Fairphone Explains Why They Had to Stop Supporting the Fairphone 1
As a smartphone customer who spends hundreds of dollars on a new device, it always sucks to hear when the device I want to keep using is no longer receiving support. This is most commonly an issue when someone wants to keep receiving software updates as they bring in both new features as well as security patches. But it can also be in terms of hardware peripheral replacements (batteries, cases, screen protectors, chargers, etc.).
Sadly, this is what happened a couple of weeks ago when Fairphone announced they would no longer be able to continue supporting the Fairphone 1. Not only did this mean the device would no longer receive software updates (which means the device will not be updated to now-ancient Android 4.4 KitKat), but it also means that the company will no longer be selling any spare parts for the device either. With the Fairphone 1 being a modular smartphone, this can be an issue for current owners.
Last week, the CEO of Fairphone published a blog post that detailed exactly why they had to make this decision. During the launch of the Fairphone 1, the company used the hardware manufacturing partner Guohong for most of the supply chain. They decided to end this partnership after a certain period of time so Fairphone had to contact individual spare parts suppliers to ask them if they would be able to produce extra supplies for the company.
This worked for a while, but even those supply chains ended up retiring this hardware over time. They repeated this again but they eventually just became financially unable to keep this going. The company says they’ve learned a lot with the supply issues of the Fairphone 1 and hope to leverage that knowledge to help them prevent this from happening as quickly in the future. One step to ensure this is by generating more working capital and another step is to improve their planning and estimations with spare parts for the Fairphone 2.