Subscription model to continue FP1 development

Hi Paul,

thanks for this and apologies for coming across disrespectful. That was not my intention and I could have informed myself about the different roles of community and FP support. Point taken.

But apart from this, there seems to be a disagreement on the symbolic nature of this issue.
My point is not so much about me being upset that I have to get a new phone (which I apparently have to), but a general concern that this is an extremely heavy blow to the credibility of the whole project. :frowning:


I don’t know who you mean by “he”, but as I said that would just be displays and not cover their storage for 3,5 years. Actually if 3500 is the minimum to order then that will probably mean much higher per piece prices than I calculated above - and then new screens but no new main modules wouldn’t be much help either - that would only bring more imbalance to the unofficial #market.
So all together I’d guess we are talking about 3-500.000€ and a chance that much of it will go to waste if they won’t sell 3500 displays and x core modules in the next years.

Now let’s say - although that was not the original idea - the subscription fee would cover the spare parts and 3500 people subscribe, they’d have to pay about 1000€ in 3 years for the hardware alone. And then of course they’d expect to get replacements for free - at least one display and one core module in 3 years. So FP would only make money from FP1 users who buy spare parts that don’t have the subscription. That profit could compensate for the extra money everybody would have to pay due to decreasing number of subscribers over time - but probably not more.
So I’d expect the subscription fee to be around 350€ per year - that’s more than the original price of the FP1!

No worries, you didn’t. :slight_smile:

Not being able to unconditionally support the FP1 as long as they hoped for is surely one of the biggest regrets of the FP team so far, but if you consider the whole story then I wouldn’t say it hurts their credibility:

  • FP was started as a movement to raise awareness about conflict minerals - and that always continued to be the main goal.
  • They learned they’d have to produce their own phones to be able to even learn all they had to to bring transparency about the supply chains, so they bought the license for an old chinese phone and started producing it with their own supply chain.
  • They had the very ambitious goal to keep supporting the phone for as long as possible to reduce e-waste.
  • They were (and still kind of are) a small company without much experience and without a lot of power to demand things from the big players - so they didn’t have much say when Mediatek didn’t supply them with their source code.
  • They did all they can do to keep providing spare parts and hired a software developer that who was originally a community member to port Android 4.4.4.
  • With all that in mind it’s actually quite a success that they managed to make provide support this long - even if it’s less than everybody hoped for.
  • They have learned a lot that they could have done better and applied that knowledge to the FP2.
  • They now provide FP1 owners with options in case their phones die: the #market, recycling programs, refurbished FP2s at reduced rates and maybe an FP3 that will come in 2018 and will be more low end than the FP2 again.

OK, so according to your calculation (total of EUR 500,000.00 for 60,000 phones), that would be around EUR 8.33 per phone. Double or triple this, and I am sure it is still affordable.

Now, you and @Douwe know very well that so many Fairphone 1 users are in desperate need of a new display. Would you both like to tell them to throw their phone away? That really is waste for them if it cannot be repaired.

Please forgive my impertinence, but Fairphone definitely screwed it up… :worried:

I was not advocating a subscription; the cost breakdown for Fairphone 1 just does not integrate after-sales support for spare parts for a longer period of time. This case has been underestimated.

I forgot to take my irony tag with me, did not know that I would need it today, sorry about that… :smirk:

Not completely true: Fairphone does have access to the FP1 source code, but they are not allowed to publish it. In response to the other post: This also makes LineageOS near to impossible. (Someone has tried Lollipop and provides an in-depth explanation why it doesn’t work here.)

I’m sure you mean 4.2 because:

…is not possible because the latest alpha pre3 itself is Android Kitkat 4.4.2.

Unfortunately this “test build” hasn’t been released. So at the moment there is no 4.4.4 for the FP1.

Fairphone is thinking about these things, as a blog post from January 2015 reveals:

A follow-up blog post from August 2015 gives more details to circular-economy business models. I think the latest blog post on the topic is this one from October 2016, but unfortunately it doesn’t feature information about Fairphone’s current approach. My guess is that at the moment they leave the field to the mobile operators.

