And no one stops you from doing that, even if FP comes up with 10 new versions until then. However there might be people out there who have started that approach years ago already. My FP2 for instance asks quite some patience to still work with, it lacks many of the features which nowadays are not “shiny” and “new” but just state of the art. I will go for a new phone at some point in time (FP5 release might be that point) but then it perfectly makes sense to take one that is state of the art when I buy it because only then I can use it for many years to come. It’s not that a phone only ages by the time of use but also by the SW demands unfortunately. That’s definitely something to change, but we’re not there yet.
People coming from other brands or who have never had a smartphone before should have the choice to buy a phone that is at last new when they buy it (I know that you can also take 2nd hand phones and then replace them more often, that’s just a different approach).
So just because Fairphone comes up with a phone every two years doesn’t mean you have to buy it and this is absolutely in the responsibility of us customers. But with my FP2 it would probably be pretty hard to wait for a new phone if FP aligns with your desires only. Okay, I could take a FP4 but then a FP3 user would say that it’s not time yet for a FP4 because one can still use the FP3…
So, is your old phone still working? All right, it is old, and clunky, and lacks features, but does it work?
My point is, the point of sustainability is to keep something as long as it still works, and to only replace it when it doesn’t work anymore, in this case when Fairphone stops supporting it.
(In your case, support for FP2 has ended, you are indeed justified to want to buy a newer one.)
Ideally, Fairphone would have only one phone model on sale at any time, the “current one”, and they would only release a new one shortly before the current one eventually drops out of support.
All right, I admit this would not be very sexy or headlines-worthy, but I know I would buy such a phone, and I’m not that special, for many people a phone (or car, or whatever) is just a tool, not a status symbol.
(My previous laptop was decommissioned at the age of 15 years (it was running Linux, so no security issues there), when the hardware started to fail. Of course I wanted, but didn’t need a newer, faster (higher, stronger) one, since like most people I’m mostly doing office work and Internet. That’s what reducing e-waste looks like. Now I admit that’s my main concern.)
All I say is if people care mostly about specs they should buy a Samsung instead, and indeed change it every 1-2 years. They would be much happier.
Making Fairphone into a wannabe, inferior Samsung clone won’t help anybody.
In vegan issues the focus is on not using dumb animals
In Fairphone the focus is in not using poor people
So in the first case, such can’t go back to using animals but in the second case a new phone is not a backward step. It’s just providing a more updated consumable and employing more people at fair wages.
And it follows that as I am vegan, organic and fairtrade etc. When a new and more expensive option is available I may buy it.
I can buy vegan choc at less than £1 a bar
Vegan organic at £2
Vegan organic, fairtrade ingredients and locally made for £4
So I buy at £4, if it tastes OK and buy less
My FP3 tastes fine and the FP5 only seems to look more modern. I can do exaclty what I want with the FP3 and will wait for the FP6 or later.
But other people have different tastes and may have to buy non vegan, choc etc.
But business is business and none are exist to do me any good but to get my support via sales.
Good luck to Fairphone and the FP5 I want them to make money so that they can support my FP3 for another six years. Yeap! I hope the next phone I buy is the FP9, so get on the case fairphone, 5,6,7,8 and 9
Okay, so what about the people who want to join this movement 2.5 years after the “current phone” was released? Should they wait for 2.5 or more years before the next “current phone” will be released (because support will end then) to be able to use their new phone for as long as possible or should they buy a phone that drops out of support 2.5 years later? (This assumes a support of 5 years but you can insert any number, the question will remain the same).
Releasing a phone every two years may lead to more people wanting that new phone (and to be honest I’m surprised about the phone history of some of the frequent posters in this forum) but if people were rational enough that wouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand it opens the space for more people who want to join that movement and it helps showcasing that it is possible to produce an attractive phone that is still repairable and (partly) fairly sourced which should convince other brands to do so, too. In the end this is probably more sustainable than only releasing a phone every 10 years (I’m exaggerating) because this will affect the people who want the shiny new Samsung sooner or later, too.
Which has been true about 80% of the time in the history of Fairphone (for me, FP3 and FP3+ or the two versions of the FP4 count as one, because it doesn’t make a difference for software support and basically none for spare part availability).
