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Proving our case: Fairphone 2 is sold out

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#43

Just curious: how many of those 5 years did the phone receive updates and how long were spare parts sold?
Not knowing all details it seems to me that you were kind of lucky that no problems occurred. That kind of luck can happen with any phone :wink:
It actually did with my FP1 which is now well over 5 years old. Spare parts were discontinued somewhere in 2017, the last software update was even before that. And if I remember correctly they stopped selling the FP1 early 2015. Which means my FP1 is still doing fine around 4 years after it has last been sold.
So from my perspective the end-of-sales isn’t neccessarily a disappointment. Even less so as this time around the software support has improved significantly and the company was able to secure spare parts for several years.

On another note I find the FP3 is almost overdue. I think the FP2 is not really competitive if compared to new phones at half the price. I wouldn’t blame anyone being suspicous that the FP2 wouldn’t receive any more updates because the whole industry essentially doesn’t provide more than 2 major version upgrades. The Android One program represents the longest update guarantee you can get and that just means major upgrades for 2 years, security updates for 3. From the time the phone was initially sold, not when the customer buys it.
On social media I usually see the complaint that the FP2 is just at Android 7 while 9 is current. People don’t trust 4 year old hardware with a 2 year old operating system to last them for a handful of years. That’s why I think the FP3 is important now. And I’m pretty much in favor of calling it FP3, even if it was module-compatible with the FP2 (and would be some kind of FP 2.1 if you will). With a 2 in the name I would fear confusion and people might mistake it for a 2015 model when in fact it is a 2019.

Sorry Fabrice if I posted all this as a reply to your post when half of what I wrote is related to this thread in general and not to what you have said.

P.S.: what I slightly agree with is the disappointment some people expressed because of Fairphone not being specific on what happens next. “Future products” is pretty vague. Of course I could be wrong, but I’m quite sure we will see an FP3 in 2019. But what the specs will be at the moment all seems speculation at best. And I don’t fear the support for the FP2 will be dropped once the FP3 comes out.
Still, not a good time for anyone who considered buying a Fairphone recently. Not knowing how long one would have to wait and what exactly will be released is frustrating I guess.


#44

What is luck for other compagnies products should be normality for Fairphone. Furthermore it was one of the main marketing arguments : you will keep your phone longer. I had a mobile number since 22 years and Fairphone 2 is my sixth phone. Do you think was I lucky 6th times ? So what I expect is based on what a reasonnable product cycle of life is if you want to respect our environnement and my wallet.
I’m totally surprise to read that some people change their phone every 6 months ! In this way It is not so complicated to be a substainable brand if your product is sold 3 years.
I remember when I bought my FP2 that the lock screen was counting 2 things :
1/ the time between 2 uses.
2/ the time since you buy the phone.
For me message of the Fairphone compagny with this 2 widgets was : “Use your phone as less as possible. Keep it for ever.”

I’m sad to hear that it could be for technical competitive reasons (Android 7, old chipset…) that FP2 is a stopped. For me FP2 is competitive for other reasons such as fairtrade work and components, repairablity, DIY mood, etc. Around me, specially increasing since last year, I saw people hesitating to buy a Fairphone 2. For people who didn’t buy it the main 2 reasons was : the battery (technical reason), the delay to receive the phone (marketing reason). So I observe that some people are ready to buy a 3 years old phone beacause its conception is unique and also because now phones are so powerfull for common use that age doesn’t matter.

But if FP3 is just a FP2 with an upgraded motherboard, no problem for me. As you say at the end, what we need now is more details from Fairphone about their strategy. Maybe we’re worried for nothing.


#45

Did you read this on the FP1?


#46

I am really lost here:
Why is it a problem for quite a few people, that the FP2 is discontinued - productionwise?
The phone is still supported and thus kept alive for all happy owners; by further software development as well as by spare parts and repairs.
Therefore I can wholeheartedly say, that they live up to everything they promised when I bougt the phone some 3 years ago.

