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Is FP a successful project but a failed phone?

My FP2 never worked well.

As you all know issues are of any kind: charger, screen, touch, battery, SIM cards, external memory, random reboots, failures in OS updates and many others. You name them.

There is nothing I can do without having to stop and waiting for the phone to exit its frozen status, even if I have to write plain SMSs.
Plain installations of the OS are not helping no matter how deep you get.
It is supposed to be a durable phone, but I got it less than a year ago and I am actually not able to install many applications due to incompatibility issues. Is this a durable phone? (I got it second hand almost new and never used. But I could have bought it from the official store, same model and same specs same date).

What about other FP2 still in use? Is anyone else experiencing the same problems?
If you are not, would you report about which apps do you use, is there anything you avoid?
I have the feeling that very common apps like Instagram are not well supported.

I am starting to think that the FP is a successful project but a failed phone. This is due to the fact that it is really changing the way in which people think about electronics, in terms on how fair they are. The company also managed to collect an interesting amount of funding last year and this stands for a wide support from the people. Anyway the phone is just a pain and I am afraid that if I buy FP3 it is just gonna end up the same.

Isn’t it better to buy a used mobile once every 2 or 3 years and send the old one to FP to be recycled? In this way you are also working toward a better environment and you are hopefully saving yourself much frustration.

Please let me know your thoughts, I’d actually love to change my mind 'cause at the end of the day I always end up cheering for my FP2.

Anyone else certainly, reports are all over the forum unfortunately … but I don’t.
My Fairphone 2 works totally fine. Battery is not a highlight, but normally I would get through the day, and if in doubt, that’s what powerbanks are for.

You really installed from scratch?

I avoid carrying the phone in my trouser pockets, thus minimizing physical strain and bending.
I have a flip case around it for general protection.
I have a magnetic adapter sitting in the micro USB port to minimize physical strain on the port. I’m still on my first bottom module since February 2017.

I try to avoid (a)social media Apps altogether.
I use as few as possible Apps from the Play Store, I prefer Open Source Apps from F-Droid.
I’m running LineageOS for microG, and I mainly use a browser (Fennec F-Droid), stock e-mail/ SMS Apps, some public transport Apps, maps/ navigation (OsmAnd+), peer pressure communication (Discord).

Well, it’s new, only time will tell.
Depending on where you live you might be able to check it out first in a store near you.
The partnership with Vodafone might help with availability in stores, too.

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Thanks for your reply AnotherElk

Yes of course, but no help. The phone becomes unresponsive once all my things are back.

I see how this can help, but in my opinion this is not considerable as a solution. I should be able to use the FP2 as I would do on the average with any other smartphone. Otherwise it is not a product but a prototype, a proof of concept.
I’m very concerned about my data, but I still want to stay in contact with friends and know what is going on. Social Media are a very good way for doing this, but I have the feeling that Instagram, WhatsApp, Reddit and Twitter were working better earlier this year. I am not an expert developer, but my guess is that the current version of the OS is not supporting them extensively, resulting in lags and crashes.

Would this endorsement also mean that FP3 is gonna be more reliable?

You asked for anything others avoid, not for how feasible it would be for any given user to avoid them :wink: .
I’m not entirely immune against peer pressure either (have to get rid of Discord still).

At least the official Facebook App is known to wreak all kinds of havoc on the Fairphone 2 … alternatives were discussed e.g. here …


From the build of the phone it is obvious Fairphone really put some thought into how to make the phone more reliable while keeping it modular.
But as I said it’s new. Some issues are popping up here already, as can be expected with any new phone, but reliability can only be judged over time.

In my opinion the Fairphone 3 (and perhaps Fairphone overall) will stand or fall by whether they are able to get phones and modules of consistent quality out of the factory.
That pretty clearly wasn’t the case with the Fairphone 2 and its modules, but whether they are able to correct that with the Fairphone 3 and its modules still has to be seen, it’s much too early to assess that.

But you’re right. I would suspect a big player like Vodafone to have a good, deep look into a product they would like to promote to in turn promote a positive image for their own brand with it.
So there’s still hope :slight_smile: .

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Which FP? You posted this in Help -> FP2 but there have been 3 Fairphone products thus far.

