Long-term smartphone support requires brands to get onboard with regular software updates and the right-to-repair movement.

This is a nice article but it’s a shame the author neglected to mention postmarketOS which is aiming for a 10 year life-cycle for smartphones by using a non-android Linux stack.

dreamLogic
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This is really cool. Thanks for informing me of this.

Phones would last much longer if the software was open source.

Yes but it’s not just that. Is it easy to replace the battery? The screen? To replace broken connectors? Is the device itself robust to begin with?

Robust? But what about design™?

I harte the design over funcionality.

comfy
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I disagree. I already use a custom open-source Android OS that has extended the life of my phone. Open source isn’t enough to make the ‘typical consumer’ interested in using it instead of upgrading, most people default to the simple option.

Android is open source in name only. It depends on tons of closed source firmware from hardware manufacturers. It’s a lot of work to integrate them all, you can’t just download Android from the repo and expect it to work on your phone. The reason updates stop after a few years because manufacturers stop maintaining all these closed source bits.

comfy
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I agree. My point still stands. How will a 100% FOSS firmware and software make any difference to a normal user? Wouldthey really still be maintained of they were open firmware?

poVoq
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As much as I don’t like Apples’s overall products, their relatively long software update durations shows that even normal people adapt to this. Yes some people still tend to replace their devices regularly, but there is a larger secondary market and more family internal hand-downs of still functional Apple devices compared to cheaper Androids.

This is false, you cannot install apps that require API for one of the last 5 iOS versions. On the other hand, I can install a 2.3 Gingerbread Android app onto Android 13 Dev phone.

Apple fanboys always deflect this point to the iPhone 5 64-bit OS jump, but that is a lie as can be seen from the last 4 generations of iPhones since iPhone 5 was EOL.

poVoq
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You are missing the point completely… this is not about app compatibility, but OS security (and feature) updates.

App compatibility is absolutely the major factor in long term usability of a phone. Apple discontinues that every 5 OS version APIs, whereas Android has incomparable backwards compatibility for API support.

Apple’s OS privacy and security has been a joke compared to that of Android. And Apple basically copies Android features 3-4 years later and sells it as innovation and invention.

iPhone does not allow you to have privacy due to its blackbox nature, and is simply a false marketing assurance by Apple to you. Recently, an unpatchable hardware flaw was discovered in Apple’s T1 and T2 “security” chips, rendering Apple devices critically vulnerable.

Also, they recently dropped plan for encrypting iCloud backups after FBI complained. They also collect and sell data quite a lot. Siri still records conversations 9 months after Apple promised not to do it. Apple Mail app is vulnerable, yet Apple stays in denial.

Also, Apple sells certificates to third-party developers that allow them to track users, The San Ferdandino shooter publicity stunt was completely fraudulent, and Louis Rossmann dismantled Apple’s PR stunt “repair program”.

Apple gave the FBI access to the iCloud account of a protester accused of setting police cars on fire.

Apple’s authorised repair leaked a customer’s sex tape during iPhone repair. This is how much they respect your privacy. You want to know how much more they respect your privacy? Apple’s Big Sur(veillance) fiasco seemed not enough, it seems. Still not enough to make your eyes pop wide open?

Apple’s CSAM mandatory scanning of your local storage is a fiasco that will echo forever. This blog article should be of help. But they lied how their system was never hacked. I doubt. They even removed CSAM protection references off of their website for some reason.

Pretty sure atleast the most coveted privacy innovation of App Tracking protection with one button tracking denial would work, right? Pure. Privacy. Theater.

Surely this benevolent company blocked and destroyed Facebook and Google’s ad network ecosystem by blocking all those bad trackers and ads. Sigh. Nope. Now it is just Apple having monopoly over your monetised data.

