Looking for an Android Phone with Long Term Support? Fairphone 2 Gets Android 9 Five Years After Launch

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.

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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.

Via Liliputing

Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.

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daftendireckt
daftendireckt
3 months ago

5 years after phone launch or Android 9 launch? ๐Ÿ˜„
Joke aside, that’s great and in line with their policy ๐Ÿ‘

nobitakun
nobitakun
3 months ago

What is a joke is the price. Linux is free and LTS are 5 years, what’s the deal with mobile platform? stop finding business where there is not.

nobitakun
nobitakun
3 months ago

I understand, but then why they don’t open things for the community? if they did they wouldn’t have to increase the price of the stuff, because the community works for the community and imho that’s the best, you keep prices down and only focus on making the hardware and open it. But this is like an excuse of making business from nowhere because being open would have to be the default ๐Ÿ™

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

And why is that so? Because the soc manufacturers don’t mainline their kernels. Imagine you would get from intel a fork of the 3.18 kernel for atom cpu and a more recent patched to the extreme version of a 4.17 kernel for core i processors of gen7 and a 5.1 with incompatible patches for the recent gen.

And AMD has a highly blobbed up kernel for zen ryzen, but the older generation has been reverse engineered by a community of dedicated ppl replacing the 3.4 vendor kernel by mainline.

LOL

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

CNX is your A2 also sucking on the battery like hell since the Android 10 update? Mine is sluggish as crap. I prefer no updates over such a crap… Seriously how can an Android one phone have such a bad SW support???

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

Strange…

Mine lasts a day but only 2/3 of the before screen on time at best.

Charging works as expected with a nexus 5x charger as well as a Samsung and the Xiaomi charger.

But definitely no more the same phone as before.

Thinking if I should try a custom ROM, i guess pixel experience supports the A2.

henri
henri
3 months ago

It really doesn’t mater, if you buy a well known brand you will have Lineage OS available sooner or later which can extend the lifecycle of your device significantly
 
If you buy some obscure china made phone you will be SOL

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

Which recent phone has lineage support?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 months ago

Which kernel version is this Android 9 based on? Are they still on an ancient 3.4 kernel lacking tons of fixes?

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

That’s the sad part about Android…

Even worse Google doesn’t seem to put pressure on Qualcomm in this respect.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 months ago

I found https://forum.fairphone.com/t/kernel-hackers-upstream-kernel-for-fp2-openos/28628/28
 
And a quick look into their forum and bugtracker seems to confirm the ‘Custom ROM’ route basing on a kernel from 8 years ago with tons of backports. Since I’m not familiar with Android security concepts this simply sounds horrible to me.

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

Thats nothing ambitious:
4.4 is at .227, 4.9 also at .227, 4.14 at 184
So more than 100 bugfix releases missing and after all 4.14, the most recent in the list is from 2017, Android 9 2018, imagine we would use SOCs of 2017…

And worst is the security fixes only update Android, not the kernel, so how do you want to ensure security?

sandro
sandro
2 months ago

Most of android security is in the userspace rather than the kernel for exactly this reason. I don’t think there would be too much missing in the os security or functionality. But perhaps in certain optimizations.

Jay
Jay
3 months ago

Tbh pretty much all OSs have major holes when it comes to security yet the difference isnt the laptop vs phone OS, but that a computer might stay put. The computer that stays put isnt going to connect to random networks and unknown exposure in the same ways as a computer that is portable, be it a phone OS or desktop OS.
 

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