Robert Triggs / Android Authority
- European Commission regulators have proposed minimum update requirements for smartphones.
- Lawmakers have also suggested that smartphones and tablets sold in EU territory should have at least five years of repair parts available.
EU lawmakers have proposed broad requirements For smartphones sold in the region (h/t artestechnica) Regulators have suggested that phone vendors provide at least five years of security updates and three years of OS updates to their devices. In addition, the said security and operating system updates must reach users “at the latest two months following the public release”.
If implemented, these rules could fundamentally change the way Android OEMs handle software support for their devices. Samsung and Google are the only brands that promise to provide security updates to their phones for five years. Still, not all of their devices enjoy these benefits. Samsung also releases four major Android updates for its premium devices, the longest in the Androidsphere. In comparison, Google and other brands provide three or fewer major OS updates for select devices.
Such a regulation could force companies to roll out longer updates not only for their flagship phones but also for less premium, budget devices that usually don’t get a long-term update commitment from manufacturers.
The draft rules also direct that the battery capacity of a device “shall not deteriorate following an operating system software update or firmware update when measured with the same test standard originally used for the Declaration of Conformity.” They also say, “Except for third-party application software, refusing the update will not result in any performance change.”
extend the life of the phone
Elsewhere, draft rules suggest that smartphones and tablets sold in EU territory must have spare parts, including batteries, displays, cameras, charging ports and others, that must be available for at least five years.
The draft notes, “Devices are often replaced prematurely by users and, at the end of their useful lives, are not adequately reused or recycled, leading to a waste of resources.” According to the findings of the European Commission, increasing their life from two to three years to five years would be like taking millions of cars off the road.
Europe has been moving to smartphone regulations in recent days. The sector recently passed a law that requires all smartphones to feature USB-C charging by 2024. The latest proposed rules are even more aggressive in nature and if adopted could fundamentally change the Android phone landscape.
The European Commission is currently gathering feedback on the draft rules. Some of the proposals may come into force by the end of the year, and most of them will be adopted 12 months after they are approved.