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Modular Smartphone “Shift6mq”

Shiftphone is a modular, easy-to-repair smartphone brand created by the company SHIFT in Germany. The company emphasizes fair trade and ecology, similar to Fairphone.[1][2][3][4] Instead of tantalum capacitors made from coltan, ceramic capacitors are used for their manufacturing. So far, eleven model series have been released. The most recent release was the SHIFT6mq (successor of the Shift6m) in June 2020. The upcoming device will be the SHIFTphone 8, scheduled for release in 2024.[5]


The official company name is SHIFT GmbH.[6]

Model names[edit]

The names of models start with the string "SHIFT" in upper case letters.

Except for the SHIFTphone 8 this is followed by the length of the display diagonal rounded to full inches. After that

  • the name ends - for the oldest models
  • a dot follows, in turn followed by a number - some newer models until around 2017
  • an m follows - this is for the new modular line

OS name[edit]

The OS is named either SHIFT-OS or ShiftOS.[7]


Year of release Name Notes
2014 Shift7
2015 Shift4
2015 Shift5
2015 Shift5.1[8][9][10]
2016 Shift5.2[11]
2016 Shift7+
2017 Shift4.2
2017 Shift5.3
2018 Shift6m "m" for modular - the first modular shiftphone and was awarded the highest national award for ecological design in Germany, the Bundespreis Ecodesign, in the category "product".[12]
2019 Shift5me "e" for Economy
2020 Shift6mq "q" for Qualcomm, the first to use a Qualcomm SoC
2024 end of March expected Shiftphone 8 "8" for model eight (not counting the dot-versions). It is planned to be the first shiftphone model of which the name has no reference to the length of the display diagonale, that is IP67 certified and has no 3.5 mm headphone jack. It is planned to use the Qualcomm QCM6490 SoC, the same as the Fairphone 5.

Operating system[edit]

There are two different operating systems. The SafetyNet based SHIFT-OS-G/ShiftOS-G with Google services or the AOSP-based SHIFT-OS-L or ShiftOS-L without Google services. Furthermore, flashing the device with a custom ROM is allowed;[13] ShiftOS developers are also partly involved in the development of certain custom ROMs.[14]



Shiftphones are built modularly to allow customers to change parts and repair the device without voiding the warranty. Videos support the user in repairing their device, explaining how to open it and how to change certain modules.[15]

Circular economy[edit]

Customers have the option, to upgrade their device to a different model.[16]

Shiftphone partners with Closing the Loop.[17]

Privacy aspects[edit]

The operating system can be replaced with a custom ROM based on GNU/Linux (Mobian[18]) or a de-googled Android.

Different from the competitors PinePhone and Librem, the motherboard and peripherals are not open-source hardware. This makes hardware backdoors still possible.

The SHIFTphone 8 does include hardware kill switches, for example for the microphone and camera.[19]

Workers' care[edit]

Shift employees in China do not work more than 50 hours a week, while it is common for people to work up to 90. Compared to the average Chinese worker in the manufacturing business, the staff is provided with insurances.[20]

Criticism and controversies about conflict minerals[edit]

In 2016 c't described the Shift5 as a typical cheap smartphone. Besides, the journal argued that there was no evidence that coltan is not used in Shiftphones and thus criticized the transparency of SHIFT. SHIFT and further secondary sources claim that coltan is not in use for their manufacturing.[21] However, according to c't, the SHIFT partner company "Vstar and Weihuaxin" did not provide information about conflict-free material used in Shiftphone. Unlike Shiftphone, Fairphone provides detailed audit reports about component suppliers through a Chinese agency, and also facilitates detailed information on problems and compromises in the supply chain.[22]

Coltan is used to make components for mobile phones and other electronic devices. A huge part of the ore is from mines in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). "Much mining has been done in small artisanal mining operations, sometimes known as Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM). These small-scale mines are unregulated, with high levels of child labor and workplace injury." Some 50,000 children, some just seven years old, work in Congo's coltan mines. Workers often have little or no protection and often work underground in self-made shafts.[23]

Recent reports paint a clear picture: articles by many magazines were able to capture the statements of Carsten Waldeck and prove their credibility accordingly.

