I don’t think so. The shiny new one would probably be more expensive. So the one who just want to have working phone again would go for a refurbished one, I guess.
Different situation. Have a look at the forum, there is an existant demand for used core modules, but no demand for used camera modules. One reason could be the price, the other a very well working camera module.
There’s so many factors involved in this hypothetical situation, but when looking at it as a “price per year” problem, new could be more economical than used despite upfront cost. Don’t forget that the core module contains components, like flash storage, that are prone to wear-and-tear. Where a new upgraded core module will give you N years of life, a used, refurbished one would in the common case have a life expectancy of N minus its previous lifetime.
Anyway, this discussion is virtually meaningless as long as SoCs aren’t pin-compatible with predecessors. Which is unlikely when components on the SoC reshuffle to optimise the very last milliwatt of power consumption out and as old technology (USB 2.0, 4G antenna, LPDDR3, MIPI DSI) makes place for newer or more desirable technology (USB-C, 5G antenna, LPDDR4, eDP) with different physical characteristics. Pins required to drive the current set of selected peripherals might have disappeared, or extra pins might have introduced for supporting newer standards that cannot be routed to older peripherals because they don’t have the pogo-pins for it.
It isn’t even a given that the other modules currently shipped in the Fairphone 2 would meet the electronical requirements to be compatible with a newer chip. Changes in the external characteristics of the chip resulting from production at a different procedure could well raise resistance, line delay, parasitic capacitance or current leakage to prohibitive levels even when trying to run these peripherals at the same speed. Whatever the reason, it’s not uncommon for newer versions of a standard (like USB) to place stricter physical requirements on peripheral compatibility than their predecessor - which could snowball a project from upgrading an SoC into upgrading the whole design of the device.
That’s quite correct, as there is no new core module, but there are new camera modules, that were even out of stock at some time. And that’s why I guess, that shiny new things are really attracting buyers. In the end it’s all just purely hypothetic, as we do not even have any clue what new core modules would be like and what they would cost.
Update: I just bought a refurbished BadPhone. Unfortunately… I hope this discussion will spark new ideas and insights in the strategy of FairPhone, because I suspect more dedicated FP customers will have no other option in the near future. I’ll keep an eye out for any developments here!
Yes, it is a niche. A niche which is already available. How? I’ll explain hereunder.
The Caterpillar S60 had a successor, IIRC S61. Also, there’s some Chinese knock-offs, and FLIR provides a microUSB, USB-C, and lightning connector camera for the bottom of your smartphone. These work together with their app. There’s also stand-alone cameras which work over USB and WLAN. I got one of these variant (the C3).
I wanted to actually go for the attachment camera, but it would probably bind me to Android/ASOP/Google Play (a vendor lock-in I am trying to avoid), and to whatever the connector is. I expect FP3 to have USB-C. That, and NFC, are my highest on my wishlist. But I did not know if/when FP3 comes out, and I still don’t know if it will have USB-C. Because I didn’t want to invest in a connector on the way out (microUSB and lightning) and I wanted a camera which worked right away (on my smartphone), I went for the standalone one instead. It also cost twice as much, and gives two times image better quality.
None of these are fair technology though. That’s the problem with third-party modules. Making such, great, but it isn’t according to the ‘fair’ philosophy. Therein lies a real challenge!