Security updates are crucial for modern-day smartphones. With this in mind, the German Government is reportedly lobbying within the European Union to mandate such security updates for at least 7 years.
Currently, most Android smartphones are eligible for 2 to 3 years of security updates after their launch. Apple is significantly ahead in this area, offering up to five or six years of software and security updates.
The report from German tech news site Heise Online (via GSMArena) mentions that German authorities are also looking to make phone spare parts available for at least seven years. This move is likely aimed at reducing electronic waste. Moreover, the government reportedly wants the spare parts to be available “at a reasonable price.”
Mobile manufacturers are unlikely to support the German Government’s new proposal
Another recent proposal sought a five-year timeline for similar reasons from mobile manufacturers. However, manufacturers weren’t too fond of these proposals. So it’s unlikely that manufacturers support this new move by the German Government.
It’s worth pointing out that the authorities are only seeking security updates and not full OS updates. Companies like Samsung have vowed to offer at least four years of security updates up from three. This is a significant upgrade over most phones which only receive two years of security updates from Google.
While these regulatory proposals are unlikely to make smartphone manufacturers happy, the customers could benefit greatly in the long run. This will also ensure people hold on to their phones for slightly longer than they usually would.
A Samsung spokeswoman told Heise that the company has taken the necessary steps to improve the average life of its phones. She added that the average life of a phone was 29 months in 2020, up from 21 months in 2015.
Speaking of Samsung, the company could undertake a major exercise this year as it plans to update more than 70 devices to Android 12 with One UI 4.0.
While top-end phones like the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S20, etc, are on the list, a large number of mid-range phones are also included. These include phones from the Galaxy M, Galaxy F, and the Galaxy A series.