I know I’m being blunt here, but your opinion on this particular thing is just stupid as it would put Fairphone out of business.
Support of the FP4 is meant to be 5, maybe 7 years. Nobody will buy a new phone that is 3 years old or more because that would mean they would only get 2 to 4 years of support. Half of the time between two models in your scenario means the company essentially has nothing to sell.
Edit: let’s play it through, according to your logic the FP4 shouldn’t exist at the moment. So yeah, people in 2023 would have to buy the FP3 and either stick to Android 11 and not getting software support any longer in 6 months from now or have to accept that they can’t use their fingerprint reader in several apps anymore. Also, no benefit from 5G. Do you really think the FP3 would still sell as well as the FP4 does?
Edit 2: and I’m not making this up about “essentially nothing to sell”, just now on social media
Sooo, after 3.5 years it would appear I’m in the market for a new phone. I was hoping to skip a generation and wait for the Fairphone 5, but it hasn’t even been announced yet, and the 4 is already 2 years old, so that does not seem like a good choice for longevity either. Haven’t been following the market much. Perhaps a Pixel?
QFT. If my FP3 would drop dead right now, I wouldn’t even buy an FP4, I’d make do with something else - second hand or dumbphone - and wait for FP5. (even if FP5 weren’t leaked yet).
I think one phone every second year is a perfect release rhythm. If it’s predictable as well, it allows users the choice to either stick with their current phone for two more years, or to upgrade if they feel the need.
All the while it avoids the waste of having to support too many phones at the same time: the ‘current’ phone (first two years) is actively supported by the OEM; the ‘previous’ phone (next two years) is in process of being taken over by Fairphone software team, but still actively used by the community; and the rest of the time (legacy phone) is still supported but in long term support mode. Sounds good to me (and it feels great to have my FP3 enter this long term support mode in the shiny shape of Android 13 just before it gets 4 years old).
Making Fairphone into a wannabe, inferior Samsung clone won’t help anybody.
I like all your post, but on this I would disagree, I think that fairphone aim to be more a “Apple iPhone clone”, an old iPhone can be selled at a very high price, is software supported for much time and you can choose to sell your old smartphone and take the new model, maybe buy a second hand model newer than your, ecc. Also talk about “clone” is nonsense for me. This is marketing, and is sad to tell but all idustries have to be competitive, attractive, ecc. Fairphone is not immune to the “law of the market”, is not a ONG (and a ONG need however fund). I repeat is sad, I don’t like it, I want to ise my FP3+ for more of 10 years, over 2032 (I have bought it second hand on 2022), but I understand that FairPhone is an industry. I would like only that they give more years of battery production, or made batteries compatibpe with other maker model (like they have made with FP1). Today you can buy a battery for FP1, but not for FP2 for example. And obviously I would hope they choose better the componets to be more mainline friendly to have software upgrades.
For example Ubuntu has 10 years of support on LTS, with various phases, even thought they produce a new LTS every two years. Which means having an updated product every 2 years , doesn t necesarely means , not following on the software updates.
FP is trying to copy this model that works on Software… but has to be invented on hardware production of smartphone…this is a very long journey and some tradeoff will be done on the road. If you want to buy a battery for your FP4 in 10 years; FP need to produce 10 million unite, because no factory will produce only few units a year. (it works for many goods, I had a electric scooter from an unknown brand which was supposed better, but when you want to change just the tire no one can. want to do it…no parts !)
Again things like open RISC V CPUs and the fact that we are getting close to 1nmshould help a lot in the coming years.
Slower evolving hardware when getting close to 1nm can already ben seen, intel is stucked at 10nm process, TSMC is doing several node at the same time (even 28nm is still used a lot!), soon expectation is that below 1nm it will cost too much for mass production, and may mechanically slow down the advantages of buying a new phone. I think we already see it, people around me are less into buying the latest hardware, because the usability advantage is less abvious , apart from battery life.
If they want to buy sustainable, they should be fine with buying a phone which isn’t the latest and hottest on the market. If not, they should go to Samsung, because that’s what they really want.
