English

My summary about the whole FP1 thing


#9

Hi @White,

I want you to know that your concerns are heard here in the Fairphone team. I’ve read and responded to many questions, complaints and messages over the years since we started in 2013. And while it can be overwhelming to process all the feedback, as community manager I use your community feedback when we work to improve communication, when we need an outside perspective at decision-making meetings and as a gauge to make sure the company is held accountable for our actions (and words).

The dreams and ideals of Fairphone in 2013 were huge - make an open-source, repairable phone that is fair to the people in the supply chain who make it, as well as the customers who crowdfunded it.

From those high ambitions, there was disappointment. I acknowledge your disappointment and on behalf of Fairphone I want to apologize. I’d like to encourage an open dialogue and critical remarks, so below I’ll reply to your concerns.


In our communication (or what some may call marketing), we try to stay positive and in many instances in blogs or newsletters we thank our first Fairphone owners for allowing us to make a second phone and exist as a social enterprise. But I can understand that if you feel like Fairphone misled you that you just want an apology. On that front, we have communicated and apologized about the Fairphone 1 chipset issue in a December 2013 newsletter to all owners, and regarding the software situation in a December 2014 blog. I’m not trying to discredit your feelings of disappointment and don’t want to sound defensive, but I do want to mention instances for the record where Fairphone communicated these issues to the community and owners.

Right now, the team is working on a blog to explain the current situation for Fairphone 1 support and our work to match the software on Fairphone 2 with our goals of transparency, ownership and openness on software. But there are relationships and agreements with third parties that affect what information we can share and when. So I do not want to put an estimated time when these blogs will come out.

I want to talk about the topic of the use of adhesives on the display with the glass and the touch sensor*. I have discussed this with members of the product team, and I learned that such a scenario where the glass and the touch sensor are NOT glued together is almost non-existent in the industry. Therefore, the adhesive between the touch sensor and glass is an industry standard and even if we wanted to change it, it’s not happening overnight. Still, the design of the Fairphone 2 is a large step for repairability. We’re enabling a tool-less repair for the screen that users can do themselves in just a few minutes, one of the most common needs of phone repair.

I hope I’ve addressed your concerns, and showed that we’re committed to improving communication as we move forward. Thanks for your comments and keeping us fresh.

Best,
Joe

*I changed “touchscreen” to “touch sensor” to be more precise. The entire display could be considered a “touchscreen” when the glass and touch sensor are combined.


#10

Thanks @joe. It is such communcation that makes a difference.

Quite interesting. I wanted to asked Miquel at the Posteo Lab presentation about the glass, but somehow forgot about it.


#11

Hi Joe,
will the FP2 already come with some spare display-units? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
While I can understand that a broken screen is one of the most common repair issues (had that myself only recently with my FP1) I still think (or hope) it doesn’t happen so frequently to a single person, that the need for a screwdriver would be asked too much when replacing the display-unit.
Personally, I would’ve preferred a lighter and thinner device to one where I can tool-less remove the display.

But that’s just my personal opinion.


#12

Thanks Joe, I agree with Ben that your input here really does matter.

When I outlined my personal views above, I tried to magnify those point that, when thinking back about the process so far, led to some feeling of annoyance. As a result my comments on the chipset issue may have been formulated a bit strongly. I have since been able to find that e-mail (I was searching in the wrong language) and it does offer an apology. I was going by the discussion on XDA which happened a couple of days before Fairphone updated us via e-mail (which is a reasonable time window). By my comment on the FP1U having the other chipset at a lower price I tried to convey that the combination of these events could easily leave people wondering. I should qualify that the price difference is not strange (exchange rates change, volumes change, etc.).

I’m not trying to say that communication is/was bad. I’m outlining why for me, and judging by some comments on the forums for others, it has on occasion led to frustration. Part of that is that I couldn’t find the reason for the glass change. The explanation you offer is valuable, and shows what the advantage would be, but that it didn’t work for a specific reason.* Thank you for that! I’m just saying it would be great to easily find out about these considerations.

I appreciate that a lot of the community feedback has been taken on board. I’ve seen some blog posts that I think were clearly influenced by concerns raised in the community. They are very welcome.

Keep up the good work!


