Smartphones Can Now Last 7 Years. Here's How to Keep Them Working. – The New York Times

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Tech Fix
Google and Samsung used to update smartphone software for only three years. That has changed.

Brian X. Chen is The Times’s lead consumer technology writer and the author of Tech Fix, a column about the social implications of the tech we use.
Every smartphone has an expiration date. That day arrives when the software updates stop coming and you start missing out on new apps and security protections. With most phones, this used to happen after about only three years.
But things are finally starting to change. The new number is seven.
I first noticed this shift when I reviewed Google’s $700 Pixel 8 smartphone in October. Google told me that it had committed to provide software updates for the phone for seven years, up from three years for its previous Pixels, because it was the right thing to do.
I was skeptical that this would become a trend. But this year, Samsung, the most profitable Android phone maker, set a similar software timeline for its $800 Galaxy S24 smartphone. Then Google said it would do the same for its $500 Pixel 8A, the budget version of the Pixel 8, which arrived in stores this week.
Both companies said they had expanded their software support to make their phones last longer. This is a change from how companies used to talk about phones. Not long ago, tech giants unveiled new devices that encouraged people to upgrade every two years. But in the last few years, smartphone sales have slowed down worldwide as their improvements have become more marginal. Nowadays, people want their phones to endure.
Samsung and Google, the two most influential Android device makers, are playing catch-up with Apple, which has traditionally provided software updates for iPhones for roughly seven years. These moves will make phones last much longer and give people more flexibility to decide when it’s time to upgrade.
Google said in a statement that it had expanded its software commitment for the Pixel 8A because it wanted customers to feel confident in Pixel phones. And Samsung said it would deliver seven years of software updates, which increase security and reliability, for all its Galaxy flagship phones from now on.
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