FP3 has quite a few design differences where its shown they’ve learned from past mistakes. For example, the modules are more tightly connected with connectors. They’re a bit more difficult to get off, but the advantage is the connectors will fail less quickly. Also, the battery sits more tight, and is more difficult to remove.

If you’re looking for a thread with FP3 praises, here is one:

Community-maintained list of known issues which can potentially be mitigated by software update(s):

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Let’s look back at some of my previous phones.

First smartphone I owned was a Palm Treo 650. As a device it was great, but their choice to add a 2.5mm headphone jack rather than a 3.5mm jack caused a lot of trouble. Adapter cables kept breaking one after the other, and the jack too at some point had to get repaired multiple times. Pretty sure I had to send this in for repairs four times.

Then the Palm Pre. A nifty little device whose biggest trouble was the slightly plastickeyness. It got wobbly over time, but the device lasted me a year and a half before I upgraded to the HP Pre 3.

That last one had the massive downside of no software support. HP pulled the plug on the WebOS smartphone line a few weeks after release and never looked back. Hardware was alright, but the slider again got wobbly over time and the frame around the screen cracked within a year. Got it repaired once, got a second hand replacement after just under two years, but after 2.5-3 years it had to be retired.

Looking at it plainly, the FP2 has had three major issues for me: the case, the bottom module and the software problems. Comparatively though, each case has lasted me longer than the shell on the Pre and Pre 3 (with the last case I received not showing any signs of giving in) and the software problems are certainly not worse as those with the Pre 3. The bottom module hasn’t given me trouble over a year, whereas the “bottom module” of the Treo 650 kept plaguing me throughout its 3-4 year life.

Either I have always been quite unlucky with my phones, or it’s just a fact that handheld devices break over time. For me the trouble with FP2 is not exceptional, but given the durability argument we might feel the tendency to judge them harsher.

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I am talking about a FairPhone 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairphone_2

So there is no such a thing as a durable mobile?

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I have the same situation and totally same feeling. I have my new phone lass than a year but it has so many problems. I asked for help many time from the support team but I am really not a expert to figure it out all the solutions of how to fix it (this should not be my duty, I just want to use my phone smoothly like others) , also it take so much time. A good new phone should not have so many problems. It is really a good idea but not fair that it is giving users so much trouble! I was so proud that I have FP but now I would not recommen to anyone.

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I don’t think “durable” is a binary property. Everything you own, from food to clothes to appliances, has an end-of-life. And with electronics that isn’t always the point of it not working anymore.
My dad owns a 21 year old computer which starts perfectly fine, and holds an interesting archive of documents. Nonetheless, that device is past its shelf life because it doesn’t fulfill the duties of a nowadays computer anymore: it can’t create documents that others can open as intended, and even if you’d connect it to the internet (which he shouldn’t, it’s Windows 98, it’s full of security holes) it would not have the processing power to render modern webpages in a decent amount of time.
Durability in the context of a phone is similarly not just related to the quality of the hardware but also the shifting expectations of the user. A Nokia 3310 starts, calls and texts, probably still has 99% battery life, and is rigid enough to smash an iPhone screen with, but doesn’t meet my demands of a phone anymore. My personal belief is that we have started to reach a more stable era in this area in the sense that a three year old phone can still do everything I expect it to. This wasn’t necessarily true for smartphones 5 years ago, as batteries, processing power and internet speeds hadn’t reached the “good enough for everyone”-mark. In that sense durability is going to be more about hardware quality than it was five years ago, but will also still be about software support and security.

Bringing us back to your original question: Fairphone has created a phone with the FP2 that, including repairs and replacement batteries, has now lasted me 3.5 years. I’m honestly not sure whether adding those repairs means it’s been less environment-friendly than cheaper phones, but at face value 3.5 years is a lot better than most market parties have managed and than most users have been willing to accept. It’s lasted me longer than before, it continues to last me a while and it still satisfies my need. Which is why I would label it durable… but that’s a personal feeling.

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RSpliet thanks for the follows up :slight_smile:

Define “durability” is a hard task.

