EU could force phone manufacturers to offer software and hardware support for up to 5 years

A new EU-wide bill could force all smartphone and tablet manufacturers to provide multi-year software updates for their products. Manufacturers of electronic devices would also have to offer customers a clearly defined period of technical support for their devices, allowing them to be repaired for a similar period of time. This could mean that EU law could oblige companies that do not offer long-term software or technical support to do so from now on.

Three years of system updates and five years of security updates guaranteed by the EU

The European Commission is proposing that all phones and tablets receive at least three years of software updates, with five years of security updates guaranteed by the manufacturer. This would bring more devices up to date with new software capabilities, while many of the phones and tablets used would benefit from improved security. Currently, only Samsung offers five years of security updates in the Android smartphone area.

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Apparently security is an important point for the EC, as it even proposes a maximum term for security updates on mobile devices. These should not be more than two months after the public release of the original software from Google. So companies that only release quarterly security updates for older models (like Samsung) could be forced to release software packages sooner.

This regulation would thus improve updates especially on smartphones in cheaper ranges, whereas in the flagship area, most manufacturers offer 2-3 years or even more of software support.

And the new EU regulation goes further, trying to prevent situations like those in the past with Apple and Samsung, which damaged device performance:

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“The battery capacity of a device must not deteriorate after a software or firmware update when measured with the same tools and standard used for the declaration of conformity.” Also “no change in performance shall occur for those who decline the update, except in the case of third-party applications.” the new bill says.

Parts available for repair for five years

Regarding hardware support, the new legislation should oblige companies to offer components such as batteries, displays, cameras or charging ports, as well as other components for at least five years after the launch of the devices.

The law is currently under public debate and will be updated depending on the responses the European Commission receives. Some of the proposals in the law could be implemented before the end of this year, and most will be adopted a year after approval.

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