Fairphone 5 smartphone comes with 8 years of software updates thanks to Qualcomm QCM6490 industrial IoT processor

The Fairphone 5 is the latest version of the ethical, repairable, and sustainable smartphone with the company promising 8 years of software updates thanks to the use of a Qualcomm QCM6490 industrial IoT processor that benefits from a longer life cycle than consumer-grade processors typically found in phones.

The phone comes with 8GB RAM, a 256GB flash, a replaceable 6.46-inch display, 50 MP front-facing and read cameras both of which are replaceable, 5G, WiFi 6, BlueTooth 5.2, GNSS, and NFC connectivity, as well as a replaceable battery.

Fairphone 5

Fairphone 5 specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm QCM6490
    • CPU – Octa-core Kryo 670 with 1x Gold Plus core (Cortex-A78) @ 2.7 GHz, 3x Gold cores (Cortex-A78) @ 2.4 GHz, 4x Silver cores (Cortex-A55) @ up to 1.9 GHz
    • GPU – Adreno 642L GPU @ 812MHz
    • DSP – Hexagon DSP for AI workloads up to 12 TOPS
    • Build-in 5G Modem
  • System Memory – 8GB RAM
  • Storage – 256GB flash, microSD card slot up to 2GB
  • Display – Replaceable 6.46-inch FullHD+ OLED touchscreen display up to 2700 x 1224 resolution, 90 Hz refresh rate; Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Replaceable cameras
    • Rear camera
      • 50MP Sony IMX800 sensor
      • Autofocus with EIS
      • 8x digital zoom
      • HDR mode up to 12.5MP
      • ToF sensor
      • Max video resolution – 4,000 x 3,000 (4K UHD) @ 30 fps
      • Slow motion @ 120 fps and 240 fps
    • Front-facing camera – 50MP sensor with HDR support, display used as flash
  • Audio – Stereo speakers
  • Wireless
    • Cellular
      • 5GmmWave and Sub-6 in both TDD and FDD frequencies, NSA and SA modes, plus DSS
      • Dual SIM, both 5G enabled with one physical Nano-SIM slot 4FF and one eSIM (embedded SIM)
    • Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E up to 3.6 Gbps and Bluetooth  5.2 via Qualcomm FastConnect 6900
    • GNSS – GLONASS, NavIC, QZSS, Galileo, Beidou, SBAS, GPS
    • NFC for card payments & more
  • USB – Replaceable USB 3.0 port to connect SD card, camera, audio amplifier
  • Battery – Replaceable 4,200 mAh Li-Ion battery good for 12 hours calls, 459 hours in standby; 50% charge in 30 minutes with 30W charger
  • Dimensions – 162 x 75.5 x 10.5mm
  • Ingress Protection – IP55
  • Drop Test – ICE 60058-2-31 up to 1.8m
  • Military Test – MIL-810H up to 1.5m

Qualcomm QCM6490 Modular smartphoneWhile it’s great to have a modular smartphone that can be easily repaired, I wish they had also included a replaceable flash module as well, as my last two phones failed because of the flash storage, but it’s more likely to happen with smaller capacities, and the 256GB (UFS?) storage in the Fairphone 5 might last longer.

The FairPhone 5 ships with Android 13, and while owners of the phone should get software updates for 8 years, that does not mean an upgrade to Android 21 will be provided, as the company (only) promises at least 5 Android OS version updates meaning up to at least Android 18 and that’s better to any other phones on the market as far as I can tell.

The Qualcomm QCM6490 processor may also be a godsend for alternative operating systems, as the processor product page promises “long-term support for Android OS upgrades, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows 11 IoT Enterprise…”.  Fairphone does not make any promises for other operating systems, but if the community decides to work on Ubuntu or other Linux ports for the phone, they may be able to get regular updates as well provided that Qualcomm makes those public…

The Fairphone 5 is available for pre-order in Europe for 699 Euros including VAT with a 5-year warranty like for the Fairphone 4 released in 2021 and shipping is scheduled to start on September 14. Sustainability, reparability, extended warranty, and long-term support all add to the cost, as a hardware equivalent of the Fairphone 5 would be the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G currently going for $399 on Amazon, so the Fairphone 5 is about 60% more expensive even after excluding the ~20% VAT.

Via Liliputing

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12 Replies to “Fairphone 5 smartphone comes with 8 years of software updates thanks to Qualcomm QCM6490 industrial IoT processor”

  1. They will support up to Android 18? Damn thats amazing.
    I have a Motorola that only received one Android update. It doesnt even compare the level of support.

    Of course my Motorola was much cheaper than this Fairphone, but still, even some flagships receive 2 or 3 android updates at max

    1. > They will support up to Android 18?

      Well, they’re not affected by the usual ‘Android SoC’ dilemma: a smelly forward ported BSP kernel being that outdated that it can not meet Google’s kernel version requirements for the next Android version.

      The QCM6490 SoC is a SC7280 (Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3) derivate. SC7280 is getting mainlined for 2.5 years now and Fairphone 5 can now run with ‘almost’ mainline kernel: https://github.com/z3ntu/linux/commits/fp5-6.5.y

  2. How far can this go as PinePhonePro competitor? Could this be a good bootstrap platform for Linux development?

    1. Oneplus 6/6T (mainline kernel) and Pixel 3A (with libhybris) are already in pretty good shape for bootstrapping Linux development. Biggest issue currently with mainline kernels are that the camera support is non-existent (including pinephone pro). With Android kernels camera works.

      But yes, I was looking that this is pretty good candidate for next mainlined Linux phone with good hardware support. (just for 8 years hw support and initial mainline ports) Only things what i would like to see would be GPIO pins for hardware hacking and flash which could be replaced.

      1. In my idea it would be two body panels screwed together having rubber/silicon seal between them. I would not mind wireless connections for charging etc. Fitting the screen would be the most tricky part, no?

  3. 8 years? When will people not understand that this isn’t a good thing? Longer support means more, unpatchable hardware security flaws. Rapid hardware replacement is a GOOD thing. What we should be focusing on is recycling efficiency. That way we can recycle 100% of the parts in old phones, making them cheaper, more sustainable, and better for the environment.

    1. 100% recycling is impossible. Fixing stuff should be, it’s not like hardware is directly accessible or the current BSP trees are guaranteed secure on release.

      Innovation should drive replacement and currently phones are stabilizing. No reason to replace phones every 4 years, my desktop is 10+ years old.

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