Google, Qualcomm pledge long-term Android OS support

Google, Qualcomm pledge long-term Android OS support for mobiles

Google, Qualcomm promise to offer four years of Android OS and security update support for all mobiles.

Though Android OS has a major market share of more than 70% in the mobile ecosystem, the distribution of the latest OS version among two billion-plus mobile phones is very skewed compared to Apple's iOS. For instance, the latest Android 11, which was announced in September, has not even reached 5%, whereas iOS 14 has reached 80% of the billion-plus active iPhones.

Also, Apple offers close to five years of iOS software support to its mobiles compared to just three by Android phone-makers. Except for Nokia and Xiaomi handsets, no budget models (under Rs 15,000) don't even get two major updates.

Google in a bid to streamline the Android software delivery for all supported devices, announced Project Treble in May 2017. Even today, as mentioned above, the results are not good.

However, we understand the complexity of the work undertaken by Google, as it caters to hundreds of Android phone brands. Due to variation and limitation in hardware and custom user-interface in different handsets, it becomes tedious for both the parties to test for bugs for weeks and then distribute new versions of Android to older models.

Android OS distribution framework. Credit: Google

Now, Qualcomm, which offers Snapdragon chipsets to hundreds of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) who produce Android phones, has joined forces with Google to offer multi-year Android OS support.

Must read | Android 11: List of phones eligible to get latest Google mobile OS update

“Google continues to work closely with our technology partners to increase the freshness of the Android ecosystem. Through this collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, we expect that Android users will have the latest OS upgrades and greater security on their devices,” said David Burke, vice president of Android engineering, Google.
With Google-Qualcomm have pledged to offer minimum of four years of major Android OS update along with security patches for the same period. This initiative will start with the newly launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is slated to come with several premium Android devices in 2021.

Must read | Qualcomm Snapdragon 888: Everything you need to know

“We are excited to work with Google to extend our support for Android OS and security updates on future Snapdragon mobile platforms utilizing the Project Treble enhancements,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. 

“Through this collaboration, we expect accelerated Android OS upgrade on Snapdragon-based devices while providing a superior user experience for end-users,” Kondap added.

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