European Union (EU) lawmakers want to mandate that cellphone makers sold in the region offer at least three years of operating system updates, plus five years for security updates. The group that takes care of the matter details that these updates should reach the user in “no more than two months after the public release”. Despite being a movement within the economic bloc, composed of 27 countries, if approved, the measure should benefit several other markets, including Brazil.
Such legislation would change the way Android device brands handle older models. Samsung and Google, for example, are the only companies in the sector that promise five years of security packages for smartphones. Still, in the case of Samsung, cheaper models are not covered with the benefit.
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Few Android manufacturers maintain security or software updates for more than three years — Photo: Thássius Veloso/TechTudo
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What is the European Union’s justification?
The justification given by the regulators is practically the same provided by the block when it decided, in June, to standardize the input of chargers for the USB-C port. It is also similar to the arguments put forward by lawmakers in March to try to get cellphones back to having removable batteries in Europe. In other words, the argument is that the policy would help to mitigate environmental impacts, reducing the production of electronic waste.
According to the draft that provides for the “ecodesign requirements for cell phones, cordless phones and tablets”, this type of device is “often replaced” in an “premature” way by users. With more updates guaranteed, the expectation is that the longevity of mobile devices will increase, encouraging owners to buy another only when needed.
Battery life is also on the agenda
Regulators require brands not to reduce smartphone performance with new updates — Photo: Letícia Rosa/TechTudo
The bill also makes provisions for the battery capacity of devices. According to the proposal, the smartphone or tablet component “must not deteriorate after an operating system software update or a firmware update when measured from the same test standard originally used for the declaration of conformity”.
Regulators also require manufacturers not to impose performance restrictions as a result of new updates, except for third-party software. In 2021, a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Apple questioned iPhones with reduced speed. At the time, the company was accused of reducing the performance of several smartphones with system updates.
The measure in Europe can encourage similar regulations in the country, as happened with the standardization of the charger port — Photo: TechTudo
So far, there is no legislation in Brazil that clearly establishes the mandatory minimum support time for operating system updates on smartphones. However, the movement in the European bloc may encourage the emergence of similar national regulations.
It is worth remembering that, shortly after the EU determined the standardization of charger ports on smartphones, the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) waved to a similar decision in the country. In June, the agency started a public consultation whose proposal has everything to be accepted, according to the TechTudo with industry sources. The decision should come out this month.
with information from ARS Technica and Android Authority
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