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Phone makers may be forced to provide 7 years of updates in this one market

Three years of security updates is the standard right now, but Germany wants to go much further than that.

Published onSeptember 6, 2021

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE front with pipes
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • A new German government proposal calls on smartphone brands to offer seven years of security updates.
  • This is two years longer than the EU’s own stated proposals.

Samsung has led the way for Android smartphone updates in recent times, promising three years of OS updates as well as four years of security patches for its most notable devices. This is a major step in the right direction, but it looks like the German government wants manufacturers to go even further.

Germany is now pushing for smartphone manufacturers to deliver seven years of security patches and spare part availability, Heise Online reports. A government spokesperson also told the outlet that spare parts should be made available “at a reasonable price.” This proposed commitment to security updates is two years longer than the European Commission’s own stated proposals.

In any event, most smartphone brands only offer three years of security updates right now. So even the European Commission’s five-year proposal is a major leap over the status quo.

Related: You told us — You demand longer software upgrade periods for smartphones

Heise Online adds that industry association DigitalEurope, which represents the likes of Samsung, HUAWEI, and Apple, is pushing back against Germany’s proposal. More specifically, the association is proposing that three years of security patches and two years of OS updates remain the required standard.

It’s worth noting that security update commitments aren’t solely on smartphone brands, as chipset manufacturers and carriers can also act as bottlenecks for update pledges. So we hope these players are also on board with longer update pledges. It also stands to reason that more markets could get seven years of patches if manufacturers are indeed forced to deliver this commitment in Germany.

Do you think smartphone manufacturers need to offer more than three years of security updates? Let us know via the poll below.

How many years of security updates should manufacturers offer?

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