Android is the most successful smartphone OS in the world but its huge market share has come at the cost of a broken software update structure. Consumers can’t always decide who to blame, OEMs or Google, for lack of updates. Google did take some measures asking OEMs to update devices for at least 18 months but that only seems to work for flagships these days and OEMs don’t take the matter that seriously.
Samsung Gets Taken to Court By Consumer Protection Group
A consumer protection group in Netherlands thinks that it’s the OEM’s responsibility to send out updates and is therefore holding them accountable in the court of law. Consumentenbond is an influential not-for-profit organisation looking after consumer interests. It has taken Samsung to court over its failure to provide updates in a timely manner.
In their press release, the group says it reached out to Samsung on December 2 last year, but did not receive any proper response over the matter. Therefore, it “issued injunctive relief proceedings against” against Samsung.
Comsumentenbond considers the Korean giant guilty of unfair trade practices. They say consumers are not informed about the duration of software updates for their smart gadgets at the time of purchase. The group asks that OEMs should provide “clear and unambiguous information” on updates and security patches. They want Samsung to release updates for at least two years from the date of purchase.
The consumer interest group said that 82 percent of the Samsung phones they checked were not updated within two years of their launch. Consumentenbond stated that all manufacturers should be held accountable for anything less than 2 years of support. It noted that Samsung was the “undisputed leader” and should be the prime example.
To Provide Updates or No Updates?
It seems difficult to put into practice but Consumentenbond wants Samsung to support every device it sells for two years, meaning that regardless of the phone’s launch date, they want phones to be updated for two years from the date of purchase.
Without doubt consumers would benefit from such an extensive upgrade policy. Security and privacy are the primary advantages of updates. While Samsung could argue that the burden is unfair, some manufacturers like Motorola, Sony and Xiaomi have been providing such extensive support for their devices. Samsung charges premium prices for most of their smartphones too.
If this legal action proves to be successful, it would become effective throughout the European Union. Consumer rights have a lot of value in Europe and even Google was forced to launch a “right to be forgotten” service across the EU after a Spanish citizen made an official complaint.
What’s your say on the matter? Should manufacturers be legally bound to update older devices?