Fairphone is a social enterprise company which aims to develop smartphones that are designed and produced with minimal harm to people and the planet. The company is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and is supported by the Waag Society, a foundation which aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture. The main motivation for founding Fairphone was to develop a mobile device that does not contain conflict minerals (which in smartphones are typically gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten) and has fair labour conditions for the workforce along the supply chain producing it. The second version of the company's handset is one of the first modular smartphones available for purchase, with the product being designed to be easily repaired and upgraded.
History and mission
Fairphone was founded as a social enterprise company in January 2013, having existed as a campaign for two and a half years. The company's website states that its mission is to "bring a fair smartphone to the market – one designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet". Fairphone, however, acknowledges that it will not be possible to produce a 100% fair phone yet, but with this aim it seeks to raise awareness among consumers and in the mobile phone industry.
"It's about the idea and not about the phone."— Miquel Ballester (product strategy Fairphone)
2013: first production batch
- The project raised money for the initial batch of phones through pre-orders, reaching the required 5,000 on 5 June 2013. It sold the entire initial production run of 25,000 handsets on 13 November 2013, nearly a month in advance of the revised mid-December release date.
2014: second production batch and partnerships
- iFixit announced in April 2014 a partnership with Fairphone, to offer owners self-repair guides.
- A second production run of 35,000 phones was released for sale on 21 May 2014.
- 3D Hubs and Fairphone partnered in July 2014 to offer locally-produced 3D printed cases.
- In September 2014, The Phone Co-op announced itself to be the UK's sole stockist of Fairphone's second batch of handsets.
2015: development of the Fairphone 2
In February 2015, Fairphone announce its new production partner, Hi-P, after a selection process detailed on its blog. In June 2015, specifications  and prices were published on Fairphone's official website.
Fairphone won the award for fastest-growing European tech startup at The Next Web conference in April 2015. Other nominees included Freespee (Sweden), YPlan (UK), Uplike (France), PackLink (Spain), Blacklane (Germany), and Festicket (UK).
The choice of using Qualcomm's hardware on Fairphone devices has been strongly criticized by Replicant's maintainers. Because of this choice it would be impossible to build a working Android version running only free software because the processor requires a non-free firmware with secret binary blobs. Replicant's maintainers suggested other hardware vendors preferable to Qualcomm, like MX, OMAP, Rockchip and Allwinner.
- Company profile
- Miquel Ballester (product strategy Fairphone) in: The Utopia Gadget: "Fairphone is not a smartphone, but a social mission", motherboard.vice.com, 27 July '15 / in original (de): "Es geht um die Idee und nicht um das Telefon.", in: Das Utopie-Gadget: "Fairphone ist kein Smartphone, sondern eine soziale Mission", motherboard.vice.com, 27. Juli '15
- Mier, Joe. "5,000 Fairphones sold! Let’s start production!". Fairphone Blog. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "First Fairphone Sells Out". Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Production Update: Delivery Timeline". Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- iFixit and Fairphone – Fixing The Cell Phone Problem, iFixit e-mail of April 3, 2014 (web version)
- Morgan, Pinder. "Fairphone – Ethics Meets Technology". Capital Technologies. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- van de Weerd, Roos. "Launching Fairphone 3D-printed cases with 3D Hubs". Fairphone. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "The Phone Co-op offers UK's first ethical smartphone". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). 15 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Ravenscroft, Fiona. "Fairphone: a review". The Phone Co-op blog. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- "The path to finding our new production partner: Hi-P". Fairphone Blog. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Specification of Fairphone 2
- Van Wijhe, Jelle. "Tech5: Fairphone named Europe’s fastest-growing startup of 2015". The Next Web. The Next Web. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- Paul Kocialkowski (25 November 2013). "About the Fairphone". blog.replicant.us. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- "Fairphone 2". redmine.replicant.us. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
If the vendor was really trying to be cooperative with free software, they would have chosen another platform to work with.
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- Official website
- Waag Society
- Conflict-free: FairPhone struggles for more ethical smartphones in 2013, Joshua Kopstein, The Verge, 20 December 2012
- My search for a smartphone ends here, George Monbiot, The Guardian, 25 April 2013
- Fairphone: disrupting the mobile phone market through values, Bas van Abel, The Guardian, 8 July 2013
- World’s first ethical smartphone unveiled – and the pre-orders flood in, Sebastian Salek, The Independent, 15 September 2013
- Could Fairphone help clean up supply chains in the smartphone market?, Rich McEachran, The Guardian, 19 September 2013
- Fairphone, the world's first 'ethical smartphone', launches in London, Sebastian Salek, The Independent, 20 September 2013
- Fairphone -- changing the way products are made: Bas van Abel at TEDxAmsterdam, YouTube video, 12 min., 6 November 2013