An SD card slot and a headphone jack? Tell me it has a user-replaceable battery and I can install my own ROM, and this becomes a serious contender.
Fairphone, whose devices are designed to be sustainable and made in exploitation-free factories, will kick out its third unit in mid-September, priced at €450.00 including VAT. The business, which describes itself as a social enterprise, is based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has 70+ employees around the world. Its …
Yes, these are all good steps in the right direction, but the big missing piece is control of the firmware and software. It's impossible to argue that anything with Google software embedded in it is 'ethical' unless there is a clearly documented and supported way to remove it completely.
but the big missing piece is control of the firmware and software
I couldn't agree more. Whether you want to categorise it under it "repairability" (I think yes).
Then again, since it's Google, I think the correct phrase would be "when hell freezes over". Probably the wait is still on until the possibility comes when (as with OEM boxen and *nix) you take a phone, zero it and install your phone OS of choice.
And yes, of course we all know about e.g. Sailfish, but we also know that the big G has a "from my cold, dead hands" kind of attitude with regard to their (profitable) biz...
"you take a phone, zero it and install your phone OS of choice"
This is possible, it's just usually your choice of OS is AOSP-based or bust. Getting a minimal Linux install running should be relatively straightforward, but it won't be much use as an actual phone.
The problem isn't being able to run the code of your choice on a phone (several manufacturers allow you to unlock a phone direct from their website), it's that there's very few mobile operating systems, and even fewer open source ones.
The Fairphone 2 had a build of LineageOS for it, so if the third version follows that trend then you can remove all the corporate Google from the phone.
You'd still be using ASOP (Android Open Source Project) code, but as the name suggests, it's all open source, even if lots of it is written by Google engineers.
The fairphone 3 sounds great -- I'm tired of replacing phones just because the battery is worn out. The fact that one can replace the display, cameras, speakers, and microphone by oneself is great news. Too bad it won't work on most networks in the U.S.A.
Suggestion for fairphone 4: move radios to a single module, then offer different modules for EU, UK, USA, etc.
You are aware that lineageOS is still android right? Sure it has google's apps stripped out of it by default, but don't pretend it's some different OS. Plus I imagine the vast majority of lineageOS users reinstall them first thing anyway since they're useful, which is how google gets away with slurping in the first place. Plus I imagine lots of lineageos users switch to it purely to get away from the uninstallable bloatware/malware carriers and manufactures put on their stock roms, rather than to escape google.
Mmm, having recently installed Lineage I can't say I've found much need of any of Google's slurpy offerings. One of my banking apps won't use the fingerprint login without added Googliness, but the other banking app is fine using the fingerprint scanner as is.
Apart from that issue, even the few apps that moan about absent Googly hooks still seem to work to a perfectly acceptable level.
So, yes, maybe some people can't get by without the great corporate panopticon octopus (sorry cephlapods - no insult intended) drooling its way through their stuff and actions, but on the basis of this commentard's personal experience maybe not as many as you might imagine.
"You don't need a smartphone. It is a mindless, consumer-luxury good, that you have been deluding into buying."
Sure it is, just like your phone, your computer, your landline and internet connection;, and, indeed, your car, cooker, oven, dishwasher and fridge. I mean, it's perfectly possible to live in a mud hut or wooden cabin, catch your own food and cook it on an open fire, get around on a bicycle or your own two feet, anything else is a luxury isn't it?
Meanwhile, in the real world, for a large proportion of the people on this planet, a smartphone IS their TV, computer, phone and internet connection
"I don't think the low sales reflect the concerns of consumers, but the awareness of and the availability of the phone."
It's also a case of production availability. Fairphone is a small company doing small production runs because they don't have the financial backing to afford a big inventory. Essentially they have sold every phone they ever made, which isn't bad going for a small startup that is competing both against high-margin cash-rich behemoths like Apple and Samsung as well as ultra-low-margin / high-volume state-backed outfits such as Huawei and Xiaomi
I don't think the low sales reflect the concerns of consumers, but the awareness of and the availability of the phone.
I think low sales are more likely to reflect the unimpressive specs, stupidly high price and - if the reviews are anything to go by - appalling reliability. Not to mention the fact that two "upgradable" FairPhones have now been dumped rather than upgraded.
