Android 6.0 Marshmallow / 7 Nougat for FP2?

It looks like having CM (among others, probably) is a (the right?) way to longevity. Looking at the devices from this article, or take the Samsung Galaxy S3 (which my wife’s using for three years now), a very successful CM11 (KitKat) implementation, they skipped Lollipop (at least as an official CM), but now CM13 is officially supported, and they already said they will support CM14 (which would be Nougat) officially. And CM13 is said to be running fine on that HW. So the S3 will also have a life span of many years (> 3)

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Just read this in an article on Arstechnica:

After doing some digging and talking to some people, we can say that it will be either very difficult if not completely impossible for any phone that uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 or 801 to get an official, Google-sanctioned Nougat update (including the [Sony Xperia] Z3). And that’s a pretty big deal, since those two chips powered practically every single Android flagship sold from late 2013 until late 2014 and a few more recent devices to boot.
[…]
Qualcomm could provide Nougat support for older chips, but so few Android phone makers are actually asking for it that Qualcomm has decided not to go to the trouble.

There’s some more interesting bits and bobs in the article. You can read it in its entirety here if you like:

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Hi all,

i just got a FP2 and really liked it from the beginning (I also had none of the known problems). There is just one major flaw that makes it practically unuseable for me: there is no possibility to restrict app-permissions! (I totally forgot when buying it that 5.1 doesn’t have something like that, since i have android6 already for a long time).
I can live with the fact, that the FP2 wil never get Android 7 because of the monthly patching, but I can not live without restricting app-permissions!!

Rooting is not an option for me.

TL;DR: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GIVE US ANDROID 6 ALREADY!!!

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They will, just give them time to stabilize and have the humanpower to port a full Android version, :wink: (they are actually updating two versions of Lollipop monthly and also porting #kitkat to the FP1)

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they are actually updating two versions of Lollipop monthly

I was wondering about this one. It seems like FP maintains two seperate builds and cherry picks changes from the FP OS into the Open OS which is quite some amount of work. Why is this not the same build and a CONFIG option turns off the Google Stuff? Seems like it were way easier from the outside. But it is always easier to have an opinion when all you do is peeking in from the outside :-). I am glad that FP has committed itself to maintaining an Open OS at all.

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I guess the repo for GMS OS has some more singularities, or they don’t want to develop openly (read: work first on the FP Open OS and apply the GMS patches on top for every release, which could make things quicker)

Developing an OS doesn’t seem to be easy, plus we should add the crazy tangled mess of git repositories to sync. Here are some notes from a developer point of view:

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Hey all, it is not much, but what I can officially tell you now is that, with the goal of extending the life cycle of the Fairphone 2, our intention is to keep its software as up-to-date as possible.

At the moment we are researching which version of Android OS we will be able to upgrade the Fairphone 2 to. We will share more information about it after we have explored all different opportunities.

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I see this as the big problem with the fairphone. The fairphone company is dependent to the chipmaker to release the new code. And these chipmakers support those chips only for a short period of time and fairphone cant do anything against that. Mabye they could get anagreement with the chipmaker on a long support of the SoC but that wouldnt be cheap if thats even possible.

The mobile industry has no standard for how they implement their hardware features and thats why you cant just update your old phone to nougat as in the pc industry. There its possible to upgrade a pc from windows xp to win10 anyversery update without a dout… This fundamental problem isn’t easy to fix, and the oem’s have exactly 0 intrest to get that fixed…

So then: to live ethical requires to accept years old software on your mobile device… (or hack unstable software from devGods over at xda onto the device) Sad :frowning:

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Hi Douwe,

I am seriously thinking about buying the FP2. However, one buying argument is, that there will be an update to the Android 6 Version (particularly the app permission feature).

Reading your post, I am wondering if it is official that you have the intention of updating it or it is official that there will be an update to Android 6 .

Can you give any date for the update, because your post reads that you are currently only checking which version to update, so not even yet at a point of adapting the software to the FP2.

Looking forward to read from you!

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To me it’s pretty obvious that it’s the first one.

If he could, I’m sure he would.

From my pov FP simply failed to negotiate a contract which matches their goal of longetivity. Imho, FP should refuse to buy chips from vendors that don’t want to or can’t provide guarantees for long-term support of their chips. Instead, FP should choose other vendors. Or better just go the open source road and buy chips from vendors where support for future Android versions is not dependent on the support of the vendor. It’s that simple.

Not always. Ever tried to update a Pentium-M Banias based laptop to Windows 10? It lacks the PAE capability (hardware limitation) and thus will not run Windows 10. The difference here is just that these incompatibilities do not occur as often as in the Android world. But talking about Windows, many chipsets which had good support in Windows XP don’t work in Windows 7 and later either due to lack of drivers…

Why is this software per se unstable? There are many devices which work with this software much more stable than the official versions…

Sorry, but that’s just a typical FP-style reponse with actually no new information at all: “We really want to and we are trying very hard but we will not tell you anything unless we know for sure and we also don’t know when we will know anything for sure so please be patient and rest assured knowing that we are trying everything we can.”. I once seriously considered supporting FP by buying a FP2 device, but this sort of “transparency and openness” is very disappointing and THE major showstopper for me.