I hope that my screen won’t fail me too soon! :astonished: (It hasn’t needed to be replaced.) And, judging from the #market and even when FP1-users have their phones longer than average, I’m sure that there aren’t 60,000 working FP1s left.

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You are right, because a damaged display of a Fairphone 1 makes the device inaccessible, so it has been sorted out - “unplanned obsolescence”?

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Not necessarily. I see many people on the street or in the tram using a phone with a so-called “spider app” on the display.

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That really is true.

I love your sense of humour, makes my day! :grin:

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Fairphone 1 end of life options (newsletter)

Without entering the blame game, it seems apparent that we’ve already reached end of support… no updates in quite a while, and no more spare parts. FP1 is good as long as nothing breaks, and as long as we’re fine with using an unpatched OS (I’m still using it).

I take this mostly as a chance to share a brilliant short novel, which is available online at this address: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang, which somehow reminds me of some of the discussions I have read here.

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this is a really interesting, & important, discussion. i’m also a FP1 owner, & am feeling a little dismayed at the thought of having to think about a new phone in the near future. i don’t know whether a subscription model is the answer, but we really have to find a way out of built-in obsolescence & crappy hardware. technology shouldn’t be “old” after only a few years, we should be able to keep using things as long as they are working. televisions & fridges used to be built to last for decades, we need to do the same with the hardware of our phones & computers.

i see that in #market at the moment there are quite a lot of FP1s or parts of FP1 for sale - i hope Fairphone is buying/taking back as many as possible for spare parts …


A post was merged into an existing topic: Fairphone 1 end of life options (newsletter)

My wife purchased an iPhone 5 about six months prior to me getting my hands on my first batch FP1. Her iPhone still functions perfectly fine and she’s still totally happy with it. On my FP1 I can’t install new versions of some apps I’ve used for years and other new ones not at all. I’d love to carry on using my FP1 longer, and had hoped that it would outlast an Apple product. FP are obviously not comparable to Apple, but they are a company often criticised in the media for their policy of planned obsolescence. I’m not saying that I want to keep using the phone until I die, but at least until the hardware and not software is the reason I have to give up on it.


Don’t worry, Apple is already working on a fix for that problem :wink: .


Thanks so much cschl for your constructive thinking. I fully support your proposal. My husband and I will join a subscription like that.
And as an additional idea: why not buy back all the FP1 devices that people are discarding at the moment (and will do in the future) for a reasonable price and keep them as a spare part reservoir?

Let’s keep this initiative alive and pull it through as far as possible. I cherish my FP1 as an electronic device that holds hope for a fair and sustainable future.

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Because that would mean additional impact and cost due to shipping, storage and logistics as opposed to the existing #market.


At this moment we do not know if Fairphone 1 will ever see an Android (Fairphone/Lineage) OS that provides the latest security patches. The effort to achieve such a goal could be very counterproductive to the future of any smartphone manufacturer…

I just want to leave this here in case I’m not the only one:
I’m studying and working in IT and while all my fellow acquaintances bury themselves in shiny new technology, I still use a laptop from 2011 and my FP1 from 2013. One reason for this is that newer electronics become more locked up with every generation, glued-in non-removabe batteries, soldered-on HDD & RAM in laptops, HW whitelists, disastrous repairability etc, a development which I do not want to support and which keeps me from new purchases.
I am in the fortunate position to have some spare money left at the end of the month, with monthly donations going to various non-profits. I would see myself sparing an extra 10-20€ per month to support the FP cause, to spread the message and to help reduce the mountains of electronic waste. So if there were such a subscription model, count me in. As for the purpose, I don’t care, like Brackmeister put it, “whatever helps most and can be addressed by simply throwing money at the problem.”


Really interesting discussion. I have learnt a lot from the above why supporting hardware and software for longer is difficult and expensive for small numbers of phones. Nevertheless, like others here I am disappointed at the thought that my FP1 may not last much longer than the 3 years I have had it so far. It really is a failure from my perspective. I hate all this junking of stuff.