Fairphone got a free plug on BBC

The Fairphone got a free plug on todays BBC online:

With the propaganda byline: 'The phone you can repair yourself". That will probably go away after the next top story.

No mention of any competitor who allows the same thing, it is like they are the only one.

So who at the Fairphone company took a BBC reporter out to dinner? (And who didn’t think of it at puri.sm?)


By doing that, you’ve violated copyright law. Please take this down before it is reported to the BBC.

By “same thing”, what exactly do you mean? Is there a phone competitor that sells replacement parts Spare parts for your Fairphone, discover them here for their screen, camera(s), back cover, mainboard, USB port, speaker, earpiece, etc.? There’s a tiny competitor that lets you replace their wifi module and cellular modem … but that’s not really what I would call the “same thing”.


From the BBC byline that says: “The phone you can repair yourself”.

What??? I’m not sure how that’s an answer to what I was talking about.

You were implying that Purism is “competitor who allows the same thing”. I’m disputing that: What
Purism is doing is not really the “same thing”. My point is that the Fairphone sells a lot of parts that allows one to repair their phone (see the link). These include the screen, camera(s), case parts, USB port, speaker, battery, earpiece, mainboard, etc… Purism lets you replace their wifi module and cellular modem (and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to get a battery). That’s not the same thing.


FWIW you can buy more replacement parts than that (including replacement LCD) but you have to do it through support, so yeah not the same, much more obfuscated, and it’s not their primary goal. They just don’t list them in their store.

Repairability for Purism is more of an add-on/bonus and parts last for as long as they last with no true commitment there.

Fairphone is very focused on repairability and sustainability in ways that effectively no one else is.

  1. Anytime your best evidence is “the byline” it’s probably a good idea to reconsider your evidence and stance.
  2. If you want to be pedantic all phones can be repaired to some degree yourself which makes this byline hyperbole which most bylines are as the goal is to hook you in not be a 1 line synopsis of the entire article.
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I stand corrected then. Thanks.


I stand even more corrected, sorry I even brought it up now.

Furthermore, just being able to gets parts is only half the story. How hard are they to replace, how plentiful are the instruction to doing that, etc?

I have a Librem 13 that is dead, because the display cable came loose on the LCD itself. All it needed was to be inserted better. Yet the whole screen is glued, and unrepairable. Only replaceable. Not only was a replacement near impossible, but after over 6 months I was able to buy a replacement screen from Purism. This came with no instructions of any kind, and there are to date no instructions for replacing the lid. You need to solder things and desolder others. No instructions. Furthermore the hinge mounting points broke. So I’m left with a literal headless laptop, and no way to really fix it.

Referring to the Librem 5, there is an effort to make some things repairable or swappable, but if you need to replace the screen or another kind of component it is difficult and not recommended. You need to send your phone to Purism.

By contrast companies like Framework and Fairphone make repairable devices that are easy to repair. This means getting parts and ease of installing them.

In the beginning Purism had a lot of market speech about repairability and all of that. You’ll notice that none of their product pages speak about this anymore.


Still better than what the majority of phones gives you. Fairphone is may better at this point, but others are even very much worse.

And at this point I also want to mention the end of life of Fairphones compared to Librem 5. What does repairing helps if software will get no updates before anything breaks? The newest Fairphone is better, but still has a 8 years counter. To be fair, Librem 5 also couldn’t show how long it will receive updates, but … we’re already on year 5 after first releases 2019.


That is true. Software updates are also a VERY important component, and so far it seems like Purism is doing really well in that department.


Regardless, we need parts for all Librem devices so that we can all replace parts.


8 years guaranteed. They are hoping for 10 years. That seems like a pretty reasonable amount
of time. You should post back here if your Librem 5 is still working 8 years after you got it.

Not really. It wasn’t a “production release” until Evergreen. We’re not quite through the 3rd year for the first Evergreen (and that didn’t even have its FCC ID until much later). And even that jumps the gun in terms of when the majority of the phones were delivered (1/2 of Librem 5 owners have had their phones less than two years) and even then I wouldn’t say that they were delivered with functioning software in some areas (e.g. Camera, GNSS, …).


Any mobile device lasting longer than one or two years is good enough for me.


The Fairphone 5 seems like its going to be a solid contender for a phone for me when the time comes. Besides repair ability, a great stated software support life, ethical considerations in the supply chain, my favorite Android OS CalyxOS says it will support it, and it has sdcard and usb-c displayport support unlike the pixels. Looks like a great phone.


Yeah, but look at the older ones. I guess it was very disappointing for customers, so that they raised the support on newest device (which is a good decision).

My electronics tend to stay alive for long time in general. The main issue of Librem 5 is not if hardware still works in 10 years. Hardware doesn’t break easily (except those parts who break on dropping the device), but it’s weak power with MX.8 CPU, 32GB storage or 3GB of RAM could be an issue. On the other hand, it’s no desktop replacement for me and therefor no need to stay up-to-date with those things (except power consumption shrinks a lot with new hardware).

Give a look into Nokia N900 and we can expect similar things for Librem 5. My old PC was 7 years old with 2,5 years no graphics card driver update and totally under powered system back 2018 (was 500€ PC from 2011). I used it very often and didn’t even use it even in a “nice” way (countless times shut down by overheating during dirty fans and once even cooked thermal paste for CPU :smile:). My monitors from 2012 and 2013 are still in use. I also have other things that old in my rooms. I guess my Librem 5 - that is most of the time suspended - can pass this time easily as long as I don’t want to change it.

But first people got hands on it and that counts for software support. Okay lets say the 2nd batch since the first went to Purism devs - 2020 and some customers are on year 4.

Software support does not start when everything is functional. It starts after initial release.

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… albeit that it can be supplemented by the uSD card.

Have 512GB µSD inside, but still …

I still use my Lenovo T61 laptop from 2007 (replaced keyboard; replaced fan+heatsink; replaced trackpad). It’s part of why I don’t have a Librem laptop — Librem laptops don’t have parts easily accessible and seem to have a poor longevity. I don’t know if the phone will be better or worse, but I will be very surprised if you are still using your Librem 5 in 8 years given that they haven’t promised parts out-of-warranty.

Nope. Batches before Evergreen are not for consumers — Purism used a “developer exception” to avoid requiring an FCC ID. The first production batch was Evergreen. Prototypes don’t count. One shouldn’t really count it as released until they got their FCC ID … which was July 2021. So less than 2.5 years so far.

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As I said it depends mostly if I still want to use it (but I don’t think I have to switch). Hardware with less power consumption could be a main reason to switch to another Linux phone. We will see.

I count it with begin of the moment first customers got hands on it. People with previous batches still want updates…

I think the main reason for our different opinion is, that Purism decided to make batches for the public available. It’s something other companies do not.

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