Also, Android’s open source nature is starting to pay off in the long run. Apple 0-day exploits are far cheaper to do than Android.

poVoq
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Again you are completely missing the point. I don’t like Apple either, so no point in repeating all the crap they do, but running old apps on newer OS is mostly irrelevant to normal users as the apps they use get updated through the appstore anyways. Rather the opposite is the problem… i.e. apps get updated and stop working on older Android versions.

You cannot literally use apps on an iPhone after the OS version updates stop, whereas you can on Android. This means that even if Android no longer gets OS updates, it can run any app even after 10 years. This is impossible on iPhones or iPads.

Apple purposely kills the support by forcing developers to migrate to lowest new API version that they give OS update for in their devices. This is not a problem on Androids.

I think you are missing the point here and getting confused. Today I cannot see a iPhone 6S or 7 being used actively, even with battery replacements, because it cannot literally install or run the apps they use because Apple forced them to upgrade to lowest new API version.

poVoq
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No, we are talking about two totally different things. Realistically speaking iPhones are used longer than Androids, as even the older models offer an experience similar to the new models due to continued OS upgrades that Apple provides.

Even if in theory you can still use an Android 2.2 device, while you can not as well do so with an simlarly aged unsupported iPhone, no one really does that as the usability, security and new app compatibility is so bad with the old Android. On the other hand, a still supported older iPhone is perfectly usable with new apps.

Older iPhone models are almost unusable due to performance downgrades that every OS update brings as part of planned obsolescence. This is documented well enough to the point Apple has been fined by various watchdog authorities.

I have seen more Androids being used years later compared to iPhones, very well matching the marketshare, and beyond, and this is true for most people. The more commodified something becomes, the more popular and longer used it is. iPhones will never win on this metric, simply because Android budget phones (not the Pocos with SD 8xx, but $120 Redmis with SD 4xx and 6xx) have the processing power of a 2018 flagship today. Also, Androids can be repaired by third party compared to iPhones which is almost impossible now, due to screen and digitizer being ID’d to rest of phone hardware by Apple exclusively.

Android 2.2 is not used today, and I said 2.3 Gingerbread. You specifically say 2.2 to reduce and nullify my point, but the fact is 2.3, 4.0 and 4.4 targeted apps very well exist and are usable today on any Android 10/11/12 phone today. This is impossible on Apple devices purely due to artificial restrictions.

Even if in theory you can still use an iOS 5 device, while you can not as well do so with an simlarly aged unsupported Android, no one really does that as the usability, security and new app compatibility is so bad with the old iPhone. On the other hand, a still supported older Android is perfectly usable with new apps.

poVoq
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Again the problem is not old apps not running on modern Phones, but modern apps not running on older Androids.

And I can definitely say that where I live there are much more handed-down iOS phones still in good working-order than Androids (that usually are e-waste after 2-3 years due to lack of OS updates).

Modern apps not running on older Androids? How often has this case existed, that apps are made by developers with exclusively the latest 1-2 OS version APIs? I have about 300+ apps I use, and NOT ONE of them is developed like this. NOT A SINGLE ONE.

I have seen this case existing precisely 3 times in Android history:

  • during the 2.3-4.0 jump (massive hardware and OS featureset jump)
  • during the 4.x-5.0 (64-bit CPU jump)
  • post-7.0 Nougat (8.0 Oreo+, Doze refined, VPN killswitch advancements jump)

On the other hand, with Apple I see it every single year in the last 7-8 years. Outside of the 64-bit jump, each time it has been intended for planned obsolescence purposes.

Moreover, even in the above 3 jumps for Android I stated, developers were never forced to make their apps forcefully targeting the latest 5 OS version APIs. Almost each app back then was targeted to 2.3 minimum, and 4.0 today. You want to use WhatsApp on iPhone 7? Good luck. You want to use WhatsApp on a stock out-of-date Galaxy S3? You are good to go.

