Why Android and nothing else?

You can read on here and I invite you to sign the petiton:


@Stefan yes good one I already signed, I hope mediatek is listening…

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If Mediathek won’t release new drivers, Fairphone should hire another manufacturer. Seriosly, that’s stuff the company Creative did: not updating drivers after releae of a product.

btw: Through reverse-engineering, it would certainly would be posstible to creative free drivers. Like the sound drrivers for Creative sound cards by Daniel K (look them up) - they work fine or even better than the official ones. But I doub’t Fairphone could do that, because technically it is illegal.

Because Android is best :slight_smile:

If I may quote:

The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying glass.

While I agree with you in principle, Fairphone committed themselves to build up a long-term relationship with the manufacturer they chose. They tried to describe the process in several blogposts. And they have a point in doing so.

To be very clear about it: I hate being stuck with a MediaTek chip with closed sources and a lot of binary blobs. I hate it because I feel locked in. It’s not fair to me as a customer that I can’t choose to update to the latest Android to get some security issues sorted out. It’s not fair to me as a customer that I can’t choose the operating system. It’s not fair to me as a customer that my device already was outdated software-wise by the time it was delivered. (Especially now that <20 year old major vulnerabilities seem to be surfacing all of a sudden every other week or so.)

But I knew, at least partly, when I ordered the phone. And I learned a lot more since then.

In the end, it is all about choices.
And there seems to be no real “right” choice. To end with another quote:

There is no right life in the wrong one.


There was a lengthy and varied debate on this topic on the original FP forum. Since the new version coincided with the arrival of circa 25k new FP users, it has got buried a little.
Seriously, the choice of a closed chipset was a very bad decision.
FP now have to produce their own updates for an aging OS, on the basis of no further income - this is obviously not a situation that is sustainable in the long-term.
The way to have the hardware usable for the longest possible time is to have the hardware open to community initiatives to port new features to the old hardware - in the way that linux is available for many incredibly old PCs.
Until the mediatek chipset code is public, FP is a machine with a limited life-span, and FP’s resources will be drained by us users demanding support for an increasingly outdated machine that will be dependent on Mediatek’s goodwill, which since FP is a minority customer, may not be forthcoming. Other phone makers would simply leave us to suffer, hoping that we would be forced to upgrade, but FP, committed to being ethical, will continue to support us, even though we are a drain on future development.
As someone who passionately supports FP, I want them to be influential, so that other sectors of the industry have to sit up and take notice.
Most decisions FP have made have been excellent, and the achievement is already monumental - I am not a critic, just someone who clearly sees that this decision was not one that supports FP’s aims, which I strongly support.
FP2 must be built on truly open hardware.


Which will need to be found before ;-). Sorry, but this point is coming up and up again and i feel a strong urge to disagree with posts ending with somebody must do somethink. I would be much more comfortable with the community when even the most passionate people - including myself - realize that they are not alone out there. Building FP2 on open hardware, whatever that might be, is certainly somethink to consider. But given that there is now open hardware smartphone out there, it is a fairly strong request to make - and i think it is not a must. There are a lot of other complicated thinks to consider - certification, price, manufactures able to produce small batches… etc.

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Is that serious question (no offence) or more of a rethorical one?

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I agree with Ben. The only open source phone to have ever existed was the OpenMoko (of which I have one, that indeed I was even able to repair myself after years, changing the touchscreen).
OpenMoko looked the perfect thing at the time -it never drained enough users to even start an app ecosystem, and they are dead now.
So, yes, there are ways to build open hardwares, but smartphones are very complex, and while I understand (and support!) the fact that FP intends to design the next machine (instead of just buying an existing design), I doubt we can afford “everything at the same time”, starting from scratch, getting and publishing all the hardware design open source, and keeping pace with actual performance.
Remember we have posters here that would spit if the next OS version is not absolutely the latest, which demands very efficient hardware.

@dilgreen I am still hoping that, as the MT65xx chipset gets older, FPs position gets stronger against Mediatek. Maybe then Mediate will find it less important to keep its drivers proprietary.

@Herve5 As said in another thread: I don’t think that newer Android releases need an especially efficient hardware (like iOS needs it for example) because Android is aiming to developing countries with low spec-phones.

And BTW, FP’s specs are pretty decent. :slight_smile:

I didn’t react, and don’t want to feverishly debate this, all the more than historically my family has been using macintoshes, that had (at the time) a very long life duration wrt PCs, with multiple large system updates being ‘bearable’ by the same old hardware.
But I am a bit sceptical on this concerning Android, because of the tablet environment.

Android is not only for phones. And the current picture for the tablets is very telling IMHO: there is a huge, and to me fatal, move from laptops to tablets.
Which means, very ambitious apps arriving on Android.