After my experience with 3 different smartphones (Ace2, N5, FP2) my feeling is that repairability is not a key feature for a smartphone to be considered durable, in fact I have never broke a screen or needed to replace any parts. Maybe the battery could be the only exception, but I can’t be sure about it even if I asked.
What I’d like to see in a durable smartphone is the resilience to obsolescence: if I keep it with care and do my best to not drop it or get it broken, that phone should meet the expectations of me –the user– for a long amount of time. FP2 is simply not doing that: certain apps are not compatible, all the other apps are very slow and continuously crash. Tonight it took me almost 30 seconds to open a regular and plain SMS in order to read it. I have the feeling that this is not a problem of hardware, but of software. Apparently it is very hard to figure it out, but in the case it is true, then everything they say about a durable-fair-phone is just teasing.

I had a Nexus 5 that lasted 4.5 years (and did it way more better than my FP2 currently attempts to do now). I have friends with iPhones that made/are making them to last even more than 5 years and they are still able to use almost all of the most common applications that we need nowadays, without the frustration of wasting your time waiting for apps to open and operate.
I think 3.5 years for a mobile it is not that much, especially for a model as expensive as the FP2 was. Furthermore, FP2 was released in Dec 2015, which makes ~4 years today, but mine was already a pain in the ass earlier this year, which was ~3 or ~3.5 years since the release.

Coming to your dad’s computer, I have to say it’s epic!
However a similar case could be the one of only a few of us. Electronics at a certain point just reach their moment of obsolescence and they end their life. It is physiological as for anything on this earth (as you said). Nevertheless I think we should acknowledge the fact that for a so called “durable fair-phone” it is a little embarrassing to reach that point before the 4th year of life. It is not doing anything more than a regular mid-level smartphone, if not claiming to be ethic.

Supporting an ethic project is something I believe it is pretty cool and it’s the reason why, after all, I am still supporting FP (yes guys, in real life, with real people, face to face, I do not complain about the phone and explain only the cool things). They also have great recycle processes. So, at this point, why to focus on the modularity and repairability? Just make us a phone that resists to obsolescence!

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I guess, they are going to do it both.
And I fail to see an antagonism here, as even the problems you describe don’t seem to be rooted in modularity or repairability.
It rather seems like a case of some apps on your phone using up all the resources. There are some kinds of usual suspects, as I learned from this forum.
E.g. the original facebook-app seems to be a beast and should not be used.
Please check what you have installed and which apps are especially demanding on the phone. Maybe the battery usage statistics could be a good indicator. If you have identified a suspect, you could try to disable this app and/or find an alternative for this one, giving you the same functionality, but less troubles.

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Hi BertG! And thanks for the suggestions!

Already got rid of FB, I actually used FB Lite which should be lighter by default. I am also using Bouncer and Greenify to improve performaces of the device, but with no success.
Anyway, I am gonna look more carefully to battery draining applications and let you know.

Still, if I have to get rid of ordinary applications that all the globe is using, then I believe that the mobile is in a state of obsolescence (and this happened at ~3.5 years from the device release, which I believe it is too early). What it seems to me is emerging from this discussion, is that this is partly a problem of applications, since became more and more demanding, and a problem of the device, that is not capable to cope with this demand and that has many many hardware problems that make the situation even worst.

I’d really love to read the take of an Android application developer at this point. Is there a way to precisely describe what is happening to smartphone that enters a state of obsolescence?
What users can do to prevent this as long as possible? How applications should be developed?

I’d also love to read the take of someone working at FP. The mobile has many problems, but I also acknowledge the fact that the company faced many many challenges. Are they really satisfied of their product as it emerges from their narratives and advertisements?
Sometimes I also had the feeling that they should be a little more honest. When they say the mobile is more durable than others on the market, than they should also specify that there are only certain conditions in which this device is actually durable (e.g. get rid of FB). Otherwise I feel a little teased.

And now a question to everyone: how could we set up comparison tests for mobile obsolescence and durability and figure out how are FP1/2/3 doing? I there a way to measure it and did anyone do it before? I tend to believe this would be useful to prove the real value of FP and I guess it is going to be positioned maybe not at the top but in a quite OK position.

