The Fairphone 5 from Dutch manufacturer Fairphone was launched today. The handset continues the company’s differentiated approach to the smartphone market. The phone will be fully released in late September, and we’ll have a full review then. For now, a few areas are worth highlighting: the longevity of software support, the modular nature of the phone, and the ethical approach Fairphone brings to the market.
Fairphone continues to operate in the consumer electronics market as ethically as possible. It considers sourcing materials from sustainable sources and using recycled or ethically mined materials whenever possible (the company estimates that seventy percent of handsets use these grades of material). It also ensures that those working on the assembly line for phones and its components are paid a living wage.
Fairphone’s approach shows that it is possible for manufacturers to drive change and show that consumers demand this approach.
One of the curious specification choices, at least at first glance, is the use of Qualcomm’s QCM 6490 chipset instead of the almost ubiquitous Snapdragon series used by countless smartphones. Fairphone has chosen this option to allow a longer support window from Qualcomm, which in turn will enable Fairphone to offer a longer support window on this handset.
That software support window is five years long for Android updates and at least eight years for security updates; Fairphone’s ambition is to take this for ten years, with the phone being active until 2033.
That’s great for software, but can hardware last ten years? Fairphone has an advantage here; If you’ve been following the company, you would know what this is. Like its predecessors, the Fairphone 5 is a modular phone. With a regular screwdriver, you can take the phone apart, remove the broken module, order a replacement from Fairphone, and screw it back together.
Add to this the five-year warranty, and Fairphone has crafted the handset for a long and productive life.
The Fairphone 5 is available for pre-order now and will be released on 14 September, when I’ll do a full review of the innovative handset.
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