Well, it is easier for the manufacturer to reuse working components of an old device than for a user. Of course, the ideal thing is retrofitability, which you say is not possible - with the current technology, maybe in the future…
Swapping is making things easier. Not everyone has the means to resell his own phone. There could be restrictions - no swapping of devices before a certain age. And there really is such restriction in FP as they launch a product every 3-4 years or so.
Actually, many people keep their phone while its working properly, not only FP users. They save money that way. The circular economy is actually a very old thing, even if people didn’t have much environmental consciousness… And this is personally what I have always done, regardless of the brand of my phone.
The problem when you try to do this while keeping with FP or Shiftphone is that you have to assume staying for 2 months without a smartphone which is something most people cannot accept nowadays, because in most places you can’t just go to a shop right away and buy a new FP or Shiftphone (actually this is why I couldn’t give an opportunity to the latter).
And then again the device should be reliable and durable. I see this as more important than modularity and this is why I want to understand why this movement puts modularity as the top priority - is it really sustainability or also tech geekiness?
As with any sustainable industrial product, price will always be key, and I think you shouldn’t blame the user. When I say price I mean price for the same performance, durability, etc. If you can’t make it cheaper or better, at least make it more reliable, durable and easy to repair when this is needed.
When I had a problem with my FP2 I had the impression the service really didn’t know what was going on, so they don’t really know how their product works. They basically asked me to disassemble and assemble it again, and it didn’t work.
You are right in that such a product was not fit for a wider market. So I really hope FP3 is not like FP2 for those of you who decided to stick with it.