I have a FairPhone2 - damaged the screen - the replacement cost £80. For that of course you can buy a complete phone - still... But the next thing I did was to get the phone which was in a coat pocket caught between the seat and car door - the chassis bent and now the cost of replacement part was indeed prohibitive. I am now on 2nd Xperia, performance good, cost of ownership was less/not worth to spend the money on the same device. Now that they have updated, I'll take another look/hopefully the parts are relatively less costly - but I doubt it.
This phone is not aimed at people who are wowed by a 64-core 5 GHz SoC and a billion pixel screen. That category should continue buying Chinese phones made by people who not yet committed suicide while financially supporting civil wars in Africa.
I own a Fairphone 2 and it looks much better than all those iPhones with cracked screens that people around me carry around. After almost 4 years my Fairphone 2 works pretty well. The problems I do have seem more Android/app related.
You can only upgrade phones for a few years because the SoC is not yet supported any more by the manufacturer (Qualcomm). Fairphone, as a small player, cannot force Qualcomm or Google to support their shit for longer. Blame them.
I had bought the original Fairphone a few years ago. Worked very well, I was very happy with it. When battery started packing it in, replaced at minimal cost compared to getting a new phone. Now the 'new' battery is also knackered, I leave it permanently plugged in and in service as a media player. Great little piece of kit, even though the FP1 was not modular as FP2 - you got to start somewhere!
As to FP3, we're arriving at a point where phone hardware is pretty commoditised and you don't really need the latest and greatest chippery to run pretty much anything except new games. My 4-year old Samsung S6 is still quite powerful enough for pretty much anything I use it for, it's limiting factor is (of course!) the old battery that is no longer keeping that much charge. So FP3 will be on my shortlist for replacements
My Fairphone 1 ran long enough for me to decide to skip the F 2 and wait to see what the F 3 would be like. (I've had a secondhand iPhone in the imeantime.) My only concern is that the aspect ratio is a bit high for maps. I think I'll be selling the iPhone and buying the Fairphone 3 next month. It won't have the same usability, but it's good to know that children and wars aren't involved in its design or manufacture
I'm rather surprised that the F 2 didn't sell more than the F 1, but now the F3 has both ethical and techie d-i-y appeal.
$159.95 Linux phone; nothing Google; bootable microSD card slot; replaceable $10 Samsung battery; headphone jack; security switches; I2C data bus available to back cover; kits already delivered to devs...
Name me ONE humanely-produced Android-compatible SoC out there and we'll listen. Otherwise, it's simply a choice between which orifice the club goes. And given the app marketplace and lack of alternatives with a comparable selection, going without will be like starving.
I don't think you got the jest of it. Qualcomm is well-known for using illegal practices to harm both the competition and consumers. Furthermore, Qualcomm is known for “letting in the bad guys”. Which means that if you're a journalist or person otherwise in danger, this gives them all they need to let you end up like Khashoggi.
Lastly, Qualcomm gives a toss about the FairPhone. Hence, there's only an outdated Android with no chance of updates.
Could it get any worse?
Another potentially serious endeavor is Purism's Librem 5 (pre-prod, due out allegedly this quarter). I was really excited about Sailfish when it emerged having had a Nokia N9 (still my favorite phone) but was disappointed with how things panned out for the US side.
I do understand that it's a tough market though but it always amazed me how many people threw around the number of apps in whatever app store. Most are wrappers for a website. I don't want or need extra stuff whose only real purpose is extra telemetry.
Hm. My wife bought a FF1 at launch. It's still running (painfully slowly, which is ok as she only uses it for phonecalls on a couple of international SIMs) but I had to Sugru in a differently-shaped battery when the original died, as they'd stopped stocking the official, custom-spec battery. I understand that the phone market is both very competitive and utterly dominated by a handful of big players, and a small Dutch independent isn't ever going to become a market leader, but my impression is still that the FF series have been proof of concept devices first and foremost, rather than a serious consumer offering. Maybe that's changing with the FF3 - they certainly seem to have generated a lot more press this time, and if the comments here are anything to go by, people seem fairly positive about the device - but I'll probably stick with my unethical phone until either the FF4 launches, or FF3's success prompts the big boys to use their financial clout to encourage their own supply chains to smarten up.
It's a good start, but the two biggest reasons for me replacing cellphones is to get new LTE bands or having no maintained OS. Sign me up when I can select the radio bands. I'll even help develop if there's that and 3rd party OS support.
(T-Mobile has LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 66, 71 in the US. International roaming is free in most countries so you'll want bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 20, 41, and maybe others if you travel. At least some of those LTE bands will migrate to stand-alone 5G over the next few years.)
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