The future and ideas for Fairphone

I’m assuming the next fairphone will push the envelope of modularity? The most desirable of course is to be able to choose what modules you will need and this obviously should reflect on the overall price, “the less you need the less you have to spend” thus more people will be able to afford the phone which is still a head above the budget range.
For example a chassis that can be “extended” to house a bigger screen, an option to have a front facing camera, NFC, fingerprint scanner, these things are not essential but desirable. I think it is a fair challenge.

I’m aware of how the rapid ageing of electronics has become a norm, and thus its impact on the environment took its place as a lesser of two evils, we stop or we move… okay we move. Recycling is the way out, absolute recyclability is far more realistic than putting a hold on the current speed and scale of production of electronics. But also awareness in the world of incessant competition, the polluting factor should become one of the specifications of the device and be part of the overall review score. I can see it happening in a few years from now.

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From what I have learned in this forum (I am no techie), this kind of modularity - standard with computers - is not extremely likely for smartphones. As I understood it, this is due to the SoC integrating all the stuff, that is placed in different modules of a laptop.
And (therefore?) the OS doesn’t work like the one for a laptop.
All the drivers needed fof camera etc. are integrated in the Android for the phone and not installable / exchangeable.

And if I got that kind of information correct, it would mean, that the OS for the phone would have to be programmed for all possible combination of modules.
This might be feasible for some kind of global player, but hardly for a company like Fairphone. To me, it seems unlikely, that within the next years any company will go this way - especially the SoC-design is hardly going to change someday soon.

Of course, I might have got it all wrong.
But even then Fairphone to me seems to small a company to offer such a kind of phone before FP 9 or 10, as the stocking of lots of different modules would be a heavy investment with prices for the single modules rising, due to lower numbers produced of them (except, they happen to be able to sell much more phones in just a few years time.

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I’d rather Fairphone going the Librem 5 or Pinephone way while keeping the unrivaled modularity and repairability. On the hardware side this would certainly need the physical separation of SoC and modem (as can be seen in iPhones, if I remember correctly).
On the software side it would require a heavy developer investment to create a free/libre stack. But that’s not impossible when mentioned hardware is chosen wisely (not Qualcomm or Mediatek).
As a bonus I wish for two bootable micro SD slots so that I can choose which OS to boot and comfortably switch like with a Raspberry Pi.


Given the FP3 came out last year, I hope Fairphone now focuses on addressing any hiccoughs in the software and hardware of the FP3. After all, their mission is durability, so although it is fun to dream of your ideal phone, the FP4 shouldn’t come out for another 3 or 4 years. And in 3 to 4 years, who knows what we’ll want then? Would we want a foldable phone? 6G support? A TB of internal storage? :stuck_out_tongue:


The FP4 needs FM-radio and LED-notifications.


What you’re talking about here is basically Built-to-order. Not feasible for a rather small company like Fairphone; much larger players failed with this in the past.

You meant sustainability, of which durability is part of… more durable does not necessitate more sustainable.
My OP point is that, what if I don’t need to use current technology, not all of us need it. Fair sure, but is it a sustainable way to go for the “one size fits all” model? With that said I’m not ignorant of the progress made so far.

I have to agree with BertG that the momentum might not be here yet, SoC companies like Qualcomm have too much influence on the final design and fairphone being a relatively small company is a fair defence, but defence nevertheless, but let’s not be defensive, let’s be imaginative, this is an opportunity for critical thinking.

teezeh but time is not static, what was then was then, have things changed? That’s the critical question.

Better than just FM radio: Software defined radio! Why settle with just one feature when you can have two for double the cost? :wink:


Of course I understand it could be nice to upgrade parts of a smartphone or make it configurable during the order process.
But from experience with computers and laptops and smartphone so far I doubt this is very feasible.
For computers it somewhat works because somehow the industry agreed on some standards to make things exchangeable (and there is enough of room to operate in a midi tower chassis). But the more tightly integrated things get, the less possible it is. I think, if changing/upgrading parts of laptops (a type of device that has been around for a long time) isn’t really possible, it will be even harder with smartphones. And we would end with very bulky and/or unstable devices.
So I’m mostly with BertG here.

But I also agree with StephanK: using more open hardware and mainline Linux kernels for a future Fairphone model would be good for privacy and also long-term support/support for alternative OSes. Here I assume this will also hold in 4 years from now.

