The dream of a modular phone has long died out, but one of the reasons for that dream continues to live on. More than just being upgradeable, modular phones also bring the promise of repairable and sustainable devices whose parts can be easily swapped out when broken. The Fairphone has long offered such “ethical” phones, but those smart devices often lagged behind their peers. The upcoming Fairphone 4 might still qualify as a mid-range phone, but it will at least jump on the 5G bandwagon.
Fairphone’s choice of hardware is, of course, strategic. In addition to keeping prices down, the company also works to ensure that these hardware pieces work in a modular fashion. Almost all smartphones aren’t designed to be modular, and the parts that make up the whole are made likewise.
That is perhaps one of the reasons why the 2020 Fairphone 3+ used a Snapdragon 632 from 2018. In addition to being slower than Qualcomm’s 2020 mid-range chipsets, the Fairphone 3+ also misses out on one of the biggest trends in the smartphone market. According to WinFuture, however, that will be changing in a big way with the Fairphone 4.
An entry in the Wi-Fi Alliance reveals that Fairphone’s next model will come with 5G support, a first for the company and a first for the niche sustainable phone market. This at least means a more recent chipset from 2020 onward, though that could mean anything between a Snapdragon 765G down to a Snapdragon 480 5G. Even MediaTek’s Dimensity is fair game, though Fairphone might not have much experience with that platform yet.
Sadly, not much else is known about the Fairphone 4 at this point, other than the Android 11 that will be running on the device. That could hint that its launch could come this year, hopefully with other upgrades that could make the phone more enticing to consumers beyond its repairability.