Revisions and updates : limited shelf life of an Android phone

fergusd84fergusd84 Level 2
edited September 2 in ZenFone 8

I am entirely new to Android.

If I have understood things correctly, even a brand new ZenFone 8 will only be allowed / permitted / capable of achieving (a) updates to the Android OS and (b) security updates for some linited period - what, maybe 2Y or suchlike? Thereafter it will be stuck at that status, regardless of any future developments and protections. The phone will continue to work, probably indefinitely with respect to the OS, but becoming more and more vulnerable as regards security.

Is this really the case? Surely I have got this wrong? And is it a policy imposed by Google or Asus or .. .. ? Even Microsoft offer updates for a decade or more before shutting down support on its various OSs; a car manufacturer woiuld not get away with halting safety notifications and taking any necessary actions.

I am just stunned (but also at my own ignorance). The phone cost approx 800 Euros. I would have anticipated much greater longevity than is implied by the above. What happened when billions of users world-wide presumably objected? (Or not? Is the lure of a brand new phone every two years just too intoxicating?)

Is there any way round this? Even by securing some kind of an extension at some cost?



  • R.R. Level 2

    I can't buy Asus again after Zenfone 8 if they don't give longer support. 2 android versions update support is ridiculous. Unfortunately I'll have to abandon ZenUI...

  • joli80joli80 Level 1
    edited July 30

    I agree. I would like to replace my Zenfone 6 with the new Zenfone 9, but without at least 3-4 years of security updates it is not an option.

  • D_IMAND_IMAN Level 2

    Yes, this is not an iPhone, with its excellent support for older devices !!!

    Maybe custom firmware will save us?

  • fergusd84fergusd84 Level 2

    Me again (OP). Sorry to bang on about this. I am perplexed that this absurd policy has gathered traction and there is no massive consumer pushback that would have led to its revision - e.g. unlimited updates OS + Security until the phone's h/ware starts to fragment would be ideal; but some combination of even time-limited OS / Security is not unreasonable and surely within the technical wit of hardware and software providers to administrate.

    I suggested that MS and any car maker simply would not get away with this - is the distinction that cars and computers (typically) are purchased, whilst phones (typically) are rented? (I kept my BlackBerry for 9 years, way beyond the development likfecycle, and have used other phones, all bought not rented.) For this reason the 2Y horizon roughly equals contract duration, so for all these "billions" of users the ssue does not arise.

    But the population of purchasers not renters will still be substantial (??) yet there has been no leverage to encourage providers to come up with something more aligned to conventional expectations. Is anybody aware of any ongoing pressure group that is making any headway?

  • D_IMAND_IMAN Level 2

    To influence such an attitude of manufacturers towards us ordinary users, we can only with our own money !!!

  • landsomelandsome Level 2

    I understand why this is a bit of a problem. But why is it a serious problem? My wife's phone had not been updated in around 3 years and she is happily using it and would not give it up for anything. (And it's still plenty fast - a Sony XZ1 Compact.) My dad is using a low-tier Moto not updated in 3 years and he is plenty satisfied. Power users, on the other hand, do not keep a phone for more than 3 years. So where is the big issue, really?

  • It isn't a problem for regular users who don't care much about their ₹15k-20k phones cuz they just need a phone that can get them through day to day usage

    But when you are paying premium amount of 60k-70k, you want it to be there with you for a long time (probably 3-5 years). Just 2 years of major update won't justify the hefty price tag

    iPhone 6s that was launched with iOS 9 in 2015 got the iOS 15 update (6years of update)

    There are still many using iphone 6 because it still gets major updates and it is still a secure phone (what a legend phone)

    The reason why Android phones manufacturers are not able to do this is because they release a phone every few months and can't take care of all the phones they have launched

    What we ask them is atleast take care of the premium products that you have launched

  • landsomelandsome Level 2

    You explain how things should be, and I generally agree it would be better. You still do not explain why it's such a big problem.

