I'm looking to buy a phone for my family and would like to know which manufacturer will push updates to its phones for longest.
I really have NO intention to buy a new updated phone every 2-3 years. IMO this is stupid and waste of money. All these OEMs piss me off with their fragmented versions of Andriod what are essentially a micro-distros that get abandoned.
Imagine if dell's Linux option was sold at best buy and was locked to only run Best Buy Linux, and they then stopped releasing updates for it 2-3 years later. It would be unacceptable. Yet here we are, spending as much on phones as you would on a laptop, and being stuck locked into software for no reason.
The budget is £200 max. I'm currently looking at Wileyfox swift for £100. It runs Cyanogen 13 and hope it will be getting regular updates for much longer time.
Not officially, the Nexus 5 is no longer officially supported by Google. Its successor, the Nexus 5X probably will get 7, but that's way out of your price range :(
Originally, yes, but the community has been able to run a lot of different OS'es on it :P
My pick would probably be the Motorola Moto G 4th generation. Since Motorola was at some point owned by Google, the support and device quality have been wonderful. They are now owned by Lenovo if I'm not mistaken, but their devices still rock :)
Unfortunately, unless you are willing to install ROMs, no Android phone is going to get updates after 3 years. The best option is probably the Nexus 5X, if you can find it for cheap. I heard that you can get it with Google Fi for $200, and then cancel Fi immediately and still keep the phone.
I have a Nexus 5 and it is really popular, so it will probably have ROM support for a while in the future. One thing to consider, though, is that some people had trouble porting Nougat to it. I think it was due to the Snapdragon 800 not supporting Vulkan, so hardware limitations might kill it next year or in two years. Not super likely, but it is a thing to consider. The 5X is probably a safer bet in that regard, but overall the 5 is a great phone.
There is no way to tell, because nexus 5X and 6P are now the main development devices for Ubuntu and Canonical is bringing out it's own phones and tablets, made by Xiaomi and BQ, so who knows whether the hardware-limited Nexus % will be supported much longer by communities.
Community firmwares are as good or better than official manufacturer ones though, so they are not a risk to use as long as they support a certain device.
Some do, I know for fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has only just been dropped from their supported devices. It really depends on the manufacturer and more specifically the model and its hardware. Some models have been dropped only a year after release because it would be more work to backport the hardware than it would be worth to the company.
Yes! The community will always give you more support than a for-profit company. If the N5 is your best choice, is still the question. I think it will not hold for much longer, although it has had a wonderful life. I would maybe look at buying a OnePlus One or a OnePlus 2 second hand, those were specifically made for custom ROMs and are well-supported as such. For the One, there's even 2 official ROMs (Cyanogen OS (different from Mod) and Oxygen OS), but the community delivers nightly updates and bigger updates are pretty frequent. There might be other devices with the same support, like the Wileyfox appears to get, but I have no first hand experience with those.
My Moto G 2013 (the OG edition) got updated from Android 4.3 to 5.1. Now they stopped the updates but I think they got pretty far. The new Moto G 2016 I guess will get the same threatment so it's a worth buy in my opinion.
Hmm yeah that annoys me too. Main issue is that Desktops we use today are designed by IBM and they made a machine that was easy to configure and replace parts when needed. Lucky the clones adopted this for further desktop when IBM stopped making them. Sadly this trend didn't fall good in the Phone market, Tablet market and the Laptop market is trying to make it more difficult each day too.
The makers just want to lock up stuff as much as possible so you can do as less as possible. There are lot of good and bad reasons for that (sadly not everyone is good with computers like most of us).