Qualcomm Has a Plan to Revolutionize Android Updates


Android had been threatened by the ghost of fragmentation since its first release. In recent years, however, many phone makers changed their direction by releasing that consumers care if their devices will be constantly updated or not. Nowadays, phone makers are rolling out new Android versions for longer and longer periods. Flagships are getting five or even six major updates, and some mid-range smartphones also get the same treatment. The situation, however, is complicated for some mid-range smartphones and low-end devices. These get one, or two updates at the best, but they take a long time to arrive. Qualcomm wants to help the updates arrive quickly and will do its part to help Android OEMs.

Qualcomm wants to ease the process of rolling out updates for Android phone makers

The flow of updates not only depends on the smartphone maker but also the maker of the chipset in your phone. The chipmaker has to support the SoC actively, to ensure compatibility with new software versions. For cheaper ones, the support window ends much sooner than for premium smartphones. When it comes to security patches that come monthly from Google, the cadence is even worse for most smartphones. Some brands can roll out monthly security patches, but this usually happens only with flagships. The fact is that as a chip gets older, the creators of the chipsets tend to move on from them as far as support toes. Therefore, it becomes more difficult for the phone makers to keep the device software current.

According to Chris Patrick, SVP and General Manager of Handset at Qualcomm, the company has been working on making it easier for OEMs to keep all their phones updated. He Told AndroidAuthority:

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“It is very complicated for a customer — an OEM — to get security updates, to get Android version updates, and then get it to every end user. It’s actually very expensive and very complicated. One of the things we’ve been working on for the past several years with Google and with the OEMs is to change the structure of inline code — to kind of change the machinery for how we do those updates. You’ll see that, later on this year, we’ll make some announcements about some of those changes we’ve made to facilitate this and help the whole ecosystem keep Android phones closer to up to date.”

The company will announce later this year – probably at the Snapdragon Summit

As the statement says, Qualcomm has been focused in this area. The company carries this concern and has been working to improve it. Now, it is ready to announce something to improve things. There is still no window for this announcement, but we can only assume it will be at the annual Snapdragon summit in Hawaii this October. During the event, the company will unveil the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, but it also serves as a stage for other Qualcomm announcements.

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Snapdragon Summit Qualcomm

Of course, anything announced by Qualcomm will certainly be a work for the next years. This is the kind of improvement that needs some time to become consistent. That’s exactly the case with major Android updates. For a few years, even flagships had support for one or two Android upgrades. Companies realized that they had to change, and consumers became more exigent. Google also gave a push to smartphone OEMs by forcing them to release smartphones only with the latest Android versions.

If Qualcomm makes a difference and improves things for Android OEMs in the update process, this will certainly add value for the company. In the past years, Qualcomm saw MediaTek emerging as one of its biggest rivals in the smartphone market. Qualcomm still has the edge when it comes to software updates.

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