The point is that if you buy a sustainable phone, that’s what you buy: A old jalopy which is spec-wise ridiculously outdated, but which still does a honest job of making calls, surfing Internet, using most apps (except the latest games), and so on. And you’re fine with it.
“Sustainable” and “flashy new” is incompatible, can’t you see?
Trying to reconcile those two is a hypocrisy, they are antinomic.
Sure, I did say this would be not very sexy.
I also did not say Fairphone should do it, since they are already way too far on the road to diversification. They can’t anymore, even if they wanted.
Let me sketch this out:
Obviously if you release one phone every 5 years (let’s say) you target a different clientele (sustainable, ecologically responsible), and you are a totally different structure: During those 5 years you only need a skeleton staff for running sales and making updates/patches, which means you outsource a lot if not everything.
So it would be a 3-4 person company, at most, probably without offices, because what’s the point of those nowadays? They might hire some temp additional staff when releasing the new model, to handle the sudden workload, but the rest of the time they’d be just managing their subcontractors (software, support, R&D, etc.).
If the FP3 is EoL in 6 months as you seem to say, the FP4 would had been released half a year ago: Remember, I said release the next before the old falls out of support, specifically to avoid this issue. One year overlap seems good to me.
(As about the fingerprint reader, while I admit it’s convenient, several people in my family have iPhones without fingerprint reader, and they are not particularly unhappy.)
As about the post from jelte, yes, but this is because Fairphone has a “classic” and irregular release cycle. If there was a fixed 5-year cycle he wouldn’t have to ask, he would automatically know when the next phone will be released.
It depends on what you want. If you just want a reasonably new phone, yes, 2 years is (AFAIK) the market average for smartphone renewal. But that’s the Samsung market: Fast, recent, shiny, hip to have.
Now we’re talking about niche markets here with different priorities: A 2 years cycle is still a huge generator of e-waste, since it means every 2 years umpteen million phones will become landfill (there aren’t any recycling structures capable of handling that amount!). All right, rest reassured, they will not be dumped in our countries, they will get exported to some 3rd world country, to be thrown in a dump there, far from here…
Purely mathematically a 4-years cycle would reduce the waste flow by half, allowing to maybe, potentially, be able to properly recycle most of them. The longer you keep an appliance (phone, car, washing machine, whatever) the less waste you produce during your lifetime. The next generations will be grateful…
Nope. Your mathematics assume that all people would upgrade their phones with every cycle. And this is just not true. Let’s assume the complete opposite (which is just as unrealistic as your assumption): People keep their devices for as long as they can. Then during that span new phones could be released and the only additional waste would be some tools to produce them. Then in contrast to producing x devices of one generation there could be x/n devices for n generations and we would enable those people who’s phone has fallen apart to get a new one that will be new enough to go for as long as possible again - both on the SW and the hardware side which is necessary as long as development of mobile technology etc. hasn’t stopped.
Ubuntu is a bad example, specifically because of that.
LTS releases (I’m on one) are exactly what I’m advocating: They don’t have the latest bells & whistles, but they have the latest security patches.
Since I don’t use a computer to play with the OS but to get work done, that’s what I need. I don’t care my GUI isn’t in the newest hippest look, all I ask is that it doesn’t get in the way of my productivity (Gnome, I’m looking at you).
I bought a FP4 specifically because it was something like a “LTS phone”, something I could expect to use safely for much longer than the average smartphone.
(I stress “safely” because obviously nothing prevents you from using any phone for as long as you can get the battery to run – except the software/security aspects.)
For me, now would be a great day to announce and start pre-orders for an FP5; my thinking is that I want to have a replacement for my FP3 before I upgrade to A13 (and/or try out /e/ or LOS), and the FP4 is already older than the 3 was when the 4 came out, so for longevity’s sake the 4 isn’t a great choice today. But if a 5 was announced now, I might decide to stick it out with the 3 on A11 for a few months.
I don’t wish to discuss my reason for wanting to stick to 11 here, there’s other topics for that. I’m just saying that I’m looking for a new phone right now, so right now is -for me- the best time to announce a 5 (or a 4+)