Google is stepping up efforts to ensure that Android smartphones enjoy the latest OS and security updates faster and for a longer time. This requires a better structure of the system itself, programs such as Android One and better collaboration with the various manufacturers.
Despite this, it is still not enough. The vast majority of smartphones benefit from software support for only two years, encouraging users to renew their purchases regularly. This is not good for the portfolio or for the environment.
Increase smartphone’s lifetime up to 10 years
It is to counter this phenomenon that the postmarketOS project was created. It has been in existence since at least 2017, but a recent update of the dedicated website has shed light on it and the subject is very much in vogue at the moment on Reddit.
The concept of postmarketOS is quite simple. The goal of its creators is to allow phones to have a lifespan of 10 years and to ensure that only a hardware failure pushes us to part with a device.
Simplified updates for extended tracking
This free and open system is based on the Alpine Linux distribution which has the advantage of being very light (6 MB for a basic installation) to install in addition to being focused on user safety and ease of execution. The particularity of postmarketOS lies in the fact that each smartphone has only one single package that differentiates it from the others. Absolutely all other packages are shared by all devices running on this OS. In concrete terms, this greatly simplifies the update process since there are far fewer specificities to manage.
Fix the cause instead of the symptoms
This is why postmarketOS claims to be different from solutions like LineageOS where teams of volunteer developers allow old smartphones to have the latest Android innovations. “However, such Android-based projects will always be executed in the shadow of Google and the phone industry, correcting only the symptoms, but never the root cause.
Because yes, postmarketOS is not a version of Android and avoids this whole ecosystem. However, the managers do not rule out the possibility of offering some compatibility with Android applications, but leave it to potential volunteers to take care of this tedious work.
As for the interface, it is specified that postmarketOS allows the user to choose the one that suits him most from an existing catalogue.
100 compatible devices
postmarketOS is only at the Alpha version where even calls don’t work yet (which is not very convenient for a phone). The creators of the system boast that they already have more than 100 compatible devices in which the Google Pixel 3 XL can be found. The latter is undoubtedly the most recent reference in this list where we can also see the following models:
- Asus Zenfone 5 (the one of 2014)
- Fairphone 2
- OnePlus One
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Wiko Lenny 3
- Xiaomi Mi 5
- Nokia N900
- Nextbit Robin
The project is interesting to follow anyway and even if things seem to be moving rather slowly, they are certainly moving forward. To learn more about the practical and technical details, do not hesitate to visit the postmarketOS website.