New legislation in its infancy at the European Commission could see Android makers extend software support and provide easier repairs for smartphones. The new initiative would bring positive improvements to the industry, allowing users to own their phones longer with improved software and the ability to repair their phone when it ages or needs a repair.
In a draft regulation and report on the state of the smartphone industry (via Ars Technica), the European Commission suggests that smartphone manufacturers provide five years of security updates as well as three years of upgrades of the operating system. We’ve seen this from manufacturers such as Samsung, but it’s not a guarantee on all Android handsets. If this draft regulation becomes law, Android manufacturers must provide it to those in Europe.
The report also suggests that smartphone makers need to make their updates more easily available to users. He suggests that the update should land on the phone within the first two months of the public release. The details here aren’t clear, but it looks like the European Commission wants all Android makers to deliver updates like Android 13 within two months of Google’s release. If it’s required, that would be a big change in the Android experience, as you’re often left months and months waiting for the latest software, unless you have a recent Pixel phone.
There are no smartphone models specified here, so Android makers would likely be forced to provide these updates for all of their products rather than just focusing on high-end devices. Now, many manufacturers are prioritizing flagship phones for new upgrades, which means cheaper devices wait longer for older software.
That’s not all from the European Commission, as the body also said smartphone makers selling devices in the EU should provide easy access to spare parts for at least five years after the launch. stop selling the phone. It offers 15 different types of spare parts, including batteries, cameras, displays, charging ports, microphones, speakers, and even hinge technology for foldable phones.
Smartphone manufacturers currently have no obligation to make their phones easy to repair. The report also suggests that the battery capacity of the devices should not change due to software updates. The draft regulations state that “The energy consumption of the product and any other declared parameter shall not deteriorate after an operating system software update or firmware update when measured with the same test standard originally used for the declaration of conformity, except with the explicit consent of the end user before the update.”
The European Commission says extending the lifespan of smartphones to five years, from the current two to three years, would be equivalent to taking five million cars off the road in the region. Europe has been pushing forward smartphone regulations over the past few years, including passing a law requiring all phones and various other gadgets to use USB-C charging by 2024. The big story is that this means a change for Apple devices away from Lightning. ports for charging, but it also likely means the end of technologies like microUSB that still appear on some devices.
This new draft regulation could bring huge changes to the smartphone industry. It’s unclear what will change in the coming months and years that the European Commission is sure to devote to this new push, but expect significant changes in the European market in the coming years. The next step in the draft regulations process includes stakeholder feedback on the proposals, and then we’ll likely see the proposals come to fruition by the end of 2022. If passed, you should expect this to become a European law by the end of 2023. However, this is still subject to change and the process may take longer than average.
It’s also unclear what impact it will have on those in the United States. However, suppose manufacturers are forced to provide easier access to repairs and other software updates for certain markets. In this case, we imagine that these benefits will be passed on to those in other markets.