Sustainability and smartphones are as compatible as water and oil. With hopes to change this, Fairphone have entered the smartphone market with a mission to introduce more ethical mobile devices that are free from conflict materials, life threatening labour practices and a destructive impact on the environment.
Producing smartphones via a conveyor belt is terrible for our planet. For this reason, this social enterprise aims to extend the life cycle of their phones for as long as possible. This is why Fairphone have only released 2 generations of devices since 2013, whereas Apple for example have released 10 models of iPhones in the past 6 years.
Back in March, Fairphone announced that the Fairphone 2 has been sold out and that recent listing on the Bluetooth SIG site spotted by Android Authority hints that Fairphone 3 is on the horizon. This illustrates their commitment to only produce enough phones to satisfy the existing demand.
What Should We Expect?
Although the listing doesn't reveal any more details than the name of the phone and Bluetooth 5 connectivity, we'll take it as a green light for our speculations.
The Fairphone 2 received several improvements over its predecessor, including an increased display size, a bigger battery and memory paired with a slightly better front and rear cameras. Although compared to superphones like Samsung Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro with massive batteries exceeding 4000 mAh and powerful processors, the Fairphone 2 specifications look substandard for a price of over £400 when profit-driven companies offer much more for the same price.
We won't be surprised if Fairphone 3 packs a chipset from 2 years ago and skips the camera upgrade. The Fairphone 3 is most likely going to arrive with a removable battery in the region of 2,500 mAh, a 5.6-inch LCD display and expanded selection of modules to keep its repairability scores high.
We are yet to hear of any release and price related details, but it looks as though Fairphone is indeed gearing up for the launch of its 3rd device. One of Fairphone's community members mentioned that "the Fairphone 3 could be available from September 2019".
What Do You Think?
Even if Fairphone chooses to keep its prices relatively high for a rather outdated specs list, the company is still following its approach towards more ethical phones. Our one concern is that the release of the Fairphone 3 will affect software and security support for Fairphone 2 owners. Fairphone's efforts to shift the industry are admirable, but inviting users to a new ecosystem without long-term commitment to maintain it as advertised leads users to try an ethical phone and fail, opting instead for their former harmful alternatives. What are your thoughts on ethical phones? Would you consider making a switch? Let us know on our social media. Don't forget that you can 'green-over' your next phone, if Fairphone's offering isn't convincing enough for you.
Cover image: Fairphone