The German authorities have asked the European Union to oblige smartphone manufacturers to update their software as long as possible. This was reported in Engadget with reference to the German media.
According to the source, Germany is guided by considerations of environmental protection. According to politicians, the longer a smartphone is updated, the longer it remains in a “usable” state. This means that much fewer devices will end up in the trash, since instead of buying a new device, people will continue to use old ones.
The German federal government asks the European Union to establish a new requirement for manufacturers of smart technology: it is mandatory to release software updates for their devices within seven years. In addition, under the same regulation, vendors may be required to produce spare parts for devices within the same period. Note that earlier in the negotiation process, the European Commission proposed a period of five years, but Germany wants to increase it.
Appliance manufacturers have apparently opposed this project. Human rights group DigitalEurope (which includes Apple, Google and Samsung, among others) wants to legislate only three years of security updates (not to be confused with full-fledged updates to the entire OS). In addition, vendors will try to limit the list of parts to displays and batteries only. They insist on removing components such as cameras, speakers, microphones, connectors and other relatively reliable parts from the list of mandatory production.
Only Apple is confidently holding on to the “battlefield” of software updates – it has been consistently providing its devices with full-fledged updates for five years. Things are much worse in the Android camp – even the largest vendors like Samsung and Xiaomi are limited to three (or less) years. Moreover, full-fledged updates come only within a year or two, and then manufacturers send only security updates.
According to statistics, about 40% of Android devices in the world are running version 9.0 or older. According to the European Commission, this reality implies the rapid obsolescence of gadgets, as well as their low security – after all, vulnerabilities fixed in newer software remain in old devices until their death.
If the German proposal is accepted by the European Union, then all smartphone manufacturers who sell their devices in Europe will be required to update the software within seven years. By the way, this will also apply to Apple, which will have to expand even its rather loyal update policy.