Software updates have been kind of an issue with Android smartphones while it has never been on iOS. Apple is gearing up to roll out iOS 15 for its devices back till the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus. This will enable Apple to become the only smartphone maker providing seven years of software updates for its devices.
On Android, however, the maximum number of years for which OEMs push major OS upgrades has been set at 3 while there are 4 years of security patches. The EU wants this sorted out, so it proposed a new law earlier this year that would force all smartphone OEMs to offer up to five years of security updates. It will also force the OEMs to deliver reasonably priced spare parts for the same duration.
Even before these laws go into effect, the German Federal Government has announced that it wants the support timeline to be extended to 7 years instead of 5. The information comes from a spokesperson of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics (via Heise Online). He says that the authority wants the OEMs to provide software updates and spare parts for devices for 7 years.
Additionally, it wants to enforce stricter rules and regulations. Furthermore, it will require smartphone makers to publish the spare part prices and not increase them over time. It will also require OEMs to deliver spare parts as soon as possible so the consumer doesn’t go for an exchange, and their device is repaired quickly. As a part of right to repair laws, EU plans a maximum delivery time of five working days for these parts. The German Federal Government is yet to finalize this timeline.
It needs to be implemented universally
We think that not only Germany, but these rules should also be applied in other regions. Until the rules are enforced, OEMs will continue to provide updates per their choice and as it suits them. In-house manufacturing of internal components enables Apple to follow such a long timeline for its software updates. And this is another one of the major issues why Android OEMs cannot provide longer updates. This is because companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek end support for their processors after 2-3 years.
Google’s solution could be effective as it is now coming with its own ‘Tensor’ chip. This will allow the company to decide how long it provides updates to the upcoming Pixel 6 series. Samsung and Google are already providing three years of OS upgrades for some of its devices.