The point of this post, and the comments within, especially the one user still using Moto G1, is that his only complaint is the lack of RAM and slower performance, not app compatibility. Android users in this very post nullify your complaint. The point of this post is that “e-waste after 2-3 years due to lack of OS updates” is a lie.

I can use a very old laptop because most Linux distros support old hardware. I assume it would be similar. If the closed source firmware issues are solved, then installing Android into old devices become as easy as installing Linux to a laptop.

comfy
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I understand that someone can do that. I do something similar.

I’m saying that I think most people won’t. Not because they are unable, but because it’s not something they will even think of doing, or its not the easy option (buying a new phone is more expensive but requires no installation), or its a technical process they aren’t comfortable with.

Maybe this point is more relevant in countries with a strong consumerist culture like the US?

They don’y have to. Once the capability exists, someone can do it for them. (like the vendor that sells the phone to them)

comfy
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That’s a good point, I hadn’t thought of that.

@Ferk@lemmy.ml
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I think the point was that open source software makes it last much longer. If using open source Android OS has extended the life of your phone then you are proving his point.

Of course it’s not the only thing that can extend the life of the phone, and of course additional measures should be taken to extend it further, but that doesn’t contradict anything the comment said.

Also, if having an open source OS isn’t a “simple option” for “typical consumer”, then we aren’t even there yet. Imho the phones should come with a fully open source OS that is easily upgradable independently of the manufacturer right out from the store.

comfy
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then you are proving his point.

Not quite. As I said in the other comment chain, my counter-point was that most people aren’t open to installing an operating system. It was nerve-wracking for me the first times, especially for mobile. If most people aren’t even thinking managing their OS, then being open source alone won’t fix it.

I do think there was an interesting rebuttal in that it would be different if switching OSs was easier or more normalized, or if there were phone vendors (or similar) providing that as a service.

Imho the phones should come with a fully open source OS that is easily upgradable independently of the manufacturer right out from the store.

I agree, although I understand that currently manufacturers have monetary motivation to choose not to do this. Exceptions like the Pinephone are super rare, and I wouldn’t expect that to change without force.

@Ferk@lemmy.ml
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my counter-point was that most people aren’t open to installing an operating system

I mean, the original point didn’t say users should be required to install it themselves. It just said that phones should have an open source OS to increase their life span, which is something your “counter-point” is just building up on, not contradicting nor opposing it.

In fact, not every Android phone has open source firmware available that properly supports the hardware, so there are many cases where even if you knew how to install it you wouldn’t be able to.

Exceptions like the Pinephone are super rare, and I wouldn’t expect that to change without force.

I agree. There needs to be either legislation or a consumer driven shift. The real problem is that most users don’t seem to care that much about that and prefer getting a new shiny one with the latest trending features instead of a Pinephone or Fairphone.

It’d be nice if all the code for the firmware, drivers, etc were put in some sort of escrow, and automatically licensed to the public once a vendor drops support for them

Of course, even better than that is being open-by-default from day one

Android is OpenSource, there are several forks without the Google crap. (LinageOS?) El problem are the Phones without Root access which give the ISPs with the contract, not the OS as such.

@OptimusPrime@lemmy.ml
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I wish I could have a phone just like the one I have but with easy to replace pieces and open source. But it’s going to be quite a long time until that’s possible. If my phone breaks I’ll just have to buy the same.

Tryp
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Well there was phoneblocs that inspired Google PRoject Ara that actually made a phone with swappable modules but they promptly killed it like all things Google does. I was beyond excited for these during the time, such disappointment.

https://www.onearmy.earth//project/phonebloks

That site mentions shiftphone and fairphone both of which use screws instead of glue and are easily repaired.

Plexer
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Most manufacturers are more focused on the consumer purchasing another handset rather than letting them hold on to the same device, unfortunately.
To them, it’s all about making that profit, rather than the quality.

cmon, it’s current year

Alfenstein
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It is indeed

comfy
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It’s not 2021 any more guys

My phone is almost 9year old and I spend 170€ on it. It’s a middle end phone from that generation, has 1gig of ram, 8gig of storage.

