The software update situation on Android has gotten better within the last year or two, with some manufacturers boasting a minimum of three years of support. While that’s better than before, many users and a few regulators think companies can do tons better, almost to Apple levels. There are some efforts within the European Union to enforce longer periods of support for smartphones truly. Still, it seems that Germany wants to travel all out there on thrust by trying to push seven years because of the legally required minimum for software updates and spare parts.
Aside from time and human resources, there are few technical reasons why software support for a phone should stop after two or three years. Smartphone hardware has gotten powerful enough to support foreseeable new features for years to return. But albeit software complexity surpasses hardware capabilities, fixes and security patches don’t incur an equivalent performance overhead as major platform upgrades.
The period of support is just an industry standard developed by an unspoken agreement among companies. Several countries, however, want to truly put this practice in black and white and legally compel smartphone vendors to abide by it. The ECU Union, for instance, wants smartphones to urge five years of software updates while also requiring that spare parts be available during that very same period.
Germany, however, wants to require things further and is negotiating with the EU for a good long period. It wants software updates to be available for seven years, and spare parts should also be priced reasonably during that period. Naturally, companies behind those smartphones don’t accept the ECU Commission’s proposals as true, including Germany’s more aggressive push.
Industry advocate group DigitalEurope, representing Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, wants to standardize only the established order. Meaning two years of feature updates and three years of security updates, already the minimum surpassed by both Samsung and Google lately. They also want that the spare parts requirement only cover displays and cameras, excluding parts that rarely fail, like cameras, mics, and speakers.