How should consumption be? / Do Fairphone 2 expansions need to be fair?

Edit by @Stefan: This and the following 6 posts were moved from FP 2/3/… Modules & Wishlist

Hey guys,

Just a small thought on what I read here… Are you sure these ideas are aligned with Fairphone’s vision and more generally “how consumption should be” ?

What I mean is: do you really think a projector, wireless charging or an infrared would help in any way reduce waste by focusing on real needs ? Your TV will still be shipped with a remote control and using more materials to create wireless charging modules just to avoid using a cable… Just not worth it !

However I could see the benefit of a “lower” version of the phone, with a shitty camera, no accelerometer or no bluetooth for those who use this once a year at most… That could go in the right direction.

@paulakreuzer what do you think about considering separating ideas in 2 sections, something like “sustainability-friendly” and “extra comfort/gadget ideas” ? Even if the line between “needs” and “gadgets” can be hard to draw…

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Generally I think it’s a good idea, but the list is already divided in “realistic” and “less realistic”. How about I just change the latter to “less realistic or unsustainable”? To many sub- and sub-sub-sections would make the list confusing I think.

You can separate the items into these two sections. But you can also separate them into “should be included” and “should be optional”.

Because users have different opinions of what they need. One says “I really need XYZ, I wouldn’t buy a phone without XYZ”, the other says “XYZ is completely useless for me, buying a phone with XYZ just wastes my money”. With optional modules, you can serve both users to their satisfaction.

Note that also Fairphone owners are also customers. Customers expect something from the products they buy. So the Fairphone 2 is also just a product from which they expect something. If their needs are not satisfied by the FP2, they won’t use the FP2.

There are reasons for using the smartphone as a remote control.

  1. Your remote control is lost or broken or you bought an used TV with a lost or broken remote control.
  2. You don’t want to use the remote control because you don’t want to get it lost or broken.
  3. You want to use the smartphone because you have your smartphone with you and don’t want to look for your remote control which you placed at an unknown place.
  4. You are with your smartphone on your couch and don’t want to stand up to take the remote control.
  5. Your smartphone is easier to handle than the remote control.
  6. You have more than one device with a remote control (TV, satellite receiver, DVD player, video recorder, radio, air conditioner, fan, heater, garage door). You don’t want to have a bunch of remote controls lying around, maybe at the wrong place.

But the TV manufacturers can also change their way to handle the TV: Do we really need a “classical” remote control or can we also use a smartphone with an app which acts like an app (e. g. a channel list on the smartphone which can be wiped through and tapped on instead of typing in numbers or use the up/down buttons)?

I think this topic is going more and more towards the category “Fairphone Cafe”. Most people are not interested in all these extras. They only make sense if a good amount of people will buy it.
Also, those extras are in my opinion not reasonable under the name FAIRphone. Some gurus in the community might need to do these developments.


You are absolutely right, and that was actually my point. Consider how important are the 6 points you list. All of them are either non-regular events (lost remote), comfort (easier to handle) or real laziness (don’t want to get up the couch or bother distinguishing 3 remote controls). It is just an opinion, but to me that is where the limit can be drawn: when the benefit of the innovation is so small that it just brings a very small additional layer of comfort, which is just not worth the investment and resources comsumption to produce more IR receivers.

Could be a more important need for people that cannot stand up to get the remote, there I agree; But then the difficulty is to make customers ask themselves if they really are the target users (disabled persons) and not encourage buying gadgets. That is how a reasonable pro-sustainability tool can turn into a fashionable gadget actually increasing resources consumption just because it can include modules…

Interesting point is if it decreases the production of remote controls, but I don’t see how manufacturers will start doing this in the next few years as not everyone handle their smartphone well enough for this and you cannot really give your customer no way of handling their TV if they don’t have their smartphone…

To summarize, I agree with Vinni :smile:

PS: in the end, notice this: the lack of this infrared module actually makes us discuss and think about the real needs behind it; Same could be done with the lack of NFC feature in the FP2 (which I personally find completely justified but can also be discussed). Fairphone reach their goal of having their users think about their needs and consumption habits, instead of just consuming :smile:


All extremely valid points.

Although I disagree on the lack of interest, this forum is not the largest (only small portion if FP users active here), but when first modules and extensions become available on the market I expect a rise in interest in the development on this forum.

But on the topic of the sustainability and the actual ‘need’ for alternative modules and extensions let me tell my point of view:

I don’t do green-washing or fair-washing. In other words, I do not develop from a sustainability point of view and will in no way pretend like anything I do is green or neccessary. I just make gadgets that I like and if other people want one I make more.

BUT there are some projects I have planned that will speak to other communities and subcultures other than the environmentally aware here, which will in the end raise the interest in FP in general. For example on a hardcore electronics forum a post with “Look at this 20MHz 4-channel oscilloscope with signal generator that is attached to a phone! How awesome that this phone has this functionality and possibilities!” will definitely spark some stuff.

Even Fairphone does not say this phone is sustainable in ANY way, but they value the change of direction they took and are busy to spread the story and get more companies to adopt the same philosopy and join the different direction. If I make extremely unsustainable gadgets in small quantities that greatly extend the reach of FP, I feel very comfortable with that.

Feel free to disagree!


I completely agree with @dvl. Fairphone allows 3rd party modules for the FP2 and doesn’t restrict those in regards of sustainability. So if someone builds some modules for himself and some interested people he should be able to do so without using tin and tungsten from fairphone’s mines in Congo.

Sure if a module is designed that the masses will want, it would be cool if it would be kind-of-fair too.

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