*On that note - many people here feel connected to whole process towards fairer and more durable phones and understand that these things go step by step (buy a phone, start a movement). What struck me about the blog post on Fairphone 2 design and the designing the next fairphone post before that was that there was no mention about lessons learnt from the FP1 (or the FP1 at all), where I do have the feeling it has been a massive learning experience - based on sections in other blog posts. Maybe I just missed an overview of how how the FP2 is influenced by FP1 - if it exists I would be grateful if anyone can point me to it. I’m not saying there has to be one (and I appreciate that it is a new design), I’m just curious…


#13

i would love to read such a post.


#14

Do you know there is a running poll about our wishes for the next FP2 “alternative OSes”?
You can go there and vote. I definitely support Sailfish, and I discovered there is a very large consensus on it apparently…


#15

Ok Uwe @White,
seriously, what’s the point of your post? It’s not that YOU or me made possible the first Fairphone. Yes, we paid for the vision of a fairer phone. No one paid a million like you stated. Everyone just paid 325 €. That’s not cheap, that’s not expensive. What in the world do you think while crying in your keyboard like this? A little company (barely a company at all) tries to challenge one of the world’s biggest branch of industry, delivers an affordable and still more or less up to date phone. I know that it has its issues and I sometimes think ‘what in the world is so hard about providing a working gps?’ But to ask the people from Fairphone to say sorry is just ridiculous!! Just sell it and get the FP2 like I did. You still get a lot for it. Saying sorry for not reaching every bit of all announced goals …being more German is absolutely impossible.

Best wishes from Hamburg.


#16

One should not leave unmentioned, that that “very large consensus” you’re talking of seems not to be representative:


#17

@starfury:
No, the FP2 will not come with spare display units included with each order. That would be a bit excessive, right?

@Johannes:
I totally understand, and I think with any crowdfunding campaign, there’s going to be disappointment as plans/announcements change etc. Doubly so for electronics products. So I expect the criticism.

As for your comment about ‘what we’ve learned’, I do think we’ve addressed a couple points in blogs (like about the choice of Qualcomm) but I hear from you guys that a post specifically about “What we learned from FP1 to FP2” could be helpful so I’ll circulate it around the team.

I imagine you mean product design (screen size, GPS, 4G chipset, Bluetooth etc) but do you also mean what we learned in the supply chain, growing up as a startup etc? That would be a pretty massive blog. :smile:


#18

Here – at least myself – we were talking about lessons learned in terms of the product. However elsewhere, we’ve also mentioned the second possibility, to learn about interesting insights in what Fairphone has learned in terms of supply chain, industry, mining, whatnot.

I’m aware of many of these points that you’ve mentioned in publications throughout the years. Still, especially in light of Fairphone’s original mission (to shed light on workings of industry) it would be very interesting to see a listing of all these minor points which don’t fill their own blog post.

It would not only help outsiders to learn these details about the smartphone industry, it might also help your team internally to make these issues explicit and not forget them.


#19

@joe: I agree with what @jftr says. Over the years we’ve seen some nice blog posts about the larger issues you mention. As an example I would mention the interesting post about the decision to switch away from Guohong and what this means for social responsibilities that were addressed by the workers fund. This post is also clear in regards to what was learnt, and what was achieved (see ‘Achievements, challenges and lessons for future partnerships’) - I found this particularly interesting to read.
I guess now I’m mainly curious what was learnt from the design (even though it was licensed) and production of the FP1 that was used in the design of the FP2. I believe the FP1 was an essential step in the process of moving towards an own design - I’m not sure you’d have designed the same FP2 without experience learned from the FP1 (other than issues in raising capital, now being a more established brand). For example, there may have been issues with e.g. the FP1 screen (difficult to source, so switch to more common size?) or batteries that led to decisions to do things differently in the FP2. (I only mention these as examples - though now I’m curious what the most common repairs / warranty issues are for the FP1 and whether that is something addressed by the design of the FP2) I do realise it is not the best-defined topic, hence my earlier comment that I did not necessarily expect there to be a topic that dealt with this.

I hope this gives you a bit of an idea of what I meant - I do apologise if I’m incoherent.
Also, I’m probably going to be offline for the next weeks, if I don’t contribute to the discussion here I promise I’m not sulking in disappointment!


#20

I would like to (again) point to this topic:

What are the actual FP1(U) failure rates? What is the mossy common cause? Etc. @Joe, please give us all the information you can source!


