Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise building a market for ethical smartphones, has announced that after an unprecedented over seven years of support, Fairphone 2 has reached the end of its life. The software update for Android 10 releasing today will be its final update. However, certain spare parts for Fairphone 2 will still be available as long as supplies last or as long as there are a reasonable amount of active users. Fairphone 2 was the world’s first modular smartphone on the market, a revolutionary concept for the electronics industry. In total, around 115,000 Fairphone 2s were sold and there are now around 15,000 still in use. Producing the first modular phone presented new challenges for Fairphone, both in the supply chain and software longevity.
Fairphone has had to work with chipsets that no longer support the latest software to keep Fairphone 2 going for as long as possible. Against all odds and with the help of many dedicated Fairphone and open source community members, the company was able to overcome software challenges to provide Fairphone 2 users with continued software updates, effectively using a DIY style to keep the device going for longer. Fairphone 2 launched with Android 5 and was subsequently upgraded to Android 6, Android 7.1, Android 9 and most recently Android 10. It is one of the few devices from 2015 to have received an upgrade to Android 9 and 10. Fairphone provided users with a total of 43 software updates throughout Fairphone 2’s lifetime.
Fairphone has embraced open source software since its founding, working closely with open source communities. The open source community is crucial to allowing Fairphones to run securely for longer, even after the official end of software support. They helped Fairphone complete the last Android upgrades but also to provide alternative software available for its users. Today, users can now install OSes such as LineageOS or /e/OS available on Android 11 for Fairphone 2. Fairphone’s ambition is to bring more fairness to the electronics industry for both hardware and software.
Agnes Crepet, Head of Software Longevity at Fairphone, states:
“When we first launched Fairphone 2, our software team had the ambition to support the phone for three to five years. We didn’t know we would achieve our goal (and more) because it was an industry first. We are proud to have gone above and beyond our initial ambitions for Fairphone 2. The end of life for Fairphone 2 is bittersweet because in the ideal world, we’d support our devices indefinitely, but due to industry and financial constraints, that is simply not feasible. But we are happy we can say we supported Fairphone 2 for an unprecedented seven years.”
For more information on what this means for Fairphone 2 users, please read the blog post here.