Fairphone is one of the only phone manufacturers out there with a mission for sustainability and ethics. Its Android phones are among the most repairable on the market, and the firm is doing its best to support the hardware as long as possible. As such, it has just released a new Android update to its five-year-old Fairphone 2 — Android 9 Pie.
We're big fans of Google, obviously. But we also live in the real world, where Google does a lot of stuff that's unambiguously bad. If you want to use open source Android without getting its parent company involved, then you have a few options. Previously only available in Europe, the eSolutions shop is now selling versions of the Galaxy S9 scrubbed clean of all proprietary Google software to the US and Canada.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM around, and for good reason. It has extended the life of many phones and tablets that would have otherwise been abandoned, and even for phones still receiving software updates from the original manufacturer, Lineage can sometimes work better than the stock software. Since our last roundup, LineageOS 17.1 has arrived on eight more devices, including the OnePlus Nord and 2013 Google Nexus 7.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM around, bringing new Android updates to abandoned phones, and a stock-like experience (with or without Google software) to newer devices. The last time we covered the project, it added support for a handful of phones from Huawei, Sony, Xiaomi, and OnePlus. Since then, many more devices have made their way to the official roster.
Most current-day smartphones aren't very repairable (the Galaxy S20 Ultra received a 3/10 repair score from iFixit), and are often produced with materials that can be harmful to the environment. Fairphone has been attempting to address these issues over the past few years, and now the company has released an upgraded version of last year's Fairphone 3.
Fairphone is one of a few smartphone manufacturers that manage to build sustainable and repairable handsets. You don't need to head to a repair shop or peel through adhesive to replace individual components, let alone hunt down individual parts — everything is available on the company's website. But repairable hardware is only one part of the equation when it comes to long-lasting devices. As such, the manufacturer has announced that it has just released an Android 9 Pie Beta for the Fairphone 2.
This story was originally published and last updated .
A broken smartphone is a reality none of us really want to confront. Is it fixable? Where do I take it to get it repaired? What am I going to use in the meantime? Do I need a new phone? Can I afford any of this? The questions that a smashed handset inevitably raise aren't fun, and breaking a phone in the current situation around the world right now is almost unthinkable. We're relying on them more than ever, and the availability of repair services is at an all-time low as most shops and electronics stores globally remain shut.
All that said, for many of us, it's a fact of life that our phones are going to need repairs at some point.
The Fairphone 3 is the perfect choice for somebody who values a repairable, environment-friendly phone, but just like most other handsets, it runs an Android version with Google apps out of the box — not ideal for someone who is additionally looking to take the Californian company out of the equation. That's where a new cooperation with /e/OS, the de-Googlefied Android version based on LineageOS and microG, comes in. The foundation behind it will start selling the Fairphone 3 equipped with its Android fork on May 6.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM in existence, and the project prides itself on bringing newer versions of Android to unsupported devices. However, Lineage has been a bit slow to roll out a version based on Android 10 — the Pie-based ROM was already available by this time last year. Thankfully, the next major version of LineageOS seems to be just around the corner.
The creators behind the Fairphone tout a special mission that contrasts sharply with the rest of the industry: They want to create repairable, long-lasting devices sourced from the fairest possible resources. Of course, this means compromises you won't see in other modern phones. The advantage of the removable back and the replaceable parts makes the Fairphone 3 bigger, less efficient, and more "old-fashioned" than other phones. Plus, some performance sacrifices had to be made to keep the price reasonable.