  • R.R. Level 2

    An example? Android 14 will have vulkan 1.3 GPU drivers which is important and good for gaming. However 3 android versions are ideal. 2 are too few for a flagship like this. Other oems give 3 android version updates and Asus has few devices to support. With hardware and price like this such a support should be the rule. Things have to change now. They are no longer devices like they used to be years ago

    (Sorry if my english is wrong)

  • @fergusd84

    Sadly this is a problem with basicially every device, not only phones. Manufacturers want to make devices obsolete so people buy new, be it via software or hardware. Android phones typically have decent support when it comes to repairability of their hardware, but get knee capped because eventually software support will run out, meanwhile apple does the opposite, they will update software more, but knee cap you on the hardware side, they will manipulate the older phones via software and make it impossible for you as a normal consumer to get your phone repaired for a reasonable price. Macbooks get same treatment, some windows notebooks such as Razer also very anti repair to make sure their device gets obsolete as quickly as possible.

    There is no reason why ASUS couldnt make a ROM source repo and let the users compile latest google security themselves.

  • landsomelandsome Level 2

    I agree partly - and disagree in part. Why use a phone for only 2 years because there are no upgrades after that? Does that render the phone unusable? Not at all. I have many examples of people around me (but not on these forums!) who still use their phones happily and productively after 3 years of zero updates. So why the update fixation? (Or the no-update phobia?)

    If you care about sustainability, go on using your phone for as long as it works well. Sure, longer updates is good, just not a big deal. Most phones work fine well beyond the end-of-update point. This seems to be a fixation of review sites, but to have very little practical effect in real life. People are buying into this theory, but it is itself a product of commercial culture. Just use the damn thing for as long as it satisfies you.

  • landsomelandsome Level 2

    Btw, I still use occasionally a 2013 Moto G (OG) with a mid-tier cpu at the time, 1gb of RAM and 8gb of storage. With Android 7.1.2 via LineageOS, it is perfectly usable for basic tasks and streaming. The battery can be easily swapped (not the case of my iPhone SE 2016, which would cost me a lot of money relative to its worth to fix).

    There are plenty of options out there for sustainability-conscious people, if that is your cup of tea.

  • I agree with your comments, but you said it yourself: "usable for basic tasks". Why is a phone that was lightning fast at release and could be used for more than "basic tasks" today only suitable for those?

    Why does my Huawei P10 take 20+ minutes to update 5-10 apps through the play store? It didn't take that long when I got it.

    Maybe I could install a custom ROM on it, but Huawei killed the program that gave you a bootloader unlock code according to your IMEI.

    In my opinion, support should also include optimization of software/drivers so devices don't get downgraded to "basic tasks" after a few years. And as I said in my previous post, this concept of support also includes software and web developers who should lower their reliance on fast hardware to perform badly optimized operations.

  • R.R. Level 2
    edited August 3

    For those who are interested only in basic tasks and maybe change their device every year or 2 years i can understand... For those people it doesn't change much. However why you buy such an expensive device if it's not for compact size and android stock? Buy china phone and change it after 1-2 years easily...

    Now i tell you my reasons.

    I play heavy games so i need a powerful and optimized device. This also means i need updated gpu drivers, so an updated and optimized software. Android 14 will have vulkan 1.3 so hell yeah if i need it. It would improve my device. If you put powerful soc in a device you shouldn't put it just for marketing.

    I paid more than 600€ for a flagship phone and the support should last 2 years?? Are you f*cking kidding me? I paid for something which should last definitely more.

    Custom rom will be the way absolutely if no a14 for zenfone 8

  • smchaysmchay Level 2

    I voted with my $$$ and gave Asus the 🖕 ........ Yeap, that's my take.

  • landsomelandsome Level 2

    That's a 10-year old phone that was mid-range then. Its specs today are lower than that of the cheapest phone on the market. But I agree that phone makers could do more. Apple does (minus the repairing). My point was simply that updates are not that important. Many phones work well years after the updates stop, especially if they had good ROMs to begin with.

    And I am surprised by the P10. It should work better. (A reset, maybe?)

This discussion has been closed.