What is/was the "minor issue about the audio feature of the phone" "in less than 1% of the phones"?

@Monica.Ciovica: Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwens recently took the time to do a video message apologising for shipment delays of pre-ordered Fairphone 3s.
This is much appreciated.

However, the reason given for the delay was a “minor issue about the audio feature of the phone” “in less than 1% of the phones”, and Fairphone “found out the root cause of this issue” and would “know a way to solve it”.

Currently we are left speculating with every Fairphone 3 sound issue showing up here in the forum whether that could be connected to this mentioned issue or not.

Can Fairphone for transparency’s sake please disclose what the exact issue is/was to end unnecessary speculation on the matter?


Have you asked customer support, yet? If you get an answer, let us know!

I asked support, and the response was to send screenshots/videos or describe my issue.

Not particularly helpful unfortunately and I decided not to respond.


No, I didn’t, because I don’t have a support case. I don’t even have the phone yet, for that matter.

This is about Fairphone not communicating clearly, so I’m not bothering support, I’m bothering a communication channel :slight_smile: .


Well, this “communication channel” is a community forum. So, the Fairphone team might not read you question here.

That’s why I explicitly pinged @Monica.Ciovica, who can perhaps clarify things with the team and get back to us here in the forum :wink: … which in general works pretty well. Thanks, Monica!


Oh, I see… my mistake. Sorry!


I did contact support and haven´t received an answer yet. But if the response is to send screenshots/videos or describe my issue, I wouldn´t really know how to show what the problem with audio is…


I guess there’s no news on this one, or is there?

I actually have a “minor audio issue” - Audio playback seems to crash randomly, usually forcing me to restart the phone - and would like to know if that’s related or not. The CEO did not tell any details in the video.


Or is this the “minor audio issue”?

Maybe I’m encountering that issue, both speakers of the phone just stop working randomly. Sometimes in the middle of a facebook video, when I put i on widescreen or when I unplugged headphones, after speakers doesn’t working until I restart or wait. Weird! I will open a ticket I think. Already posted on the forum: [Fairphone 3 both speakers doesn't working sometimes]

Hi all, getting back to you on this topic. To make it clear: It is a timing issue in the firmware of the software that controls the Smart Audio Amp in the phone, and we are correcting it in a software release in Q1.
I hope this provides some clarity for those of you experiencing audio issues with your Fairphone 3. Also, please make sure to contact Customer support anytime you are experiencing a problem. All the information is logged and provides valuable intel for improving the product.


Thanks for getting back to us.

Ok, as far as my internet searching skills go, the Smart Audio Amp is a chip in the phone.

So … What does the timing issue mean, what could an affected user suffer from in practice because of this?

And can it perhaps be self-diagnosed using something in Settings - System - Advanced - Developer options - Service Menu - Service tests?

From what I’ve been informed, it can’t be self-diagnosed. Again, the best practice for when experiencing any audio issues is to contact our Customer Support. They are the ones that can provide a proper diagnostic and provide assistance.


A list of related issues would be helpful. Also: Is there are guarantee that those issues can be fixed by a firmware updates?

I will get in touch with the team and see what are the possibilities for sharing a list.
And as I mentioned above, it will be corrected with a SW update in early 2020.


Dear FairPhone,

It would be nice if you would share this info with your customer service as well, as most of them are unaware of the specific issue.

I have contacted customer service and sent my phone back and I have got a new one with the same issue, just less present than before… so far the only solution seems to swap the phone again and relay on luck!

I have only 3 options:

  1. increase CO2 by sending this phone forth and back until I get lucky enough to have a phone with no issues;
  2. keeping a not working phone until fairphone releases a fix (in 2/3 months from now);
  3. ask for a refund and buy something reliable.

I hope you can understand my enormous disappointment, I did not purchase Fairphone for this.

Also, it would be nice to stop sending us to customer service considering there is not even a real solution yet… basically you are forcing them to apologise on your behalf.

Why are you behaving like little kids?
Instead of delegating someone else to deal with the mess, it would be way more “fair” to say something along the line:
“Sorry, we screwed up. A solution will be available in 2 months.”

I already have 2 kids so, while waiting that you grow up, I will send my back my phone and ask for a refund.

I wish you all the best!


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As much as I feel with you and understand your disappointment, you should keep in mind, that this is a community forum it is not something officially Fairphone.
This is no Fairphone-contact-channel.
Therefore @Monica.Ciovica is absolutely correct in sending you to customer support, as they are the ones there to help you and deal with your problems. It is delegating something to someone whose job it is to act on that behalf.
If you really read what Monica posted, you should have realized, that she is just the messenger. She is the contact-point for this forum, but neither a techie, a programmer or a customer support person.

And if you ask for something along the line

I guess, that was the message Monica delivered; at least, that is what I understood.


Dear BertG,
Thanks for letting me notice I was getting personal.

I apologize for the tone, I started with “Monica” just because she signed the last message while I should have started with Dear Fairphone, I will change the title.

I quite like Monica and I never meant to attack her: she works for Fairphone and I do not think she’s responsible for making the company policies.

I do NOT agree that we should be sent to the customer service when:

  1. apparently there is no official/internal communication about the issue (the agent I was speaking with had to read the forum!)
  2. there is no real solution.

I do not feel like this should be a case by case solution. I supported this company through the last 5 years, and it would be nice for a change if people start owning their mistakes.


  • Start an official thread explaining the issue
  • Acknowledge the mistake
  • Explain where the error comes from and it’s consequences
  • Give an time estimate of the solution
  • Propose some official solution to everyone

Maybe I shall already be happy that I got 2 of those 5 points this time.

Seriously, it feels like Fairphone 2 all over again.
Does anyone know the value of transparency?
Did anyone learn anything so far?
I wonder!

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It might well be, that internal communications need some improvement, or you happened to stumble upon someone who was not up to date.

And I still stick to contacting support as the responsible contact point.
Part of the problem you describe is due to the fact, that people do not contact support.
Here’s why I think so:

  • Someone has a problem
  • Trying to solve the problem alone does not help
  • Logging in to the forum and posting the issue
  • The Problem gets solved

All this happens without the support- or the tech-channel ever being aware, that there might be a serious problem.
And that’s why the customer support needs to be contacted and informed.

With regard to this point:

Where do you think, you will or should get the info if there is a solution?
Obviously techies and programmer should via the internal communications channel keep the support informed about problems and solution while support has to inform the techies and programmers about problems reported to them.

This forum is a handy means of communication, but obviously the tech- and software-developers have enough to do even without keeping an eye on every thread of this community forum.

My ideas regarding your added points

  • A thread in this forum is nothing official, as this forum is not FP, but a community. The official channel is the support chanel. Maybe a blog-post would be an option.
  • It seems, they did acknowledge the issue/mistake
  • An explanation might be a good idea. On the other hand, it could seem to be a blame-shifting move and possibly, it is not so clear, where the problem started and what the consequencs are.
  • The time estimate was given.
  • Proposing a solution to everyone would be a tricky thing to do. At least I don’t know, how many people are affected by this issue. But if you announce it e.g. in a blogpost, then it seems the problem is serious and affects many devices. This obviously is not the best advertisement for a new phone, especially when it possibly only a small fraction of phones is affected.

I - as well - would really wish for some clarification from Fairphone. But as this might be a business decision as well, this wish could remain unfulfilled.