking of the Fxtec Pro1-X, which was recently released using the Snapdragon 835 as an example of this practise here.
I know, I know, smartphone cameras are basically software algorithms squeezing the most performance possible out of small sensors, and the team at Fairphone are hardly going to be able to beat the resources that Google have.
Having said that, and I appreciate the need for backward compatibility may be an issue here, would it be possible to go for a fairly massive (for a smartphone) sensor such as OmniVision OV48C, which seems to perform so spectacularly in the Xiaomi Mi10 Ultra? Having such a large capable sensor may give the phone the best possible chance to perform without an extensive camera team. Having a great sensor to start with may come in handy with potential GCAM ports down the line.
Other than all this, I love the basic idea behind the phone, the simple to service plastic design, the headphone jack (!) etc. I’m willing to pay the premium, I just wish the hardware were that bit more compelling.