A growing number of phone makers are promising to offer long-term support for their devices, with three to five years of OS and/or security updates. But a small Dutch company has been going above and beyond for a while.
The Fairphone 2 is a smartphone launched in 2015 and received its final (official) update just last month, which means it was supported for about seven years. The company’s next phone was the Fairphone 3, which is now receiving a major OS update four years after launch.
The Fairphone 3 began shipping in 2019 and the Fairphone 3+ launched the following year. Both phones originally ran Android 9 software, which was later updated to Android 11.
Now Fairphone is rolling out Android 13 beta for both phones. All users should receive the update by the end of June, 2023.
That means the update will bring all the new features from Android 12 and Android 13 to the phones, including enhanced security, privacy, performance, and power management features and user interface updates.
Fairphone says it will continue to offer updates for the Fairphone 3 series until at least August, 2024. But the company hopes to continue offering support for at least a few years after that, until 2026.
Unlike most phone makers, Fairphone is a “social enterprise” company, which means that its business decisions aren’t driven entirely by profit. When the organization first began making phones its emphasis was on using ethically-sourced materials from conflict-free regions and from providers that paid their workers a fair wage, among other things.
But the first smartphone from Fairphone wasn’t particularly well-supported or all that well received, so the company shifted some of its focus to emphasize long-term support and sustainability by making phones with modular, repairable designs, among other things.
Still, Fairphone doesn’t have the same level of resources as bigger phone makers like Apple or Samsung, which might explain why the company has made a habit of releasing every other version of Android rather than rolling out each new version on an annual basis.
That said, the company’s phones aren’t locked down in a way that prevents you from installing alternate operating systems. So if you want quicker updates or want to continue running the latest software even after Fairphone ends support for a model, you may be able to install an alternate operating system like the Android-based /e/OS or Ubuntu Touch.
The company’s latest phone is the Fairphone 4, which was released in 2021 and should be supported at least until the end of 2025. Unfortunately for folks in North America, like all Fairphone models released to date, the Fairphone 4 is only sold in Europe.
Feel free reading up on the difference between “it’s” and “its” because frankly you are using them wrong
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DivestOS is also available for Fairphones.
This is better support than Motorola gives for newer phones.