When you use a laptop or computer with Windows or Linux, you’re pretty much assured to get regular security updates. That’s partially why I prefer to do things like online banking on my computer rather than a phone, despite banks pushing for mobile apps.
Why? Because most mobile phones get limited support. I selected an Android One phone, namely Xiaomi Mi A2, because I would get updates for at least 18 months. When you think about it it’s quite pathetic, but that’s about the best Android has to offer. It’s quite better on Apple side with updates for 4 to 5 years for iPhones, while Google Pixel phones are said to get updates for about 3+ years. How you deliver updates also matter, as I recently heard Samsung users complain about frequent updates, while they had somehow no such complaint about their iPhone.
But if you’re not quite ready to make the jump to iPhones, and prefer the openness of Android phones, there’s still a solution: purchasing one of FairPhone’s “ethical phones”. FairPhone 2 was launched in 2015 and is not sold anymore, but the company behind the product still released Android 9.0 Beta for the phone.
That’s at a time when Google is preparing to release Android 11, but sadly, AFAIK that’s the best you can get for a phone released in 2015. While the phone itself is not for sale anymore, spare parts are still available to help extend your smartphone life beyond the typical 2-year life cycle of most Android smartphones.
If you’d like to get a phone with long term support both in terms of software support and replacement parts, FairPhone 3 might be your best bet with the €450 smartphone being equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a 5.65″ display. It still runs Android 9, but the company is working on an Android 10 update. You’ll find plenty of Snapdragon 632 phones with similar specs at much lower prices, but don’t expect any long term support, as after a year or so, the companies offering rock-bottom price phones will simply stop providing updates.