Fairphone still is a company and has to keep an eye on the balance sheet or they will go out of business.
The market for the FP2 is shrinking rapidly, as hard- and software are getting outdated; some even would say, they are already no longer good enough.
Producing another batch would most likely mean to produce some phones they will not be able to sell or - at least - not at a price that is covering the costs. Just do a search on the forum for questions regarding the FP3; especially users asking when it will be available and if buying a FP2 is still advisable. This kind of question has been asked for a while already. And I would expect Fairphone to have done some research or at least taken a look at sales statistics (probably by resellers as well).

Therefore a new model is aboslutely the way to go in my opinion. There have been quite a few complaints and flaws regarding the FP2, like the battery, the fragile bottom module, camera quality, reboots … All those problems can be solved with a new model by changing the design. Furthermore features can be added like NFC or wireless charging.
And - not least important - Fairphone is acting on their own decisions and following their own timetable; they don’t wait until they are forced by market demand to do something. If they wait with presenting a new model until they really have to, because the FP2 is virtually no longer marketable, they most likely will loose big money.
And having sold all the FP2, there is no phone wasted.

Well, that’s just a few aspects that should be considered, when critzising the decision to go for the FP3 while still supporting the FP2 in every possible way.


#47

Ok, so the Fairphone 2 is not manufactured anymore, but a Fairphone 3 is not available yet. Luckily for me, Lenovo started to roll-out the Android 8.1-update for the Moto G4 Plus in Germany this week (after 1,5 years of waiting, and one year since the last normal security update), so my “old” phone will last for some more time (hopefully years, not months), but - what 's up with FP3? Any information available?


#48

“Fairphone is still a company” - a company not selling any product will definitly go out of business!


#49

As we don’t know the business plan, everything is just speculation.
My reasoning would be that:

  1. Producing another batch of FP2 (about 20.000 I would say) comes at some certain costs. I have no idea, if they are still covered by the actual, reduced price of 399,- Euro. Hopefully, there still is a small margin, otherwise every reasoning ends right there.
  2. They are already working on the new FP3 and most likely will present it later this year or early next year the latest.
  3. As soon as the FP3 is on the market, sales of the FP2 will come to a certain end (unless the price is dropped below production costs). Sales will already decrease a lot, as everyone who is in no hurry will wait for the new phone. In addition quite a few customers having bought a FP2 would have waited for the FP3 as well and bought one of those phones (that will be creating more income for FP than the old FP2). Especially so, since the FP2 is still available at some resellers.

In the end Fairphone will most likely start losing (lots of) money as soon as they start manufacturing another round of FP2.

When it comes to the next model, I expect another kind of crowdfunding pre-order phase.
For the time in between they should have collected enough money to make it through this period.

If anything, this statement makes me suspect, that the next phone is quite near. They might wait to announce the new phone, until the resellers are virtually sold out as well, not to destroy their market.


#50

It may not even be possible anymore to restart production of the current design, because some parts used in the FP2 are no longer available. For both the FP1 and the FP2, Fairphone has faced situations where a supplier would stop producing a part and offer Fairphone to place one final order.

As soon as FP’s stocks of those parts run out, either production has to end or the phone has to be redesigned. And some of these events already happened during the first year of production of the FP2, now nearly four years ago.

Luckily the financial situation of Fairphone is much better than it was during FP1 and FP2 production, thanks to the crowdfunding campaign and recent investment round. They’re now able to keep larger stocks to prevent future problems.


#51

Smartphones are subject to much harsher environments then PCs, and to a much quicker development cycle. This might change in the future, but at the moment, 10 years is a good goal, but 4 years are already an achievement.


#52

Ok, for me it was clear, that this has to happen at some point in time.
Fairphone has over-fulfilled the promise given (Android 6).
I’m still happy with my FP2 (bought in the pre-order phase; got Jan. 2016) and currently see no reason to replace it.
Thanks and good luck with the next steps !
Martin


#53

Yes and… no. All your reasoning is based on the fact that the FP2 doesn’t bring much money now. The thing is, we don’t know, only Fairphone knows. We could think that now the FP2 is quite mature and costs less than when it was launched. And software upgrades are more interesting to do if you have more phones on the market.

