Questioning design choices for the FP2?

I temporarily left the boat as I sold my FP1. Mainly, I was very unhappy with the GPS capacity. It was no use to me during my possibly once-in-a-lifetime stay in New York City where I had eagerly counted on it to get me from A to B; I also need GPS daily to monitor and record the large amount of cycling I do. So I did my bit for recycling and sustainability by selling it to a charming young lady. I then started putting money aside for months to buy the FP2 only to find out that it would be a 5inch screen. I really dislike big phones so gave up on the idea. However on the very last pre-order day, I eventually gave in and shelled out the 525 Euros because Fairphone is a fantastic adventure and I did not want to be left out of it. I am now questioning my decision for the following reason:
-A month to distribution and we haven’t had a single demo/video of the operating system, the interface, or any clue of how the next FP will work.
-I am wondering whether our money has been spent wisely on the design of that phone. One example: there is in my household a 5-year old Samsung Galaxy S2. I bought it second-hand about 3 years ago. It has belonged to my wife for most of its time with us, then I had it for a few months whilst waiting for my FP1, tempered with it in many unimaginable ways (dropped, dismantled, unlocked bootloader, rooted, bricked, tested many custom roms…) now it’s with my son living a happy life with a custom Lollipop 5.1 – nothing ever broke!
Why spend so much resources on making it so modular? How likely is any part other than the screen or the battery to break or die? Is that not a statement that they have little faith in the quality of their components? I imagine that it would have made more sense to have spent the money on high quality components that we are confident will not break down, and built a phone with only screen and battery easily replaceable, and a 20mpx future-proof camera. The end result would have probably been a more attractive, slimmer and possibly less expensive device!
Not criticizing ( I am one of the buyers after all), only thinking aloud - what’s your opinions?..

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Isn’t this normal with croudfunding? You pay something before it exists. And it will be delivered as soon as it is produced. Therefore, there can not be enough time to make such video etc between the first production and the delivery.
The only solution would be to keep the FP2 in stock for some time, before delivering. I can’t imagine anybody being happy with that :smile:

As far as I understand, much attention was given to high-quality components that should last long. But I can’t imagine every phone would survive as long as your Samsung S2 has. Broken screens are the most common problem, so the screen is very easy to replace. But an usb connector getting loose and many other things like this do happen. Even with top-end components. And in that case, I guess everyone would be happy to see these components can be replaced easily because they are not glued together!

On top of this, it also allows to upgrade your phone. I imagine your S2 doesn’t run as fast as it used to anymore? What if you could upgrade it so its speed would be as good as new?


I was one of the first purchasers of the FP1 and I can remember that we DID get photos and videos of the OS way before it was distributed - you can probably still find them on Vimeo and Youtube. As for my prehistorical Galaxy S2, it necessarily is slower but I can’t tell in what way, and it is running the very latest version of Android! I guess my use of a smartphone does not evolve as fast as the technology enabling it…

See the rest of this Forum for examples of those. Accidents do happen and parts do fail - I’ve had phones for 8+ years, but others for less than 1 year. The larger the amount of modules, the lower the repair or upgrade cost, but the higher the initial purchase cost. There’s a balance there somewhere.

Personally, on a 5 inch device I don’t care that much about how slim it is, as it is quite large anyway. I usually prefer sturdiness to lightness (lugging a 20+ kg bike up the hill to work everyday), and function over attractiveness. But all of these are very much personal.

By the way, why is a 20 mpx camera more future proof? I’m still using an 8 mpx DSLR camera and I get good prints out of it. If new optics come out, or different sensor techs that work better in low light then those would probably be superior to a 20 mpx module that doesn’t have those technologies. What I’m saying is, it’s difficult to predict in which direction people want to upgrade, because we just don’t know what future developments there will be. Another example is processors: there was a huge drive to increase single clock speeds, and then suddenly everything was being sold on number of cores rather than speed.

Anyway, what I also wanted to add - and I’m not saying you should do this: As you may be aware, if you do end up having buyer’s remorse, you can still cancel your order by contacting support, even up to two weeks after the phone has been delivered. The latter is explained here. You legally don’t even have to motivate your decision to do so.
Also, if you’re afraid of the FP2 being disappointing in use, it’s probably better to not pre-order but wait for user experiences to flood the forum first. They plan on producing up to 140.000 device per year…


I know about the rights to return the item, I have 12 years of experience in customer service, so that’s not the issue. I purchased it on the last minute because I had put the money aside anyway and I opted for trying it out myself rather than waiting for other’s feedback. What I am really after is other people’s opinion’s on my theory of design. I only mention the 20mpx camera because that is the current standard. Why using an up-to-date processor on one hand but an outdated spec-ed camera on the other hand? What is the design and economics logic behind using a camera with a resolution that was top-spec 5 years ago with the intention of upgrading it later?..

Regarding the camera of the FP2, there is an interesting discussion happening over there:

I don’t feel an 8mp camera is outdated. MP counts are vastly, terribly overrated anyway.


I think the question of design in terms of the modularity is very interesting. Other modular phone designs are out there and in progress (this should be the first to deliver anything meaningful!), however they are aimed at consumerism… So their modularity isn’t about repairability, is about upgradability.

I think what Fairphone have created allows for both but with upgradability as a consequence rather than anything else. I think we will see upgrade modules in future but I would expect the core focus to remain on the longevity of the device. Where this goes in future is down to how well it’s adopted and whether there is demand.


I can see your point. I’ve also used phones for years without a single broken screen although I have dropped some of them quite frequently. However this is only anectodal evidence. You have to look at the larger picture. How many teenagers do you see in public with broken screens because they dropped their iPhone once and can’t afford to replace the screen? I see them on a daily basis. And mind: The iPhone is certainly a high quality device and it doesn’t break easily (just like your S2). But on the large scale - if you count the billions of smarphones in daily use - millions and millions of phones break regularly. This will always happen: Sometimes because they get dropped and sometimes just because statistically a certain percentage of the components always fails (even 0.01% of a billion is still 100000). That’s why reparing phones is such a big industry. Fairphone tries to tackle both those issues by making it cheaper and easier to replace some parts of the phone without the user having to replace the entire device or paying someone to repair it. Now I haven’t even started on the possibility of upgrades.

Although I did not order a Fairphone 2 myself, I think the modularity of it is great.