The sustainable smartphone manufacturer Fairphone has received Google certification for its Android 9 update for the Fairphone 2. Getting certification for a nearly three-year-old version of Android doesn’t sound so impressive until you find it running on a phone that originally released five years ago with Android 5. The rollout of the software begins today and will continue through April 18, Fairphone says.
It’s a length of support that is basically unknown among Android phone manufacturers. While Fairphone 2 owners won’t be able to take advantage of the latest Android 11 features, it’s more important that they are running a version of Android that is still officially supported. Google current Android Security Bulletin Starting this month, several fixes for security issues in Android 9 are included.
The Android 9 update of the Fairphone 2 has been in the works for some time and has been released in beta back in June 2020. At the time, Fairphone outlined the challenges in trying to support such an old phone, including the fact that Qualcomm no longer supports the processor in the device, a Snapdragon 801 originally announced in 2014.
“Getting Google Certification for Android 9 for Fairphone 2 once we have five years of smartphone support is a great achievement for Fairphone,” said Eva Gouwens, CEO of Fairphone. “To get certified, we had to pass approximately 477,000 Google tests.”
“We want to show the industry that something like this is possible, that a smartphone no longer has to be thrown away after 2-3 years, we can extend its lifespan,” added the CEO.
The only other smartphone maker that offers similar support for its devices is Apple, which last year released iOS 14, its newest phone operating system, for its iPhone 6S in 2015. The Android manufacturers behind Apple are improving. Samsung is now offering Four years of security updates for the latest Galaxy devicesGoogle has been offering updates to its Pixel phones for three years, and OnePlus says so plans to release Android 11 for OnePlus 6 and 6T in 2018.
Updating the Fairphone 2 to Android 9 so long after it was released bodes well for the company’s long-term support for its newer Fairphone 3 and 3 Plus phones. The company says the phones should be upgraded to Android 11 in the second half of this year, followed by “another major Android upgrade” after that. Software support and the availability of spare parts are to continue until 2024.