Fairphone—the sustainable, modular smartphone company—is still shipping updates to the 5-year-old Fairphone 2. The company won’t win any awards for speed, but the phone—which launched in 2015 with Android 5—is now being updated to Android 9.0. The most interesting part of this news is a video from Fairphone detailing the update process the company went through, which offers more transparency than we normally get from a smartphone manufacturer. To hear Fairphone tell the story of Android updates, the biggest barrier to longer-term support is—surprise!—Qualcomm.
I thought this was common knowledge in our little corner of the world. Qualcomm has almost a monopoly on the mid-to-high-end smartphone world when it comes to SoCs, and they have a long history of cutting off support for chipsets well before those chipsets become unusable.