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14.09.2021

Patch me, please

Patch me, please

Today, regulatory authorities around the world are discussing a mandatory device support period. Daniil Chernov, Solar appScreener Chief Technical Officer, comments on the topic. 

This update support period currently varies by device and declared service life. Budget smartphones typically offer low-end hardware, minimum required memory, and cheap built-in components that are not designed for a long service life (max 2–3 years as per vendor documentation). The unique value proposition of a smartphone is that it is available for a reasonable price and designed to help meet the technological needs of consumers for the immediate future. Therefore, there is little sense in forcing manufacturers to provide updates for a period as along as the next seven years. 

On the other hand, the situation is completely different with mid- and high-end gadgets featuring advanced hardware, which is expected to remain up-to-date and functional for many years. In this case, asking manufacturers for long-term support and software updates, including security patches, is considered to be reasonable. 

The market currently offers two types of support. For example, after buying an Android smartphone, users can upgrade their device during the first few years. However, after this period, any new OS will be unavailable, with users only being able to download updates for the last installed version. Therefore, it is debatable whether providing seven years of software improvements is a good idea if only one version will be updated. Flagship and mid-end devices are powerful enough for users to easily install all major Android versions released during this period. Although, unable to do so, consumers are encouraged to buy new gadgets, and thus manufacturers are in no rush to embrace a new update paradigm for Android devices. 

Apple, however, has been supporting all new major iOS software updates for a long time without making devices slower. In addition, users have access to all of the latest and most advanced iOS features.


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