The buttons are electronically soldered to the core module. Having many separtae buttons would likely lead to frequent failures, and whilst they may be replaceable I imagine people want a high degree of hassle free use.
Framework have been at this for maybe eight years and I’m sure if it was viable as in, attractive sales point and reliable they would have done so.
Don’t miss that the more modular
the larger the device
more friction connections and hence more room for disconnects. Unlike a laptop a phone is ‘pocketed’ and has much rougher use.
and of course cost. The more complexity the more cost. Fairphone’s main ‘extra’ cost is obtaining fairer materials ~ they were the people who got fair trade gold on the market. Increased wages in production.
So there are cheaper modular phones, but not with little buttons that can be replaced. A touch screen has been the major solution to phones with keys and tablets to replace keyboards.
Note the power button on the Framework is not a separate user replaceable part, nor are the keys. Sure these parts can be repaired but it wouldn’t be a selling point, though a few geeks would love it.
The more parts the more connections, the more malfunctions. A business has to make money so they require a product that will see well, either enmass with low profit or specialised with high profit.
The mobile phone market is a mass consumer market and it isn’t viable to make what you arer asking, obviously, or it would be done.
The problem with Fairphone is the support for people who can’t quite get their head around the fact that modular mobile phones are bigger and more prone to failures than the masses are not prepered to deal with.
It’s not a gimmick but it is a niche market.
Hardly anyone puts their money into fairtrade for example hence the mega companies. Apple can be an exception, making reliable products, but at a cost and closed source.
I own a fairphone 4 and it s doing the job. But keep in mind that s tiny in there…the problems are suite different. FW as a lot of room in comparison.
A big topic is update of android and closed cpu provider that stop updates zfter few years.
Maybe this will be solved in some years with open Risc V cpus…like in next pinephones from pine64
In 2013 there was the concept for Phonebloks
I didn’t know until now but Motorola had worked with Phonebloks to develop Project Ara which ended up being cancelled
Following, ZTE conceptualized the Eco-Morbius in 2014
Google had apparently took the Project Ara and started development on the Spiral 2 (Where was the Spiral 1?) in 2015 which ended up getting delayed and rebranded as the Developer Edition which ended up being cancelled in 2016.