#21

Some words about the transparency of Fairphone’s components and their origin

I read many complains in the blog that Fairphone promises/promised 100% transparency about all the materials, components and parts - where they are from, what they are made off, where and how were the raw materials mined… - and that Fairphone failed.

Well, they failed indeed, but I think that no-one in this start-up was aware what they had promised.
I work in electronic engineering and development for electronic control units in a global automotive company. 300.000 employees worldwide, 35 billion Euro turnover every year, super-high standards about quality, traceability of every single chip resistor and transparency down to sub-sub-sub-suppliers.

And even we do not know where all our components or raw materials are from. Suppliers buy from different sources, sub-suppliers, service-providers,… they buy from mixed pools, mix materials in their production lines, make pools on their own,…
In case of problems or recalls, this lack of knowledge has cost us millions of Euros. We made huge efforts, but we are still no able to look through!

In my experience, the idea of total transparency is as honorable as impossible. I don’t blame Fairphone for failing. This is when idealism meets reality. Sad, but true. :disappointed_relieved:


#22

Still they do much more for a good transparency than I’m used to from other companies. I have never seen any product pages of Samsung, Apple, HTC and whoknowswhatelse with a link to the cost breakdown or articles about where the phone is manufactured and backgrounds of mining. I think it is Fairphone’s aim to reach the maximum amount of transparency while knowing they probably never reach 100% (as you said). Can you refer to a specific source where you read the 100%-promise? I’m not quite sure whether they ever promised that :slight_smile:


#23

According to my knowledge, Fairphone never wrote “100% transparency”, but I have got the feeling that some authors in this blog expected something when reading headline like this “Supply chain transparency - Tracing materials back to the source” and thus were disappointed.

I also remember that the FP1 was advertised with more transparency than other companies (which means more than 0, but not 100%).


#24

just chiming in with my experience. thx to fairphone for responding here.

I was a relatively early adopter of Android. I got a Motorola Droid X in fall 2010. There was Droid, Droid 2, a couple different regional versions, and Droid X. So this was like Droid 3, though later there actually was a phone called Droid 3 …

Initially my problem was, there’s a bunch of crap on this phone! How to remove it? This led me to discovery the wide blogging and forum communities, and rooting. I ended up running CyanogenMod 7 on Droid X for several years. DX came with Froyo 2.2, CyanogenMod 7 was Gingerbread. There were some quirks because Motorola did not open their boot loader, but ppl hacked it and made ROMs possible, and there was a lot of customization made possible by CM.

Eventually I got used to the missing features of CM on Droid X, and learned to ignore newer apps in Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat.

Then I got Fairphone, wow Jelly Bean! Cool! It is weird and I personally prefer ADW Launcher, but it is new and I am trying out Fairphone OS.

Ultimately yes I was saddened too to take a step backwards in software freedom. However having a vendor, Fairphone, moving in the correct direction, is a big step. They made root. They unlocked the boot loader. They allow switching SIM cards, which is not common in the US. Basically their focus on fair minerals eclipsed firmware and software. And that’s OK, because that was the point of the project: to bring justice to the supply chain. Other players do software freedom better then Fairphone right now. But they are the best at ensuring fair trade minerals, for gold tantalum tin and … 1 other, even though there are many more components to be fairly sourced, and even though there are many more steps to be taken with software freedom.

Thx for pointing out F-Droid in this thread, it really is a good solution. Personally I still depend on Google App Store, but I use FDroid for research to find out which apps have developers who care about open source.


#25

@White / Uwe
what I find a bit strange is that you join this forum to post your “summary on the whole FP thing” - but don’t even ackknowledge the many answers from @Joe / Fairphone and others you get here (the opening post seems to be your only one in the forum).
It’s easy to list long complaints, but then withdraw from the following constructive discussion is bad style.
btw I also bought the FP1 in the first round, but even though some things are not perfect (welcome to technical life) I find it quite weird to ask for an apology, - or a written summary of all “lessons learned”.

@JonathanSchreiber das mit dem ,Deutsch’ hatte ich auch gedacht :wink:


#26

There’s now a blog post on this topic here. (Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but this does complete the story!)
Also: thanks Joe!


#27

When reading this post I had thought about this very wish. However I did not remember which thread it was in and thus was not able to thank for it here. Thanks, @Johannes, for digging it up :slight_smile:

And, of course, thanks @joe for fulfilling the humble request.


#28

Yes! Glad you liked it :slight_smile: