Google, Qualcomm Moving to Four Years of Android Support

Posted on December 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google, Mobile with 14 Comments

Project Treble has helped Android 11 get off to a fast start. And now, Google and Qualcomm are moving forward to support new Android versions for four years.

“In the past few years, the latest Android OS has been adopted earlier by [device makers] and deployed in larger numbers to our users, … driven by [device makers] delivering faster OS updates [by] taking advantage of the architecture introduced by Project Treble,” a new Android Developer blog post reads. “Despite the events throughout 2020, there is a continued momentum among our partners to either launch their devices on Android 11 or offer Android 11 [as an upgrade] on their devices earlier.”

As Google describes it, Project Treble was “an ambitious re-architecture of Android” in which the OS framework was split from device-specific low-level software. Project Treble software images are guaranteed to be backward-compatible with the previous three versions of device maker implementations, in addition to the current release, for a total of four years of software compatibility support.

Google has also had to work with hardware chipset makers like Qualcomm to ensure that each System-on-Chip (SoC) version they supply will support all combinations of OS framework software and device maker implementations, for both new hardware and for upgrades.

“Building on our deep collaboration with our colleagues at Qualcomm, today we’re announcing the results of this work,” the post notes. “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.”

The change applies to all device makers that use Qualcomm chipsets and impacts Android 11 and newer, Google says.

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