Smartphone makers dropping software support for their phones after a mere handful of years is a universally panned practice at this point, and rightfully so. What good is a high-tech handset if you’re not gonna be able to use it within 3 years after all? The German Federal Government thinks so too, and plans to enforce stricter rules on phone makers requiring them to support devices for 7 years.
7 years software support for your black mirror
Now, not all phone-makers are guilty of phasing out phones before you’ve figured out everything they can do. As XDA-Developers points out, Apple’s next iOS update will be available to devices as far back as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which means it’s been supporting that model for 7 years now. But Android doesn’t offer OS updates for anything much older than 3 years old, though it does at least offer security updates for an extra year on top of that.
The EU has proposed a law that would require manufacturers to support their devices for at least 5 years, though that’s yet to become a rule at the minute. A spokesperson for the German Federal Ministry of Economics told Heise Online that the federal government is poised to enact a law that would require smartphone manufacturers to provide at least 7 years of both software updates and spare part deliveries to their consumers. The German Federal Government also wants manufacturers to make public their spare part prices, presumably to ensure that customers aren’t getting taken advantage of when they need repairs.
Furthermore, the federal government also wants manufacturers to deliver spare parts to customers as quickly as possible, concerned that particularly long repair times for beaten-up devices might be used to a manufacturers advantage, to persuade customers into going for an exchange rather than waiting for a fix.
It’s a bold move, and one that consumers are sure to be happy about. When this goes into law and whether it will affect the smartphone industry across the rest of the world remains to be seen, but we’ve got our fingers crossed.