And finally I’m with Linn: assuming it will be a few years until a FP4 comes out I feel it’s rather quite early to think about an FP4.
Of course, I wouldn’t want to stop anybody from doing so, but have a feeling that any wishes of today are outdated by the time a new model arrives.
But then, maybe Fairphone will surprise us and not wait another 3-4 years before something new comes out :wink:

Personally my wishes for an FP4 if you ask me now would probably be things I’d like for the FP3, too

  • keep the amazing battery life
  • release patches every month, ideally within the first week
  • provide software support always a little longer than for the previous model

And of course further improve on the aspects of conflict minerals, working conditions and wages. Because that’s what I came for :wink:


I don’t believe that. The whole trend for slim devices is psychological in nature and the sure root-cause of the devolution of repairability and modularity in electronics. The problem is psychological and so the solution has to be psychological as well.

In 10 years there will be 7 billion smartphones in circulation, we should be planning to take risks, but I imagine there would be more startups like fairphone, so we won’t stand alone against the ever changing factors.

I have renamed the topic to be a more general discussion.

I was wondering if the company have thought about expanding into the world of tablets, 2in1, and laptops! A fairbook? This idea came to me after having a look at Lenovo Yoga Book and the upcoming Lenovo ideapad duet. These days you don’t have to be tied to the resource demanding windows to be productive as you got the undemanding chrome os which can be run even on qualcomm 632, the same chip fp3 runs on.

I mentioned lenovo because I use their products but I’m not inspired by them as they are novelty peddlers like everyone else, this year they are introducing a foldable laptop… what can be more gimmicky than that?

I would prefer and I think it would make sense to have a 2in1 option, but it has to come with the keyboard, being a productivity machine. It should have the average 13-14inch screen and preferably utilise hinges instead of stands like the microsoft surface does. And the hinges have to last a long time.

I think this could be a cheaper enterprise since laptops have less space constraints than smartphones.

Another crazy idea it can use the same batteries and even some of the modules the fp3/4 is using/ will use, I see why not but then again I’m not an engineer.

Try this article:

Techcrunch.com [2019-08-27]: Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics?

To be found in this list:

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Concerning me, what I would like to have for a future model is a higher range of SOC, higher screen to body ratio, 6GB RAM, OS without GMS from launch and a really capable camera software (Algorithms primed on lens)

I know components capabilities can’t dispute the authority of a less capable hardware with an optimized software but that could be great to boat a 765 or a 765 5G.

But maybe before a FP4 why not trying to improve the FP3 with another screen module, one who can go up to 6.1 inches for example?

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A FP4, to be released in say 2023, should support 5G. By that time, mid-range smartphones will have it by default.


And yet I think 5G is the biggest and probably most boring distraction ever. I barely use 4G, the data plans are still expensive, and the quality of the call has so many variables to it. What is far more interesting is the spacex starlink.

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Right. So first they have to cross that 100k target. Of course the bigger they get the more competitive they become. Luckily the market for sustainable devices is growing exponentially.

If I use mobile data, I use 4G. 3G is being phased out here (these frequencies will be reused for 4G, leading to better coverage). This is going to happen world-wide. 4G is included by default in data plans nowadays. Also, 4G is full IP stack and uses less battery than 3G. If you don’t want to use VoLTE, don’t. As long as 2G is active, that is no problem.

Coverage world-wide is very good: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_4G_LTE_penetration obviously France and Germany have a lot of rural areas. The people who live there are outliers. The vast majority of people live in cities, if they travel there they got good coverage. You can also compare it with other countries.

The openness for a lifetime support of the phone i wrote at this thread Next step to fairness is openess - a FP4 with open hardware interfaces? on Sept. 2019.
But i think this is not possible if also the newest HW gimmicks are required for the new phone. The question is do you really new the 5G (or probably 6G)?

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I guess I don’t need them. Still perfectly fine with my FP2. The features included in a next gen Fairphone should be measured with their real-world benefit - 5G scores rather low in that regard, I guess.


Let me play the doomsayer for a moment. I think the technology is racing to end up out of its depth for the human, after the 5G we will gradually discover certain effects of the network frequencies on the brain, some research will pop up claiming undesirable effects and the “golden age of capitalism” will be stymied.