Fairphone beats the complete Android ecosystem with six years of help

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Enlarge / The Fairphone 2 and its many modules.

Fairphone continues to push boundaries and lead the Android ecosystem when it comes to system updates. The company announced that it is shipping Android 10 for the Fairphone 2, a six-year-old device that originally shipped with Android 5.

Six years of major updates are unknown in the Android market. Most Android companies charge iPhone-grade prices, but don’t offer iPhone-grade support that includes extensive updates for six years. The best thing you can get from mainstream Android OEMs like Google and Samsung is three years of comprehensive operating system updates. Fairphone is a significantly smaller company than its competition, but it wipes the floor with them when it comes to updates.

For Fairphone, sending Android updates for such a long time means leaving the normal update support structure. The Fairphone 2 uses a Snapdragon 801 SoC, and Qualcomm only supported this chip up to Android 6. Without Qualcomm’s help, Fairphone had to enlist the help of the Lineage OS Android community to get the phone up to date. The difference between Fairphone and an aftermarket ROM is that Fairphone still passes all of Google’s CTS tests and officially licenses the Play Store, which is a huge undertaking.


As for timing, the company says the Android 10 beta program for Fairphone 2 is running here and should hit a final “early 2022” release. Fairphone is also starting beta testing for Android 11 for the Fairphone 3 and 3+ this week. The only negative thing to say is that Android 10’s release of 2019 is pretty slow in 2022, but it’s hard to criticize the company too much if every other Android OEM has left users by now.

Many companies pay lip service to the idea of ​​reducing e-waste but stop when it affects their bottom line. Apart from Apple, Fairphone is the only other smartphone company that puts its money on it and offers long-term smartphone support. While Apple is a multi-trillion dollar company with all the resources in the world, Fairphone proves that any OEM can offer long-term support if they want. You just don’t want to invest the time and money to make it happen.

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