One of the things Apple and iOS can keep across the Android ecosystem is as soon as OS updates are installed on iPhones and iPads. However, compared to the hardware that may be available in the Android ecosystem, Apple is limited to a much smaller set.
It’s been a problem with Android from the start, and in 2017, Google took steps to streamline the update process with Project Treble, which separated the OS framework from low-end vendor implementation in all handsets.
And it worked, to some extent.
As Google explained in a blog post Wednesday, when an Android OS announcement occurs, Google will publish a sexual image from the open source version of Android that is sure to be backwards compatible with the previous three versions of vendor implementation. New machines need to have vending machines that are compatible with the sexual images.
“This is the main vehicle for minimizing disruption within the framework of the OS,” Google said.
“In addition to reuse of vendor implementation across OS updates, Treble’s architecture also enables reuse of the same OS framework code across different vendor implementations.”
However, this picture is getting a lot murkier for a company like Qualcomm, which has to support many of its different system-on-chip (SoC) products, with device manufacturers buying the silicon.
“The result is that, three years after the chipset launch, the SoC vendor had to support up to six combinations of OS frame software and vendor implementation. The engineering costs were related to the support. This limits the amount of time SoC vendors offered Android OS software support on a chipset, “Google said.
“The main cause of the problem was that while device requirements were never retroactive, so were the requirements for SoCs. For example on Android Pie, SoCs had to support two versions of the Camera HAL API on a chipset if it was used to support new device launches and updates. “
After a year of working with Qualcomm, Google said it has made changes that will allow chip makers to use the same vendor implementation for SoCs for the device’s support life – that’s four years in which the original version of Android OS and three OS updates – in addition to the search giant also uses an OS framework over several Qualcomm chips.
“Going forward, all new Qualcomm mobile platforms that take advantage of the no-retroactivity principle for SoCs will support four Android OS versions and four years of security updates,” Google said.
“All Qualcomm customers will be able to take advantage of this stability to upgrade costs as well as launch and can now support their devices for longer periods . “
The changes will start with all chips launching on devices running Android 11 and later.
In the past fortnight, Qualcomm has launched its new flagship Snapdragon 888 chip, and on Wednesday unveiled its new mid-range 678 chip.