Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Qualcomm and Google have announced a partnership and will work together on expanding Project Treble to bring the latest Android OS updates to more smartphones next year. Smartphones will be receiving four years of Android OS version updates and four years of security updates, starting with the Snapdragon 888 and forward. To be fair, smartphone manufacturers including Google and OnePlus promise three years of major updates to their phones and the new announcement does not promise an extra year. 

According to a press release by Qualcomm, this collaboration means that smartphone manufacturers no longer need to modify Qualcomm’s chipset-specific software in order to seed an update. OEMs who are notorious for not providing regular updates to existing smartphones running on Snapdragon chips now have no reason to delay Android OS updates. Both Qualcomm and Google want to reduce the resources and time required to provide regular system updates to Snapdragon-powered smartphones.

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

Google announced Project Treble in 2017 as an attempt to streamline the otherwise irregular Android OS update cycle making it easier for OEMs to provide major OTA updates to smartphones. The new collaboration ensures that smartphone manufacturers can now provide up to four years of Android updates and four years of security updates for all phones compatible with Treble and powered by Snapdragon 888 onwards.

Do note, however, the four version updates include the Android OS version that runs on your phone out-of-the-box. So technically its three versions, something that Google, OnePlus and more already support on some of their phones.

Having said that, the collaboration is a welcome move to simplify the Android OS update process and ensure that more phones launched in 2021 get updated to the latest version along with improving the shelf life of smartphones. Google is also reusing the same OS framework software across different Qualcomm chips that ensure widespread support without incurring costs. 

Google says that this change is effective on all Snapdragon processors slated to launch with Android 11 in 2021. 


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