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Google and Qualcomm join hands to offer four years of assured Android updates

By Nadeem Sarwar December 16, 2020, 3:26 pm

Google has joined with Qualcomm to extend the duration for which smartphones can get Android updates, both in terms of major build numbers and years of security updates. Thanks to Google’s partnership with Qualcomm, all compatible smartphones will get four assured Android version upgrades and security updates for four years. This will be made possible courtesy of enhancements made to Project Treble, the architecture that allows the development and deployment of Android updates.

Cost and resources required for Android upgrades are coming down

“Going forward, all new Qualcomm mobile platforms that take advantage of the no-retroactivity principle for SoCs will support 4 Android OS versions and 4 years of security updates. All Qualcomm customers will be able to take advantage of this stability to further lower both the costs of upgrades as well as launches and can now support their devices for longer periods of time,” Google said in a blog post. Qualcomm, on the other hand, notes that tweaks made to Project Treble will cut down on the time and resources required to upgrade Qualcomm-powered smartphones to the latest build of Android. 

The changes made to Project Treble allowing four years of Android upgrades will go live for all devices powered by new Qualcomm SoCs and running Android 11 or a later build. From Qualcomm’s end, the shift towards a longer update cycle begins with devices powered by Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip – the Snapdragon 888. Earlier, the whole process of implementing OS frameworks ran across multiple tiers and shot up the costs associated with the whole process, but it has also been tweaked.

Google is drastically changing the way OS frameworks are handled and deployed by OEMs. Following is a diagram depicting how things have changed: 

(Tap to view full-sized image in a new tab)

“We’re also reusing the same OS framework software across multiple Qualcomm chipsets,” notes the search giant. “This dramatically lowers the number of OS framework and vendor implementation combinations that Qualcomm has to support across their mobile platforms and results in lowered engineering, development, and deployment costs.”

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