Yet another discussion about "promises"

@demetrio please get your facts straight.

  1. Fairphone never promised, well anything actually.
  2. The failure to provide all essential spareparts and an Android update for the FP1 (so far) is truly not what everybody was hoping for, but it’s still far from 0 support. I don’t think there is any other phone company that still provides so much support for an outdated device as Fairphone does. Other companies would have probably never tried to port #kitkat under those circumstances (sure if they had known better then they shouldn’t have gone with Mediatek) and if they did, then they’d have given up a long time ago. @jftr is still busy working on kitkat and those who really want it can simply join the beta tests.
  3. The Android 6 update for FP2 is in beta testing atm. There is no public release date yet, but the tests are looking good, so don’t expect it to take as long as kitkat but rather to come soon.
  4. The upgrade to the camera module was already announced.
  5. There are still many new customers convinced of the Fairphone every day. Sales were even higher than anticipated which caused delays - you can still only pre-order the FP2 in the webshop.

Point 2-5 are documented in Fairphone’s blog.


@demetrio, I can well imagine that what you write matches the thoughts of not only a few (potential) FP customers.

And while I fully agree with @paulakreuzer’s and @Stefan’s responses to your post, I do wonder how company Fairphone could act differently. However, I am not so much wondering what company FP could do to improve the devices, I rather wonder how communication could be improved (and at what costs).

  • All the difficulties Fairphone had to face (and achievements made) should not be hidden in the blog - but be presented e.g. in a bullet list, backed with links to deeper diving articles (and for improving credibility also backed by third party investigations like the washington post videos that @Douwe linked at 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 Interesting links / news articles somehow related to FP (collection). I even know a good prominent spot for that bullet list - the laughable “happy customers” counter on the front page :slight_smile: (@Douwe …why on earth is that thing still there, are you really confident this thing is luring in so many new customers?)
  • When there is a web shop and it cannot deliver, there should not only be a reference to resellers, but also prominently placed an explanation why it cannot deliver instantly - I can well imagine that there might be potential customers hooked by having seen you somewhere in the media, then they want to order…and then their 5 seconds of daily altruism are over when they see they cannot conveniently order a phone by a single click or touch but have to actually do something to get it.
  • Make it clear, that all this has started as a big endeavour, and the nature of endeavours is to be risky. FP is small, started to gain experience only some years ago and needs to deal with tons of shit at the same time (from currency rates to reliability of contractors to update possibilities to media coverage…). By presenting risks openly, you might shy away potential customers, but disappointment of owners might be minimized.
  • Maybe link your storytelling to other issues, helping potential customers to open their eyes more and maybe feel more embedded in a movement. Not sure how much people understand about conflict minerals, but the burning workers of the textile factory in Bangladesh are easily understood. “What makes your clothes so cheap?” can be answered by a short report on Bangladesh circumstances. “And what makes your stylish smartphone so cheap?”…“And why can you have a new one every year?”…“And what has to change and who can take care of it?”…this could also help people like @anon59030904 with the issue of [quote=“spartid, post:48, topic:26704”]
    how to talk about Fairphone in a diplomatic way ?

So… Paul, you are being a fanboy, as much as any other iPhone owner.
I think this won’t lead the Fairphone anywhere.
As I said, I would buy this phone anyway because I sincerely believe about “fair wage, fair gold, fair tantalum” ecc. but we MUST look beyond this stuff. If the FP is not able to compete with the other phones in the market, it would not have a long life.

FP1 is in an awful status! Talking about promises, they promised a KitKat that could not deliver, but above all, they sold an FP1 with Jellybean when all the other phone at that time had already Kit Kat. So it was already old from a software viewpoint. Denying it is just being a fanboy.

Now they do not sell screen replacement. My brother has an FP1 because I convinced him. But I pray every day his screen won’t break because otherwise he won’t be able to repair it and he won’t trust Fairphone again, because (obviously) he would be scared that the same would happen with FP2.

It is almost 2 years since the creation of FP2, and they did not make a new camera yet! this is just incredible. How can someone promote the modularity and upgradability of the phone if in 2 years there are simply no proof of the fact that this is actually doable?

If you don’t deliver a new phone every 2/3 years how can you compete in the market? This is something everybody can get. The sustainability must be achieved by the modularity and interchangeability of pieces among different model of fairphone, and with a recycle commitment. If this is not the case, people will never buy a FP2 in one year because it will be old!

