Snapdragon phones will get Android updates for longer now: Google

Google and Qualcomm are working together to make it easier to deliver Android updates to phones powered by new Snapdragon chipsets.

Highlights
  • Phone with new Snapdragon chips and Android 11 will support four years of Android updates
  • This is up from the typical 2-3 years of updates that the devices currently get
  • The extended support will start with Snapdragon 888 SoC-powered phones

Google and Qualcomm are making it easier to deliver Android updates to phones starting next year. Google has announced four years of Android system and security updates instead of the typical 2-3 years of updates for smartphones. This includes the Android version that a device ships with followed by three major updates after that for a grand total of four releases. There will be an additional year of security updates with the last major Android version. The extended Android support starts from next year with Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones. That said, it’s up to the individual Android phone maker to determine whether or not to allow their phones to get four years of Android updates.

Read more: Snapdragon 888: Mi 11, Realme Race, OnePlus 9, and more flagships set to battle it out

The extended Android support starts from next year with Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones.

Google has made four years of Android updates possible for new devices by extending Project Treble’s “no-retroactivity principle” to SoCs in addition to devices. It’s a bit technical, but the Project Treble that was announced back in 2017 to make it easier for manufacturers to deliver updates had a few complexities. “It made the chipset manufacturers’ jobs harder, amplifying the work they had to do to support multiple generations of software depending on when phones would launch during that chip’s lifecycle,” as explained by Android Police in its report.

Over the years, Google is said to have worked with top Android chipmakers so that “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.” OEMs can therefore upgrade devices to the latest OS without modifying Qualcomm’s “chipset-specific software.”

The new implementation applies to all Snapdragon SoC phones launched with Android 11. It also closes the software update gap iPhones have over Android devices. An iPhone model typically gets software updates for approximately five years.