Pledged 8+ Years of Software Support for Longevity Enthusiasts

Fairphone, the ethical electronics startup, has revealed its latest flagship smartphone, the Fairphone 5, set to be dispatched to European customers starting next month.

Running on Android 13, this device boasts a five-year warranty and a commitment to software support that is projected to extend until at least 2028, with potential longevity stretching to 2031 or 2033. This indicates that users might still be utilizing the phone a full decade later, assuming traditional phones remain relevant and we’re not all immersed in the metaverse.

Succeeding the Fairphone 4 from 2021, the Dutch social enterprise continues its biennial smartphone release cycle.

Fairphone justifies its frequent hardware releases by pointing out that the rapid cycles of electronics component manufacturing necessitate regular updates to their mobile hardware. This approach allows them to ensure parts availability and, in turn, deliver five years of support for their devices. Moreover, they emphasize that ongoing support for previous handsets reinforces device longevity. Creating new models also serves the purpose of attracting new Fairphone users by convincing users of rival smartphones to make the switch.

With the Fairphone 5, the socially responsible B-Corp certified enterprise commits to eight years of software support and promises five OS upgrades. However, they aspire to extend this support even further, potentially up to 2033, contingent on factors such as the number of devices still in use at that time. At the very least, a firm commitment of eight years of support is guaranteed.

As with earlier Fairphones, buyers retain the freedom to install alternative operating systems, such as Murena’s deGoogled version of Android (e/OS), freeing them from reliance on Google’s default mobile ecosystem.

Fairphone anticipates prolonging software support more than before due to their shift to a Qualcomm IoT chipset for this model. This chipset is specifically designed for industrial-grade hardware and devices with extended lifetimes. (The previous flagship employed the more common mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chipset.)

Miquel Ballester, Design Lead at Fairphone, emphasized the innovative approach of the Fairphone 5: “With Fairphone 5, we are continuing to push the boundaries we pushed in the previous generations of Fairphones, showing the electronics industry what is possible.” He also highlighted their collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to enhance longevity through an industrial-grade chipset, thus ensuring long-lasting software support.

Following the Fairphone tradition, this new flagship phone features modularity, promoting repairability to extend the device’s lifespan. Users can disassemble the device at home, using small tools to switch out modules for repairs or upgrades. Fairphone supplies replacement parts through its e-shop.

The company’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its incorporation of recycled and ethically sourced materials into device construction. Over 70% of the materials used in the new flagship are in this category—a significant increase from the prior flagship’s 30% at launch. Notable progress has been made in responsibly sourcing cobalt, gold, and silver for this device.

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Fairphone’s dedication to ensuring fair wages for workers involved in manufacturing remains a central focus. Agreements with suppliers have led to improved working conditions and a living wage bonus for tens of thousands of workers engaged in the production process.

On the environmental front, the company boasts its shift to renewable energy for manufacturing the Fairphone 5 through renewable energy credits. Additionally, it plans to transition the factory to renewable energy production in the long term.

The commitment to reducing e-waste remains intact, with Fairphone committing to take back a phone or equivalent e-waste for every device sold. Moreover, the company has taken responsibility for the full CO2 footprint of its devices. This involves not only emission reduction through longevity and sustainable practices but also investing in high-standard CO2 reduction projects.

Key specifications of the Fairphone 5 include a 6.46-inch OLED display (a first for Fairphone), a Qualcomm Octa Core chipset, 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and a triple 50MP camera setup with improved image sensors and tuning, especially for low-light conditions. The IP rating for water and dust resistance has also been slightly upgraded.

Pre-orders for the Fairphone 5 are available starting today on Fairphone’s website and through carrier partners across various European markets, including the UK, France, Germany, and an international edition. The release date is set for September 14 in most markets, with Nordic shipments following a few weeks later. The retail price is €699.

While the Fairphone 4 is accessible in the US through Murena, a Fairphone OS partner, the company currently has no plans to expand its sales operations into the US. Fairphone intends to maintain its focus on Western Europe, believing there is still substantial room for growth and brand development in this region.