For example, golem.de reported in detail on the company and its efforts in terms of sustainability and fairness in June 2018.[24]

The ProSieben magazine Galileo tested the newly released smartphone Shift6m and illuminated, in the form of video recordings, the production conditions of the in-house manufactory located in China in June 2018.[25]

N-tv described the initial efforts for fairness and sustainability as well as the history of the Shiftphone, in September 2018.[26]

In August 2018, the ecology portal Utopia.de [de] no longer reported any lack of transparency regarding Shift's Chinese hardware manufacturing process.[27]

In the issue 15/2018, the computer magazine c't showed a more positive approach on the topic of German smartphone manufacturer Shift, although the report itself was rather short in comparison to other European hardware providers.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Galan, Ana (24 October 2017). "Shiftphone: an Ethical Smartphone That's Made in Germany – Responsibility". RESET.to. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  2. ^ Schröder, Horst (4 April 2016). "So gut ist das erste Fairphone aus Deutschland". www.gruenderszene.de. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  3. ^ Knödl, Karsten (August 2017). "Mehr als fair". Heimatnachrichten Fritzlar/Homberg. p. 5.
  4. ^ Peters, Rolf-Herbert (November 2015). "Handy mit Moral". Stern: 134.
  5. ^ Maurus, Tess (2021-06-02). "SHIFTphone 8 Status". SHIFTPHONES - (in German). Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  6. ^ "Handelsregisterauszug von SHIFT GmbH aus Wabern (HRB 12090)". www.online-handelsregister.de. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  7. ^ "Home". shiftphones.com.
  8. ^ Hasenheit, Marius (28 September 2015). "ShiftPhone: Das erste faire Telefon aus Deutschland". www.wiwo.de. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Shiftphone 5.1 – Das kann das faire Smartphone - Bilder & Fotos - WELT".
  10. ^ "Shiftphone 5.1: Praxis-Test des fairen Smartphones". 23 March 2016.
  11. ^ Johannsen, Thomas (June 2017). "Oberklasse Shiftphone Shift5.2". Tablet und Smartphone: 11.
  12. ^ https://bundespreis-ecodesign.de/en/winner/projectoverview/shift-6m [dead link]
  13. ^ "Home". shiftphones.com."Modding". SHIFTPHONES (in German). 19 January 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  14. ^ "SHIFT6mq - Anleitung / Guide - Feedback - (SHIFT6mq) LineageOS 20 (Android 13)". SHIFTPHONES (in German). 19 January 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  15. ^ Wiebke, Wiebke (March 2018). "Wegweiser in Sachen Fairness". Guter Rat: 55.
  16. ^ "Nachhaltigkeit von Geschäftsmodellen in der Informations- und Kommunikationstechnik" (PDF). Deutsche Umwelthilfe: 8, 18. January 2018.
  17. ^ "SHIFTphone 8 Status | SHIFT -".
  18. ^ "Mobian - Debian Wiki".
  19. ^ "SHIFTphone 8 status".
  20. ^ Holtkemper, Lennart (March 2017). "Fairphone und Shiftphone: Nachhaltig produzierte Smartphones". Connect.
  21. ^ Neubauer, Dr. Uta (December 2017). "Faire Handys aus Hessen" (PDF). Technologieland Hessen. p. 47.
  22. ^ Wölbert, Christian (September 2016). "Das angeblich faire Android-Smartphone Shift 5.1". C't. 2016 (9): 64, 65.
  23. ^ Behnke, Andrea (September 2016). "Rohstoffabbau schadet Umwelt und Menschen". Verbraucherzentrale NRW. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  24. ^ Sustainability does not have to be too expensive or ugly (in German), retrieved 2019-12-05
  25. ^ The first German Smartphone (German), retrieved 2019-12-05
  26. ^ Fair high technology from Hessen - A smartphone that is supposed to change the world (in German), retrieved 2019-12-05
  27. ^ Test: Shift6m of Shiftphones - the German Fairphone alternative (in German), 11 August 2018, retrieved 2019-05-12
  28. ^ Link, Michael (6 July 2018), "Market Overview - Smartphones from Europe", C't (in German), 2018 (15): 168, retrieved 2019-12-05

External links[edit]