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Which merely means FP should make their own chipsets. No, it’s not that simple.

Non-billionaire startup life which tries to change how things are made is not simple at all. You can read why and how the industry and Android distribution works some posts above:

…we are updating monthly two different OS flavours for the FP2 while working on an FP1 update"

Disclaimer: Yes, I know Fairphone did things wrong, and I welcome criticism, but FP1 -> FP2 improvements are abysmal. Just noting what FP could have been done in a magical and ideal world is not fair from us. They are working hard and they are becoming better one step at a time.

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I confess I reasoned or even argued much like @kuleszdl about FP2’ pretended shortsightes decision for qualcomm. There is still missing some transparency about this decision from FP as every missing openess for open hardware description missing from FP. E.g I criticized FP for even not informing about simple battery pin out since I am still trying to double or enhance FP2’s battery life time.

But I simply don’t know very much about open source hardware alternatives. And I disagree when @Douwe was criticized for any undeclared FP’s crucial decisions e.g. missing proclaiming android 6 development for FP2 before it is feasable. He is community manager and not communication manager e.g. like a government spokesman of his CEO.

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Of course it’s out of question that a small startup is not in the position to dictate terms for chipset vendors. Yet, just going for a chipset with no (sufficient) guarantees regarding support terms sounds naive. One of their arguments back then was that they are going for this older chipset because they (think | expect …) that it will be supported for soo long - but this didn’t turn out to be feasible.

I have no doubt that they are working hard. This is not my criticism. But why don’t they just open up their development process so everyone can follow the progress? Just like any serious vendor who cares about openness? How about an open issue tracker where commits are linked?

Google has been criticized for their style of not communicating priorities and just throwing new releases over the wall - but I don’t see FP doing any better at all. Why is it not possible to just get the very bleeding edge code and give it a run or contribute fixes?

Again, this is not my point and @Douwe is not to blame - he just forwarded the question from the community and the “spokesman” did not have anything substantial FP would like to share with the community.

Now, Android 6 was released 3 months before the FP2 hit the market, Android 6 is there for almost a year. Android 7 was released one month ago. But the FP team even can’t say for sure whether Android 6 will ever be supported? Even though many other phones based on the same platform/chipset already shipped the update months ago?

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I guess it is not only the pure deployment of Android 6. I rather guess the question behind this is about how many different Androids can be supported concurrently. I noticed that my FP Open OS has been neglected by updates that have been overdue until 16.08. Hence FP may have decided to postpone deployment of Android 6 due to too many issues, bugs etc urgently still need to be fixed with Android 5.1 before. Also they promised to deliver every month updates and security fixes. Do you know how many development ressources does this bind ? This looks plausible to me because the personal ressources of developers are most likely not enough to support 2 androids in parallel.

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You say it: it turned out. One thing out of their will changed: Google droped MSM8974 chipset support while developing Android Nougat. Sony didn’t expect that neither and released two Release Candidate Nougat builds for their MSM8974-powered devices. The decision was well-taken on the moment they took it, from my point of view.

I agree with that. I understand too, as a developer, that an open development model could be somewhat complex to manage in the begining. But that’s not something out of their hand, true, and I’d like to see that in the near future.
(Maybe they shoud organize their FP-flavours flow, not treating FP Open as a second-class citizen, and figure how not to release any Google code before. But that’ll be anyway healthy for their development process, I think…)

They need to fix the long list of #software:bug-reports before upgrading and, as @anon9505190 has mentioned, they need manpower for that and they are currently working on a 4.4 obsolescence-fighting update for the FP1.

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No, it’s hard to judge. But it would be easier if they would simply communicate that! Just like: 40% of development time goes into 5.1 security updates, 40% goes into bugfixes for 5.1, 15% goes into KK for FP1 and only the last 5% go into Android 6/7 evaluation. But so far, we were not presented with any numbers or even sorted priorities…

To be honest, regarding the Android 4.4 thing my impression is that they have one single student guy (thesis writer) working on this “experimental” project…

I couldn’t agree more except not “maybe” but “for sure”! Of course they should develop FP Open first - it would be for first adaptors who are more tech savvy, do better at bug reporting etc. so they would get a lot of useful feedback for free and would be able to release more stable “regular” versions. The way they are doing that right know (at least as our perception goes) is completely the wrong, opposite way.

Instead of developing a system “with google” and then trying to operate this out and being careful not to leave anything there, they should develop a solid, open and gapps-free system and then integrate the gapps there.

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Oh, and one more thing regarding encryption and Android Nougat:

Many devices, like Nexus 5X and 6P also use unique keys that are
accessible only with trusted hardware, such as the ARM TrustZone. Now with 7.0 Nougat, all new capable Android devices must also have this kind of hardware support for key storage and provide brute force protection while verifying your lock screen credential before these keys can be used.

Source: https://developer.android.com/about/versions/nougat/index.html

Does the FP2 support this?

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The below topic has room for that discussion, :wink: (I linked my response there as a response for your post here too):

I don’t know if that’s true, but I don’t mind whether the developer is a student as far as he success in his work, and I guess FP1 users neither do, :slight_smile:

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I agree, let’s discuss that there.

I don’t care either. :slight_smile:

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