Google and Qualcomm jointly announced an extension of support for Snapdragon processors for Android devices. They will now be able to benefit from the latest version for 4 years, i.e. 3 years of updates.
Google has made updates to its Android its hobbyhorse for several years. We remember initiatives like Treble or Project Mainline, which made it possible to fight against fragmentation by simplifying Android updates. This is a new step that Google is taking on this path today by announcing with Qualcomm a new support policy for Snapdragon.
4 versions of Android = 3 updates
Google and Qualcomm have indeed jointly announced that the next Snapdragon chips would now have the right to three Android updates and 4 years of security updates. The first chip to benefit from this extended support will be the Snadpragon 888. You have to analyze this announcement to understand its meaning.
The difference between years and versions of Android
First you have to understand that Google no longer wants to talk about years of Android support, but about the number of versions managed. Android now receives one major update per year, usually at the end of summer, and depending on whether a smartphone comes out sooner or later in the year, it may or may not directly benefit from this new version. This means that a smartphone released at the start of the year and having received three major updates could be considered to have only had “two years” of updates, which is the same level as a smartphone released at the end. of the year and having only had two major updates.
To clarify all this, we no longer count in the number of years of support, but simply in the number of versions of Android received. If we take our example, the first smartphone has known 4 different versions of Android, while the second smartphone has known only 3.
No change for Pixels and Samsung flagships
If we only have three major Android updates and 4 years of security updates, we are in fact falling back on the same support policy as Google for the Pixels or Samsung since its big announcement this summer. Those who hoped to see Google go further and perhaps catch up with the excellent support offered by Apple might be disappointed. The change announced by Google in fact mainly concerns other manufacturers.
Better support made easy for all manufacturers
What should be remembered from this announcement is two-fold. First, the new support policy will apply to all “Treble compatible” Snapdragon chips from the Snapdragon 888. It is difficult to know exactly which SoCs support Treble or not. We imagine that this is a way for Qualcomm to exclude the most accessible products, such as the Snapdragon 400.
Still, the joint announcement by Google and Qualcomm should indeed improve support for Android smartphones from most manufacturers. The Oppo, Xiaomi, Realme and other Sony will now be able to more easily offer three years of updates and get on the same level as Google and Samsung in this area.