Fairphone suggests Qualcomm is the largest barrier to long-term Android help

Promotional image of smartphone and its interior.

Enlarge / The Fairphone 2 and its many modules. (credit score: Fairphone)

Fairphone—the sustainable, modular smartphone firm—remains to be delivery updates to the 5-year-old Fairphone 2. The corporate will not win any awards for pace, however the cellphone—which launched in 2015 with Android 5—is now being up to date to Android 9.0. Probably the most attention-grabbing a part of this information is a video from Fairphone detailing the replace course of the corporate went by means of, which presents extra transparency than we usually get from a smartphone producer. To listen to Fairphone inform the story of Android updates, the largest barrier to longer-term help is—shock!—Qualcomm.

Fairphone needs shoppers to maintain their telephones for longer, creating much less e-waste and carbon emissions through modular alternative components which might be simply upgradeable and repairable. A giant problem for designing a long-lasting cellphone like that is software program help. Even when Fairphone wished to help a cellphone perpetually, Android software program updates don’t work that method, and main OS updates usually depend on a relay race of corporations that each one have to hand-off a construct of Android earlier than it reaches your cellphone.

We have gone over this earlier than, however let’s do a fast recap of how Android makes it to your smartphone. First, Google releases builds of AOSP (the Android Open Supply Challenge) to everybody. This does not run on a cellphone but, although. First, your SoC (System on a Chip) producer (normally Qualcomm) has to pay money for it and customise Android for a specific SoC, including drivers and different {hardware} help. Then, that construct goes to your cellphone producer (Fairphone, on this case) which provides help for the remainder of the {hardware}—issues like cameras, the show, and some other equipment—together with built-in apps and any customized Android pores and skin work that the corporate needs to do.

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