Netherlands-based Fairphone is known for its repair-friendly smartphone lineup, with the company also launching a pair of headphones in May, relying on the same repairability promise. In a world where smartphones reach their end-of-life status quickly, Fairphone's devices, like the Fairphone 3, have been the pleasant exception. The manufacturer had promised five years of software support from when this smartphone was launched in mid-2019. While this meant that software updates would stop in the middle of 2024, the company has now surprised device owners by saying it plans to provide an additional two years of software coverage.
Fairphone shared the news on Twitter when it announced that Android 13 is now available on the Fairphone 3, saying it's aiming "for 2 extra years of support," citing longevity as one of the company's core values. It's hard not to get excited about this news if you're a Fairphone 3 user. However, some skeptics in a Reddit thread on r/Android suggest the manufacturer used this precise "aim" wording in the statement to avoid any future culpability if it can't keep the promise.
Nevertheless, any attempt to support an older phone for longer than originally intended is indeed good news, no matter how you try to look at it. Whether Fairphone will actually stick to its promise is only for time to tell, though the company managed to deliver that same impressive feat with the Fairphone 2. Thanks to the repairable design of the Fairphone 3, it can comfortably last a few more years if you're not too bothered by outdated hardware.
Like with Fairphone 2, the company is battling issues that arise with older smartphone hardware like this. Fairphone skipped straight from Android 11 to Android 13 with the Fairphone 3, saying that it couldn't rely on the chip manufacturer anymore as it discontinued support. As such, the company took matters into its own hands and had its internal software team work on porting the new software to the phone.
News of extended software support for the Fairphone 3 come just a few days after the manufacturer brought the Fairphone 4 to US shores through a partnership with Murena, known for its de-Googled privacy-oriented smartphones. The Fairphone 4 was originally launched in September 2021 and made available to customers across Europe the following month. Meanwhile, we encountered leaked renders of the Fairphone 5 last month, though there's no launch date to mark on our calendars just yet.