Ethically minded smartphone maker Fairphone is now pushing out Android 10 to 2015’s Fairphone 2 and, in turn, offering the longest support period for any Android smartphone to date.
The Dutch manufacturer prides itself on repairability and sustainability, and it’s hard to deny that given the extended hardware and software support on offer. While a modest smartphone even by 2015 standards, the Fairphone 2 is practically ancient, Android 10 gives the device a new lease on life for longtime owners.
After originally launching with Android 5.1 Lollipop, the Fairphone 2 has been updated a whopping five times since originally going on sale. That last such update came in mid-2021 with Android Pie. When you also consider that Qualcomm is no longer providing support for the Snapdragon 801 processor, this is even more impressive. Fairphone has, therefore, had to contend with developing and testing all tweaks without dedicated support from the chipset maker.
Sadly, the Fairphone 2 will be forever stuck on Android 10 as the firm confirmed that future updates are not possible due to various issues and incompatibility worries. 690,000 tests were needed to get GMS approval for the Fairphone 2 with Android 10. Therefore, moving to a newer Android build would become even more problematic according to the development team at Fairphone.
The company has also promised to keep pushing security updates for Android 10 builds as long as Google continues to maintain the OS. So while you won’t see Android 11 or Android 12, at least you will get regular security patches on the Fairphone for the foreseeable future.
Offering such a long support window is not only commendable, but it should also really start to become the norm for smartphone makers. While the Fairphone 2 comes from an ethically minded brand, more should be done by OEMs to help owners maintain and utilize their devices for longer periods. Apple still reigns supreme with software support for older handsets, and we certainly need more of this from the big players on the Android space. Samsung may now provide four years of OS upgrades, but if Fairphone can do it, those with deeper pockets certainly should look to emulate this small firm with increased software and hardware support windows.
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