The Fairphone 2 from 2015 is now receiving its fifth year of OS updates
Fairphone promised five years of software support for the device, and the company has now delivered. You would be hard-pressed to find an Android phone released in 2015 that is still receiving regular software updates.
It's not often that one hears of an Android phone manufacturer that goes out of their way to keep their phones viable and usable more than three years after launching them. Even large companies like Samsung and Oneplus offer three operating system updates on their more premium devices, so the Fairphone receiving its fifth year of Android operating system updates is great news.
While Apple updates their devices for around five years, no other Android manufacturer has managed to provide operating system updates for their devices for five years, until the Fairphone 2. The update that is rolling out to owners of the device starting today, is based on the older Android Pie release --- but it is still rather impressive for a few reasons.
Firstly, it is important to keep in mind that the Fairphone 2 was released with Android 5 (or Lollipop, back when Google still named their operating system after desserts) and is now receiving Android Pie. To put that in perspective, the 3rd generation Moto G was launched with Android 5 and only received one major upgrade to Android 6 (Marshmallow). The company cites market research that found users in Europe only kept their devices for 2-3 years.
Next, when you compare the Fairphone 2 with another phone that launched with the 28nm Snapdragon 801 chipset, the Oneplus One - you really see how the manufacturers have managed to keep this phone relevant in 2021. The OnePlus One was released with Android 4.4 (KitKat) but only received two official updates to Android 6 before official updates ended. However, just like several “custom ROM” or unofficial Android-based operating systems for the OnePlus One, the Fairphone 2 has managed to sidestep many of the issues with updating a much older device to a recent version of Android.
This is, of course, all in line with Fairphone's goal of building a sustainable product, and the company has managed to deliver on its promise of five years of support. The reason is simple: the longer you keep your phone, the lower its environmental footprint, the company says. It wants to reduce the one billion smartphones sold around the world - it adds that after these phones are discarded only 15 percent of them are recycles and the remaining become e-waste.