C. Scott Brown reports about the Fairphone 2 phone on AndroidAuthority, telling us that it has been supported for 7 years until now, and that this is better than even Samsung’s update policy.
And right he is of course, but forgetting that a) some iPhones were supported equally long, and that b) there are third party offerings like for instance LineageOS (just to name the most well-known one) who easily top that – for the mentioned Fairphone 2 for instance, there’s Android 11 in form of LineageOS 18.1 available.
And that’s far from the end of it – on my Google Nexus 5 I had an (unofficial but still great) version of LineageOS 20 which equals Android 13 – and that was a device which was even 2 years older than the Fairphone 2, and which LineageOS officially supported until 14.1 (Android 7).
So the real question before buying any new phone should be: is it supported by LineageOS and other 3rd party offerings? Do the makers at least give you the option to unlock the devices’ bootloaders so that you *can* install something different than the makers’ version of Android? For Apple’s iPhones and the iOS, the answer is generally “no”, so despite their long support through the maker they still lose against “open” Android phones like all devices from Google themselves for instance. See the devices listing on LineageOS, and if your phone is as old as a Nexus 5, don’t forget to mark the “discontinued devices” checkbox – if you find yours there, then there’s a great chance to also find some newer ROMs on the site of the XDA Developers.
The jury is still out, but at least with Android 13 on my late brother’s Pixel 3a I can even use my banking app, haven’t found many bugs even in that unofficial ROM yet.
So would I like to have a newer phone than that? Definitely yes. Do I really need one? Not so sure yet, although having Google’s quarterly “feature drops” is of course something really nice.
So if you’re reading articles about the longevity and the support cycles from manufacturers, don’t forget the third party aspect, it’s an important one in my opinion.
As always, thanks for reading.