Especially, you’re omitting a point: reducing the price of the FP2 can create new clients. I wanted a Fairphone for a long time, but it always was too expensive. When the price dropped to 400€, I bought one! Even if the phone motherboard was pretty old and I knew a FP3 was probably coming, there is room for a FP2 at 400€ and a FP3 at 600€. Sure, some people will wait for the FP3 to have a more recent phone. But others like me who don’t want to put 600€ on a phone will be happy to still find FP2 at a lower price. So if Fairphone can reduce the costs of the FP2 to something very low, they should continue to sell it, at a low price (but still with a margin, of course).


#54

However Fairphone will not sell any FP2 anymore like mentioned in the article. There are some FP2 left to buy from resellers, though.


#55

I was actually trying to get to that by my question (you didn’t respond to that), because I think there are at least 3 aspects of longevity for electronical devices.

  1. “Hard” longevity, i.e. how long it takes until a certain piece breaks (there are physical/chemical limits to that)
  2. How the company handles breaking devices/parts
  3. “Soft” longevity, i.e. stuff that makes people abandon/dump working devices

I’m not in hardware development/manufacturing, so I can only guess. Maybe it’s a little naive, but why should e.g. a Snapdragon 801 SoC last longer when it’s used inside a FP2 compared to any other smartphone model by another company?
And out of curiosity: when you assume that a long lasting device should last twice as long as “regular” devices, is that a gut feeling or is that some kind of experience with things other than smartphones?

The second item is basically the background of my question earlier: did your other phone receive regular updates and would it have been possible to still repair it after 5 years and at what price?
Fairphone provides spare parts to end users at reasonable price (I once saw someone complaining on Twitter because Apple wanted to charge him between 400€ and 500€ for a cracked screen because he didn’t have Apple Care), also provides repair instructions/videos, doesn’t require fancy repair tools and also doesn’t glue things together. About how long other companies provide repair/spare parts I’m not sure, that’s why I asked for your experience.
Here I see a big difference between Fairphone and other companies. And for me personally that warrants calling it long-lasting.

And with “soft” longevity I mean that Fairphone does not release one or more models each year, creating the fear of missing out/feeling of “must have it”. They actively encourage you to keep your phone longer.
Here again Fairphone is a lot different from other companies.

But I’m not 100% sure where I would place “software updates” among the three listed items.
In any case, Fairphone is above average here as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m opposed to the desire of keeping a smartphone for 10 years. I just find it highly unrealistic in the current circumstances. And I’d rather have Fairphone taking small, doable steps towards that goal (while keeping an eye on conflict minerals and working conditions as well; something which for me is even more important) than trying to fix everything at the same time too soon and risking going out of market.

Oh, and there might even be a fourth aspect of longevity: maturity of the industry as a whole.
Smartphones are a rather young type of device. And as for each new invention, at the beginning there is much progress. Just remember the big differences between 8086, 80286 and 80386 based computers back then. Each was a big leap. You got vastly more computing/graphics power, storage space, new peripherals by just waiting one year. And sometimes you simply couldn’t do certain things with old hardware and you “needed” to upgrade.
The same thing happens with smartphones. I assume the difference between a FP2 (a 2015/2016 device) and a smartphone of 2019 will be a lot bigger than the difference between the same 2019 device and one released in 2022.
So I assume with maturity of the industry as a whole it will become more easy to keep your phone longer automatically. And eventually we will reach devices that last 10 years. Here I can imagine Fairphone to be among the first, but I can’s say with which model (FP4 or FP5?).


#56

Sounds plausible for most products, but is hardly in line with the cost-breakdown from the times when the phone still cost 525,- Euro.


#57

I just searched for devices released with Android 8/9 having a replaceable battery and found exactly one model. So I guess the trend is towards batteries glued into the phone. I’m afraid maturity of the industry is not helping here. Of course you can always ask a technician to disassemble your phone and swap the battery, but most people would probably spend that money on a new model.
FP3 will have to make the difference …


#58

Good point.

Out of curiosity: which phone you found has still a replaceable battery.


#59

@Ingo LG K10 (2017) … but LG does not make it into the most ethical companies short list according to the good shopping guide …


closed #60

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