At the actual condition, it seems that FairPhone is aiming to attract consumers that are interested in Fairtrade stuff; but this is done, all people interested in that stuff are already conviced. Simply because is the fairest phone on the market. If we want to gain market share now we need to diversify (and this is a first-year undergrad lecture of business, everybody knows). We should seriously aim to attract costumers from other phone company! Put all the effort on modularity and upgradability might be something to start with. Here on this post, a see a lot of post of people saying “it was my first smartphone”, So probably we are convincing the wrong constumers, and all our Marketing strategy should be revised @Douwe.

I answered to all your point, even if I did not put it in points because I found it harsh. I think my last post is straight enough. Just one last thing about FP2: you said, that atm they are beta testing Android 6. However, it is really in late! Now other companies are trying to port android 7, and a new android 8 will come this year. I am not sure if saying “hey we are in beta-testing android 6” is actually a plus.

In January 2014 Kitkat had a marketshare of 1.4% (basically only Nexus phones had it back then).

I may be a fan of the fairphone and if denying “alternative facts” makes me a fanboy of the truth then so be it.

What makes you say that? I get the feeling that most people who use an FP1 today are very happy with it.

No, they didn’t. All they did was announce that they were working on it and at one point they mentioned a deadline until which they wanted to be done, but failed to reach.

They sold FP1s from 2013 to February 2015. In that time 0% to 45% of all Android phones had KitKat or higher. Source

Yeah it sucks, that they failed to provide replacement parts for a long time, but still I don’t get your point. Just because Fairphone tired something and failed makes them worse than other phones/companies that don’t even try because they don’t care?

Oh really. Show me any other phone that has a camera module upgrade!

Well yeah, but could you at least give FP 2/3 years before you complain about the absence of upgrade modules?

Please read and remember the FAQ of this forum.

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
  • Knee-jerk contradiction.

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.


So: FP1U in mid-2014 had still JB and KitKat was getting market share. New phones were sold with KitKat.

Is in an awful status I still think about the support, and it is still the case that if anything goes wrong. You simply can’t fix it and must change the phone.

The fact about the promise. Well, stating KitKat will be ready for September, seems a lot like a promise. If they did not use that specific world, doesn’t matter. Plus when they were selling the phone were saying that they were a different company aiming at giving support and stuff like that… well, that’s a promise too. That seems pretty much a failure so far regarding FP1.
Furthermore, the fact that there is no news about screen replacement and KitKat update make people feel that they are left behind.

About KitKat itself… you must consider that when new phone were sold in that period (mid-2014 onward) companies were selling phones with kitkat or upgraded it later. In 2015 share of KitKat was around 40% (from google dashboard). So it is a fact that FP failed on updating its device. I don’t understand why you don’t want to admit it.

Screen replacement:
Yes, the fact that they tried and they can’t, make them worse because they base the commercials on repairability that they do not have. Plus, with any other phone, you can replace the screen going in a shop and paying for it. With FP you can’t. This makes the fairphone really weak and if you want to compete with the Big company don’t have room to make such mistakes.

About the camera, this was not what I meant. I am saying that FP wants to sell their product because you can update them?! well, after 2 years, still you cannot. Not even with a camera, so I am starting doubting that it will even be possible in the future.

And about the timing of waiting before complaining… yes I could wait longer if they were saying something about it. But there is no news about this as far as I know… something like “we are developing an FP3 that will have modules compatible with FP2” that would be great. But as things are going I am starting doubting.

Anyway I don’t think this is “yet another discussion about promises”. My post was for another discussion and your decision to move it in another section is arbitrary and you should have not done it. I ask you to put them back as I have no intention to start "yet another discussion about promises " it was not my point and it is definitely not what I expected from this forum. It’s something like that I can’t say what I want about FairPhone marketing strategy if you don’t agree? I hope you did it just because you don’t see my point. Yet this do not give you the right to think that it is in the wrong section.

Please read this blog post:

PS: Fairphone proved their positive intentions towards modularity with the Slim Covers

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In my personal opinion, there are two different things at play (or at least it helps to think of things this way):

  • The Fairphone product
  • The Fairphone ‘movement’ (a.k.a Fairphone’s ambitions)

Fairphone talks a lot about their ambitions. They also talk about how the product is a step towards realising their ambitions. And finally they also describe the product as what it is outside of the context of those ambitions. Problems arise when the assumption is made that the product fulfils the ambitions, or when the ambitions are seen as promises for the current product - in other words when the boundaries between those three messages get blurred. They’re getting better at communicating this, it’s been less clear in the past.

One of the articles that is relevant to points raised in posts above and provides a more-clear-cut view between ambitions and what could be realised in the first iteration is that on the continued software support for the FP1, which I would still recommend people to read, even if it is now a bit out of date:

It also discusses the actual underlying issue for the FP1 update issue: choosing an MTK chipset, as for software updates they were initially dependent on MTK. Now that they do have access to the code, working with it has proved to be more difficult than anticipated as the MTK sources are apparently structured in way that is very… non-standard. Within their means, Fairphone is still putting in more effort than the majority of manufacturers put in. Whether it’s been enough, though, is something that everybody will feel different about.