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Hi GraceT! Welcome to the forum!
I agree with you that it is not fair to experience so many troubles. Because of this I also feel bad in recommending FB to friends and acquaintances, as you do.
However I really believe that fairer electronics should have a place to be in our future.
I decided to take part to the FP movement and I still don’t feel like giving up with it.

I started this thread in order to try to get a better understanding of FP2 problems and hopefully to identify possible solutions. Still I didn’t get anything working (for me) but I am happy to see you and other people are replying my messages.

I really hope FP3 will be a better device, so I can start with buying one and then recommending it to all the people I know! :slight_smile:

Well, the FP-app-troubles are not unique to Fairphone.
If developers - or in this case a social-media company - bloat their software in a way, that you have to ge a new phone to run it smoothly, you can not tackle this hardwarewise. Getting always high-end hardware is not really a solution, as it is kind of giving in. If you do not really need a special app, then there are always alternatives that focus on being lean or smart instead of having it all; even if you will need only 30% of it.

And I really wouldn’t say the phone is being obsolete, just because Facebook decides to include one more feature plus extensive tracking of me, my device and my behaviour in it’s app. Just switch to an app, that is just giving access to your FP-account and let’s you handle all your interactions.
Based on your reasoning a low-end smartphone would be obsolete from day one.

Finally I would reason, that many a user is handling the smartphone rather careless.
I do not mean to imply, that you do so, it’s just a general remark!
Installing all kinds of apps just for fun, without knowing or caring what they do, how they handle memory and what rights they demand can really spell trouble. Even if an app is not being used, it might interact with some server, cause traffic and decrease SoC performance.
Not to mention problems by interaction/interference between different apps.

As I am no technician, that’s just my perception and I might be wrong.

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You’re right, however we are keeping talking about FB but the point I’m trying to make is that it is a general problem of almost all common applications. I don’t have too many installed though.

I agree with your proposition, good idea but the phone is poor. I have had some of the problems you menton but it was the camera issue I never solved. It hasn’t worked for about a year, before that, the problem was intermitent. Putting pressure on the camera sometimes brought it back but not any more. I think buying a two year old iphone is probably my next move. I will wait a year to see what is said on this forum about FP3, before I bought one. I fully support the ethos of FP, I just want a phone with a camera!
Ken

But, please, keep in mind, that it is the FP2 this talking is about.
And the FP2 was just a step in the development of a fair, sustainable, repairable and modular phone.

From my point of view, it can readily be agreed upon the fact, that the FP2 took the modularity a step to far, thus causing quite a few problems. The loss of connection, e.g. when applying pressure is reactivating the camera, with the FP2 is regularly caused by the fact, that the modules are merely clipped together.
As Bas van Abel puts it in this techcrunch article

Fairphone 2 goes beyond the idea of repairability. It’s more a show off phone in that sense. And that also comes with risks.

With FP3 they have learned their lesson and e.g. fixed the display with 13 screws instead of 2 clips and 4 hooks.

So - in a way - the title of the thread is a bit misleading, when it is referencing just “FP” and not asking, if the FP2 is a failed phone.

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Thing is, Nokia 3310 has networking capabilities, so it is probably not a good idea to use such an out of date device. As soon as something has networking capabilities, it opens an attack vector, which has to be taken into account.

With the Windows 98 computer, you should not plug it into network, true, but you should also not use the USB ports. Keep it completely airgapped. You cannot do that with a smartphone (Librem 5 can with hardware killswitches, other ones have to use software killswitches and it kills primary use cases). You cannot do that with a Bluetooth headset as it kills the primary use case.

I believe the Internet of Shit and everything getting networking opens up a huge can of worms.

Could be, I am actually referring to the company as a whole.
Anyway, I have to buy another phone soon.

This is the list of orders I had to do in order to keep my FP2 functional.
The only “extras” were buying a spare v2 battery and upgraded camera.
The 0€ transactions are payed by customer support.
I had to replace:
1x translucent cover
2x v1 battery
3x bottom module
1x top module

Not to mention that only installing lineage os restored the usability that was completely compromised by the lagging and unstable Android 7 update.

So yes, FP2 undoubtedly failed to deliver the necessary quality of hardware and software