GRazie all'accordo tra Google e Qualcomm sempre più smartphone Android potranno ricevere fino a quattro anni di aggiornamenti, in tempi molto più rapidi
Google e Qualcomm hanno annunciato una nuova collaborazione per migliorare il processo di aggiornamento di Android per gli smartphone dotati dei chip Snapdragon. In pratica si tratta di far partecipare anche Qualcomm a “Project Treble“, un progetto al quale fino ad ora hanno partecipato solo Google e i produttori di smartphone.
L’obiettivo finale è quello di consentire ai produttori di aggiornare i propri dispositivi basati su SoC Snapdragon con l’ultimo sistema operativo Android per 4 anni, senza modificare il software specifico del chipset Qualcomm integrato nello smartphone. Until now, Project Treble has allowed device manufacturers to simplify the development of updates, but offloading some of the development costs to those who make the processors. The result has been that Qualcomm, which has an ever-expanding range of processors, hasn't extended the lifespan of its updates as much as it would have needed to guarantee the 4-year update window. Now, however, that's about to change.
Exactly how long will Android updates last
Qualcomm Technologies will support three versions of the Android operating system and four years of security updates for all Snapdragon platforms, starting with the all-new Snapdragon 888 SoC just unveiled. Other SoC models from Qualcomm will also soon provide the lengthy updates.
To be precise, three versions of Android (so three annual updates) and an additional year of security patches will be offered. A 2021 smartphone with a Snapdragon processor, then, will leave the factory with Android 11 and can be upgraded up to Android 14 (which will be released in 2023) but will receive security patches until 2024.
Why your smartphone can't always have the latest Android
Usersersersersers love and want to always receive the latest available versions of Android, but it's not as easy a process as you might think. Android, in fact, is composed of two major components: a "fixed" and a "variable" one.
The fixed component of Android is the one developed by Google and is called "Generic System Image" (GSI), the variable component is the one developed by the various manufacturers based on the GSI. To make concrete examples: Samsung One UI, Huawei EMUI, Xiaomi MIUI, Oppo ColorOS are all graphic interfaces developed on Google's GSI.
The problem is that Google's GSI must be compatible with the previous three generations of interfaces of the manufacturers, to simplify updates. All of this has to be multiplied by the amount of SoCs on the market and used by individual manufacturers, creating a veritable Babel of compatibility that makes updates more complex.
This is why smartphone manufacturers don't update the GUI of older smartphones: it costs too much. And for the same reason Google manages to guarantee three years of updates for all its Pixels: it doesn't have any custom interfaces to update.