I thought they always stressed repairability as the primary reason for modularity in the FP2, with the ambition to experiment with upgradeability, or, if sales volumes are large enough, to let other manufacturers provide alternative modules. I’ve always felt that the coming into existence of an upgraded module would be a bonus, not a requirement within those plans. In that same vein (i.e. current product iteration is about increasing self-repair options), I wouldn’t expect module compatibility with future models, as it wasn’t designed that way from the onset as far as I can tell. I might have misread the indications that they have given, though.


Hey @demetrio, thank you for contributing to the Fairphone forum. Most of your criticism is felt and echoed by many Fairphone 1 owners. If you look on the forum, there are other people who in, more or less the same words, say what you are saying.

As this is a community forum, people here can’t provide you with solutions other then sharing their perception on the matter. These perceptions are different from person to person and based on experiences, sources and knowledge. Please respect peoples alternative viewpoints.

As for your post: you can change the title to something you like better. I do agree with the moderators that it was off-topic in the other thread.

This is correct. The modular design of the Fairphone 2 was first- and foremost chosen to allow self-repair. We are excited that upgradibility is now coming to the camera and top module, but that was not the original plan.


@Johannes that is again a great post of yours! Thank you for analysing the difference between product and ambitions. :slight_smile:

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Hi @demetrio,

this answer specifically about the Kitkat issue.

I have a friend that I convinced to get a FP1, so I think to some extend I can understand those worries.
Probably you and me used similar arguments for convincing - we truly believe that FP is (trying to) offer the fairest smart phone and they claimed to provide support.
Now we have learnt, that KitKat still isn’t there for FP1. Does that somehow make you or me responsible or are we even to be blamed for something? I don’t really think so - our biggest ‘guilt’ might be naivety. But all our decisions for convincing was based on the information we had back then.

Company Fairphone to some extent is in a similar situation with respect to some of the many things they have to handle. Probably they did not have someone in their ranks back then who knew that upgrade to a new smart phone operating system could be tied to:

  • so many legal issues
  • so many technical issues

And because they did not know, they claimed they would provide support and upgrades (which is what they have tried, convincing MTK to provide the sources probably was not easy).

Again there is the question, who is to be blamed. And again I think, that Fairphone ultimately could only be blamed for naivety. But I think the real villain is the smart phone industry ecosystem that Fairphone is facing, e.g. there should be open standards for interfaces of chipset code and open test frameworks for chipset code that must be passed before a chipset can be released.

However, I wished Fairphone presented those things not buried in the blogs but somehow more obvious. I see too many blog posts in which people are angry at Fairphone for (in my opinion) the wrong issues.


Dear @Douwe, you asked how many people you convinced and how FairPhone should improve to help us on convincing others… Well I told you I convinced my brother and I also told you why I feel worried. I told you that for those reasons I don’t think I should suggest others to take a FairPhone… Still you think I was off topic.

OK… Next time I will try just to say good stuff if you can’t handle critics… :wink:

I didn’t move your post because it was off topic. I moved the whole discussion that emerged from your post as it was getting off-topic, as I stated above:

The discussion below was moved from here for getting off-topic.

Us now discussing the reason for the move is actually off-topic again, so if you have further questions please PM me.

Just one more thing:

  1. I moved your post and I was not criticized
  2. One could argue moving your criticism to a separate thread gives it a more prominent spot. We never move discussions for being critical, we move them for being off-topic.

Now back to slightly more on topic:

Well that’s because you weren’t there for the other ones.

@maik what do you have in mind? Fairphone’s blog is the most prominent place for them to share announcements and stories that exceed the word limit of social media sites.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Has anyone bought a Fairphone because of you?

Although I expect you might reply rather strongly to me as well, I cannot help but respond to the second point you share. We can agree that the support for FP1, in both spare parts and updates, is not what any of us had hoped for - but additionally, this is not what we were sold. Comparing FP (the company) to the low bar set by other phone companies will only hold it back from what I have understood it aims to achieve. Also, dismissively FP1 as ‘outdated’ (fine, it is) goes fundamentally against what I had understood this company was trying to achieve: a phone we could keep running longer, through support and spare parts.


I understand the frustration. But not the blaming.

Do you blame Fairphone for having been naive? Or for having lied to customers? Or for not trying hard enough?

And depending on your answer - how should Fairphone act differently? Hire more developers? Who is going to pay them? Return-on-investment oriented investors or a higher device price?