And here I don’t mean just a printing capacity for instance.

The german guys in Softmaker just released a prototype version of an openoffice/word/excel/powerpoint complete suite, exhaustive to the tiniest detail, that just ports the whole thing onto tablets, immediately useable -as long as the tablet is powerful enough of course.

Photomate, similarly, proposes a photo processing that starts with raw photos and incorporate extremely ambitious tunings like color-per-color light intensity curves fitting: with this kind of tool 90% of the professional photographers can just trash Photoshop. Again, as long as the tablet is powerful enough.

Samsung has been incorporating handwritting recognition in phones and tablets for a couple of years now, and for having seen my awful, french, unseparated script being totally recognized with zero error straight at the first attempt (compared to the pathetic results of all previous attempts in the past -remember Apple’s Newton?), I can say here again, as long as the tablet is powerful enough… plenty of things are to come.

This, to me, means the next versions of Android will be more ambitious, would it be just to follow: incorporating more efficient filesystems, printers etc. and these Androids will run on extremely more powerful tablets.
Because of this I’m almost sure they won’t be downward-compatible. This won’t be because of phones, but because of tablets.

Now, guess what. Maybe the next Fair phone will be… a tablet, after all :smiley:

(fair and root? indeed it’d be an impulse buy for me…)

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I don’t think anyone would use a Photoshop clone on a phone, doubting also a.complete office suite being used on a phone. So these apps don’t have to be installable on phones. As long as Google does not implement this into core-AOSP I don’t think there is the need for worries (and if Google does, hopefully until then, we will.be able to install alternative OSes).

And remember: the FP is featuring a Quad core processor!!! :wink:

Interesting thought! Add a (fair) attachable keyboard, and allow for installing other OSs (or dual boot setup), and I might jump aboard the same train :thumbsup:

Then why not build a fair laptop/convertible with PC-architecture??? It could run any OS (Windows/Linux).

A keyboard other than all the standard ones that are already supported on USB and bluetooth?

Sure not on a phone (OTOH I do have the softmaker utilities just to open email attachments).
As I said, the ecosystem is now expanding towards tablets.
That’s on a tablet I’ll install these, and indeed say bye to the computer whenever I can edit anything efficiently there. (Indeed, the reason I don’t do this right now is not even the cost, it’s not getting a proper rooted tablet. I’d pay someone for rooting a Galaxy notes :wink: )
And I feel unless Google are really stupid, Android will follow the tablets path.
(consider the size evolution of the latest phones…)

Oh yes, it must be tailored, preferably so that it also serves as cover/lid. Getting hardware from a 3rd party to function can be extremely difficult in the Linux world (and ideally a fair tablet should allow a Linux install). Maybe this can be tricky with Android as well.

As to offfice suites on the phone: theroteically I can create nd edit Powerpoint presentations with my Documents to Go app - but I haven’t tried yet :smiley:

I’d underline this: The ecosystem is expanding. I wouldn’t say, though, that Android itself necessarily must get less slim, correlating with more powerful apps.
I would even say that Google would be really stupid, if it wouldn’t provide an universal Android, also for slower phones.

I disagree,
sure apps will get more demanding, but tablet sales are declining already.

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@Herve5 & @ben Do you have numbers to support your opinions?

Edit: I researched a bit and found the following on this website:

[quote]Tablet shipments including 2-in-1 (according to IDC)
2012: 144.1 million
2013: 219 million; +52% vs. 2012
2014: 233 million; +7% vs 2013 (forecast
2018: 304 million; +5% vs. 2017
(source: IDC, August 2014)[/quote]

[quote]Tablet shipments (according to Canalys)
2012: 113 million (actual)
2013: 195 million (est.)
2014: 285 million (forecast)
2015: 323 million (forecast)
2016: 358 million (forecast)
2017: 396 million (forecast)
(source: Canalys, November 2013)[/quote]

Growth is declining.

I didn’t provide numbers, which are seldom convincing (specially when hearing arguments like ‘the growth rate is declining’, which factually states that both the increase continues, and the writer doesn’t want to see it)

Instead I provided documented facts: Android has moved from a system where application software were phone-only (and most of them widgets, like in ‘midget’), to an environment capable of professional work, in both office activities and various very demanding ones, like serious image editing.

And, very much like most around you have trashed their desktop ‘towers’ for laptops, then their laptops for palmtops, they are right now, under your eyes, trashing their palmtops for tablets.

Now, of course something will remain for phones (even though we see more and more monstruously large ‘phablets’), but the most probable underlying system, Android, will obviously adapt to follow tablets and not phones. That’s all I say.

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