Smartphone failure rates

@douwe great that you bump in that quickly if we call you :wink:
So beside the failure rates of the FP1(U) in general, I think it would be very interesting (and transparent) if you can break down the most often failure reasons (as I assume it will the USB port or the display…), and how you dealt with this (repaired the part, replaced the part, replaced the whole FP)…

Have nice evening at the Heldenmarkt@Berlin!
Cheers, Robert


Hey all,

I am sorry to say that we are currently not capable of providing the details asked for in this thread. The team is working hard to get Fairphone 2 out of the door and getting these numbers require quite an amount of time and attention.

Also in the future I can not guarantee the team will not put priorities elsewhere. Maybe if people here can give me good arguments as to why Fairphone should prioritize this research, I could use that in a team meeting to get the topic higher on our to-do list.


Well if the rates are good, it could be used in marketing. Also, in general, the numbers can be used to do a prognosis on the future demand of spares. Someone else has more and/or better arguments?

Not better, but an additional one:

Fairphone wants to build sustainable and long living smartphones. Empirical findings about what is likely to break can improve future designs (like it already did with the easily replaceable screen in FP2).


Maybe I am a bit naive, but is it not just 10 numbers which you should extract from an excel sheet, which the FP support team should have anyway to preserve repairing overview?
Estimated time: 1h ?

As far as I can see nobody asked for a detailed research report (although it would be nice).

Just numbers about how many FP you got back, how many batteries you already hat to replace, how many displays cracked and maybe not more than 3-4 more points.

But correct me, if I am tooooo naive…
Cheers, Robert


I think it would help with the “lessons learned” process.

A simple “quality” tracking process created now (like the one @therob describes) could later also be reused for the FP2. This again could help with interacting with OEMs to report back possible manufacturing quality issues.


In Fairphone’s latest blog post, @anon48893843 writes the following:

@Douwe, could you please publish these repair statistics?


[My post was flagged as "off-topic. I think it is on topic, because if some part of the FP2 would need a redesign (due to a problematic design, bad part), this could become a problem. This is why I was asking. But feel free to flag again or just send me a private message. I cannot see the reason or who flagged this.]

It would also be interesting to see some clarification about Tina Trinks’ talk “How sustainable is the Fairphone?”. @paulakreuzer reported about the Q&A part of the talk that it’s nearly impossible (money-wise) to fix simple design glitches. Is this true? This would be shocking for further revisions. Also I still do not understand who “owns” the FP2 design.

"The design/patents… cost a lot. I don’t remember the exact sum but in was on the scale of millions. Tina said even slight design changes and new modules would again cost a lot and they don’t have that kind of money just laying around. Atm there are plans for a new camera module but no other changes."
Source: Advocating a FP2 mini


I asked Michiel if we can share those. As soon as I hear from him, you’ll hear from me :slight_smile:


Hi @Douwe, any news on this?


Hey Emmy,

Not really no…
We looked into it, but it is not that easy to just copy from one excel sheet. Parts for self-repair, in- and out- of warranty repairs, false positives (stuff send in for repair, but not broken) and repairs by third repair parties or us all go in different files.

We currently have no time to combine these and make a report that makes sense to publish. Hopefully sometime soon we can raise it to a higher priority on our to-do list.



Hi there,

meanwhile waiting for the numbers, maybe these links are interesting about smartphones in general:

Return Statistics/numbers of a smartphone repairshop: (in german)

General smartphone statistics:

Android return report (a bit outdated from 2011, but still interesting):

Apple iPhone Stats:
"…Within one year, roughly 30 percent of iPhones will suffer accidental damage."

From 2013:


Related to this, apparently the FP2 has a DOA rate of around 1% (see post linked below). I realise that DOA is not quite the same as failure in the longer term, but still.


Someone commented over on the other thread that 1% seemed like a terrible rate - or perhaps that the fact that 1% is normal seems terrible, I’m not sure.

At any rate: I wonder if the rate will stay the same with an increase in production numbers, or if rather the absolute number of DOA phones will stay similar, making the rate decrease? Meaning: 1% at 40,000 phones is 400 that are DOA. If they now produce 140,000 phones, will 1400 of them be DOA, or still roughly 400, which would then be 0.3%?

Is there anyone who knows how these things usually work? I suppose it depends largely on the causes of phones being DOA…

I believe that comment was based on personal feelings rather than any statistical evidence. I don’t have any experience myself, buy when @anon48893843 says 1% is rather normal I tend to believe him.

Oh, I wasn’t trying to question what Michiel had said. Rather just wondering if the normality of that rate is somehow based on the number of phones produced or not. After all, economies of scale have all sorts of effects, it wouldn’t surprise me if they would also have an effect on rates of DOA phones.

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Sorry Douwe, using different Excel files as reason not knowing failure rates is weak. Due to the modular structure every replacement part sold a single failure. In/out warranty: at the moment all repairs on the FP2 are under full warranty, so unless the phone is returned within the grace period they are also in the failure-rate list.
So doing a bit of math (you sell the phone as modular) you could say that the failure rate equals the sum of all spare parts you sold.

Up until now this topic has mainly been about which parts failed most in the FP1, for which the repairs are a bit more complex as modularity wasn’t part of the design in the same way as it was for the FP2.
I added the FP2 DOA rate as it is currently the only data that’s on the forum. Apologies if this has muddied the conversation a bit…

ok, point taken. But then we know how to do the math for FP2 :wink: