Framework and Fairphone Signalling a Possible Change in Direction for Modern Device Needs

Buying a new mobile or computer was once an experience that offered an instant profound difference. Old devices that were slow and clunky were replaced by snappy new systems, even in year-to-year upgrades. In the current era, however, changes from jumps even a few generations forward can feel minuscule, leaving us wondering if they were worth our money at all.

New popular systems like the Framework laptop and Fairphone mobile are addressing these concerns and setting trends for new generations. So why are they necessary, what do they offer, and what about these models is so popular in the eyes of tech industry spectators?

A Matter of Diminishing Returns

The core issue of why generational updates are no longer so significant is that after decades of playing catchup to needs, we’re finally ahead of the curve. It was once the case that the bare minimum took expensive technology to achieve, whereas now fantastic results are possible with hardware years old.

Consider what happens in the modern day when you play bingo online, an activity that involves browsing, downloading data, and processing visual content. Games here like Big Santa Fortune or Buzz Bingo Blast would have struggled to run on expensive systems 25 years ago, but today, the exact opposite is true. Many laptops and mobile phones from 2010 could still play these titles without issue thanks to modern massive amounts of overhead, and this applies to many uses like streaming, working, and many forms of video gaming.


Smartphone Evolution” (CC BY 2.0) by Phil Roeder

Where going from the iPhone 1 to the iPhone 2 offered a significant change, going from an iPhone 14 to an iPhone 15 won’t offer a different experience to most users. This is reflected in longer replacement cycles in the last ten years. The same concept applies to laptops, with the move to SSDs as standard setting a new standard that hasn’t needed to be changed.

A New Approach

Newer systems like the Framework laptop and Fairphone mobile change direction by leaning into upgradeability and modifiability over outright replacement. These are built on modular designs where repairing and upgrading are key in an industry that increasingly travels in the opposite direction. Where companies like Apple have historically fought consumer-friendly practices like right-to-repair and simple upgrade paths, Fairphone and Framework take the opposite approach.

The result of these new generations of systems is cheaper devices that still deliver everything a user wants, with effective ways to fix or upgrade platforms in the future. Even if a system starts to struggle in one area, swapping out older parts for newer and more powerful ones is painless, and far less costly than with traditional methods.

Of course, there are still many users out there intimidated by technology and willing to pay the cost difference instead of investing the time to learn the possibilities of new tech. A changing environment makes this approach less popular by the year, however, modular designs and more consumer-friendly practices rapidly finding consumer favor. If you’re the type prone to accidents, or if you’re sick of paying out the nose for upgrades you don’t notice, consider the possibilities of these newer systems, and the future they represent.