It seems that the European Union, or the EU, are going all in, enabling normal tech users to keep their devices for longer and not throw them away in just a year or two. Recent reports suggest that legislators in the EU are planning to get Android smartphone makers, Samsung, and some Chinese brands to commit to 5 years of regular, but more importantly, timely updates.
The Android ecosystem, for a long, has been notoriously difficult to live with, mainly because of how most manufacturers deal with Android updates. Some manufacturers offer two or, at best, three years of updates. In contrast, some major ones make no official commitment to updates and sell devices with outdated Android versions, with no option to update them.
A draft regulation currently on the table in the EU looks to establish “ecodesign requirements for mobile phones, cordless phones, and slate tablets.” The inspiration for the regulation comes from the speed at which buyers leave smartphones and similar devices behind, which can often lead to e-waste.
The draft proposes to establish a minimum term for software updates. This would be three years of significant updates and five years of security patches for an Android phone.
Samsung offers four years of significant updates and five years of security patches, mostly on their higher-end devices. Everything else from Samsungs often gets shorter support lifetimes and less frequent updates. OnePlus, on the other hand, pretty much pushes out only one major update per device.
EU has been taking on the tech industry to curb e-waste and get smartphone brands and manufacturers to ensure that their devices have a longer and much more sustainable life.
Just last week, a report surfaced that revealed that legislators in the EU are going to pass a law under which smartphone manufacturers would be required to make at least 15 critical spare parts available for five years from the launch of a phone so that the devices are not junked within a few years after being purchased, just because some part of it malfunctioned. Lawmakers in the EU have had enough of Big Tech’s shenanigans and greenwashing.
Even more interesting about the repair proposal that the EU will discuss is how it will deal with batteries. The draft offers manufacturers a choice to either meet strict standards for battery longevity or bring back easily replaceable batteries, as many older Android phones offer.