The European Commission (EC) has drafted new legislation that would require Android smart phone manufacturers to offer long-term support for their devices.

Driven by a desire to reduce e-waste and protect consumers from predatory behavior, the proposal aims to establish a minimum support term that will apply to all Android devices sold in the EU.

Under the new rules, vendors would have to provide customers with three years of major feature updates and five years of security patches, nearly doubling the lifespan of some cheaper smartphone.

Android software support

As it stands, while some vendors offer generous support duration (the Google Pixel 6 already meets the new requirements, for example), many promise to provide updates for only a few years, or fail to do so. to specify.

This state of affairs creates a dilemma for device owners, who can either opt for an expensive upgrade, despite their hardware remaining fully functional, or miss out on new features and important security protections.

The new EU rules, in addition to limiting the environmental damage caused by the current upgrade cycle, will allow consumers to use their mobile devices for at least half a decade before having to make another purchase.

Separately, the proposal includes measures to guard against planned obsolescence, a practice by which a device is deliberately built to degrade over time, thereby pushing the owner to upgrade it.

For example, the bill asks manufacturers to meet new battery life standards or, failing that, bring back old-school mechanisms to swap out replacement cells. Similarly, vendors should provide parts and repair services for at least five years after a device is released.

Before the legislation can be signed into law, it will be subject to a consultation period that runs until the end of the month. The proposal will be implemented no earlier than Q4 2022, with enforcement expected to begin one year from the date of its introduction.

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