It ran on Android 4.4 or 5. After 2 or 3 years I stopped receiving updates.

So I installed lineage os. Then a few month later I removed gapps. Lineage + microG made that phone snappier than ever, and battery life went from 1-2 days to 2-3days.

But after a while even lineage os stopped pushing updates, I think that was 2-3 years ago.

Using a phone “that” old is fine. The ram is the biggest limitations. Nowadays app requires a ludicrous amount of memory and websites too.

I changed the screen 3 times and the battery once. The process wasn’t super easy nor really hard but it’s not noob friendly :(

I don’t think I will buy another phone unless this one break but sometime I wish osmAnd would load a bit faster…

I salute you for using that potato in 2022. You have the patience of an otherworldly organism. Is it Galaxy S2?

I wish! A moto G 1st gen.

That is 3 phones ago for me, when I picked Lenovo A850 over Moto G1.

I go for “more”. Any device manufactured today should be under legal warranty for 20+ years, and should be reparable for at least another 20 after that. That’s the only way to combat the current electronic waste problem (and it’s a HUUUUUUUGE problem).

I’m not sure how usable a device truly is after 40+ years. I have a toaster that is from the 50’s that still works well. Toast has more or less not changed. Not so much with a computer where it’s aging at 5 years, elderly at 10, and a barely usable potato at 20. Take an older laptop I was setting up for my husband’s grandfather a while ago. I think it was early 00’s. I installed a lightweight Linux distro, but it just wasn’t enough even for that lightweight work.

While you might be able to upgrade piece-by-piece, that’s going to be a tough sell. Manufacturers will have to somehow predict all needs 40 years in the future, down to the holes for the ports. 40 years ago, keyboards and mice were connected not by PS/2 (hadn’t been invented yet) but by DIN and D-sub connectors.

I think part of this needs to lie with software developers. The trend has been more and more towards taking performance shortcuts to cut down on development. I’d like to see more high performance languages get used to stretch the usefulness of hardware.

https://www.fairphone.com/</br> https://myteracube.com/</br> As you can see some people already do: if we all, as consumers, buy them, the market will inevitably move in that direction.

In the beginning, I didn’t read the “f” and I was like “I’m not clicking that link”…<br> But thanks for pointing that out, I didn’t know it.

comfy
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Alright, but unfortunately I don’t think many consumers will buy them. The market almost always favors price and features, and the market leaders have an active motivation not to make people buy less phones. I don’t think the solution lies in the market, unless a massive cultural shift suddenly occurs.

Nonetheless, I think what Fairphone is doing is great (I don’t know much about that other one) and I personally use a 5+ year phone supported by a custom ROM OS (no commercial spyware, thanks!). The tools are nice, I just don’t see them becoming popular here.

Most phones do last 5 years. I’ve owned my pixel 3a for maybe 2 years but it’s still going really strong. Before that I used a moto G4 for 2-3 years, and I bought it off a friend who had used it for at least that long before me. The phones are fine; it’s more about people’s attitudes. It should not be normalized in our society to buy phones (or really anything expensive) so frequently.

@federico3@lemmy.ml
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5 years is way too short.

Agreed. My phone is about to stop getting security updates and now I have to decide whether or not I should buy a new model even though my current phone works just fine.

comfy
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[redacted: I missed the word ‘security’]

I use an old cheap Alcatel 1C since 4 years and I’m not going to buy another one until this one stops working. I see no reason to replace a mobile that works perfectly for me

Good old days when we were kings with a Nokia 3310 (mine is still working in case I need it, safe, private, eternal battery, better coverage than today’s sneaks and no planned obsolescence)

Why isn’t Android doing updates the same way that Linux, MacOS and Windows are doing on PC?

Because you can make more money when you sell new hardware every other year. And there’s no standardisation.

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