Fairphone might be less well known than Samsung, OnePlus and other major manufacturers, but the phone maker is pushing ahead in terms of software support. Fairphone has just announced that the Fairphone 2 will be getting a software update – five years after its release.
Fairphone 2 users can now upgrade to Android 9, making it one of the only Android phones released in 2015 to continue to receive support.
The Fairphone 2 was initially released on Android 5 and has continued to receive updates over the last five years. This puts it ahead of major rivals including Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and Sony, which 2015 models received support for two to four years, respectively. While you can continue to use these handsets, unsupported devices are more vulnerable to security flaws than supported phones.
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Fairphone’s trademark is its ethically-produced, sustainable handsets, so it makes sense that the company would encourage users to delay upgrades as long as possible. The original Fairphone was the world’s first commercially available modular smartphone and the company continues to market affordable replacement parts for the Fairphone 2 to promote longevity.
Many major phone manufacturers limit software support for their phones to encourage consumers to upgrade. However short life cycles turn valuable resources into e-waste, while smartphone production contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
“The focus on releasing new products every year, which have a short lifespan, is common in the technology sector”, said Fairphone Design Lead Miquel Ballester.
“There is a flip side to the way the electronics industry innovates. The focus on the yearly ‘disruption’ of technology does not just bring innovative ideas to the market, almost at the same speed ‘old’ technology is going obsolete. This has left a trail of e-waste and is bad for the planet and people”.
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While Fairphone is known for creating phones that support suppliers and are sustainable, long-lasting smartphones are good for consumers’ pockets too, considering upgrading your smartphone year after year certainly isn’t cheap.
Fairphone will roll out the beta version of Android 9 for the Fairphone 2 from today. Fairphone has confirmed that its latest flagship, the Fairphone 3, will also receive long-term software support.