- The Fairphone 2, launched in 2015, will soon receive Android 10.
- The company originally launched the phone with Android 5 Lollipop.
- If this small company can support their phones for so long, why can’t other OEMs?
Known as Fairphone, the company has an idealistic ethos: it wants to make smartphones fair and ethical. It offers modular devices made from recycled and sustainable materials and ensures that the sourcing of these materials is ethical. For people who really care about how exploitative tech production can be, this company could be just what the doctor ordered.
See also: Hands-on with the Fairphone 3
A big aspect of sustainability is of course long-term support. It would be unethical for people to buy a phone and get rid of it a year later. That is why Fairphone has made a very long update promise to its devices, as evidenced by today’s announcement that Android 10 will be sent to the Fairphone 2.
If you own a Fairphone 2, you are now ready to beta test Android 10. The company expects to push the stable release in early 2022.
If Fairphone can do it, anyone can
The second generation of the Fairphone came on board in 2015 with Android 5 Lollipop. It has since been updated to Android 9 Pie. Once it gets Android 10, the FP2 will have seen four different versions of Android (it skipped Android 8 Oreo). This is in stark contrast to the bulk of other Android OEMs struggling to offer even two versions of Android – despite being bigger companies with bigger pockets.
Yes, Android 10 is two generations old at this point, so this doesn’t seem that impressive. But considering how tiny Fairphone’s resources are – and how it updates phones without the help of Qualcomm or other hardware companies – it’s actually mind-boggling. A big part of this success is the volunteers who donate their time to develop and test these new software updates.
Fortunately, some companies are raising the bar. Samsung now supports almost all of its phones with three Android upgrades and four years of security patches. Google now offers a slightly better program with three upgrades and five years of patches (but currently only for the Pixel 6 series). Things are getting better, yes, but there are still far too many companies that consider after-market software support to be of little importance.