Earlier today (December 17 2020), Google and Qualcomm announced a major improvement in the existing update cycle for Android smartphones. The two companies are teaming up to help phones powered by Snapdragon to get support for up to 4 Android OS versions (launch release + 3 OS updates) and 4 years of security updates.
Apparently, the news and the headlines of various reports have been a bit unreliable to a certain degree, but that is only due to the original announcement from the chipmaker and search engine giant.
According to an AndroidPolice report, very little is actually changing with this announcement of four year of Android updates. For those unaware, Google and Samsung currently offers about three major OS updates on their popular smartphones.
However, today’s announcement from both companies does not actually add to this figure. Rather, this just makes policy that was already an optional extra for smartphone OEMs who work with Qualcomm. In reality, it does not actually extend the lifespan of Qualcomm’s top end chips in any manner. This is all really confusing owing to how well Google and Qualcomm announced the entire news, but there are two major points to note:
- Qualcomm will support three major Android OS updates for its entire portfolio of smartphone chips going forward, starting with the Snapdragon 888.
- Smartphone OEMs will likely be able to now offer four full years of Android security updates going forward (based on our reading of the announcement).
These points from the original basically imply that four years of updates is being promised and not four years of Android OS updates. So, don’t expect four major OS version upgrades anytime soon. Google already offers about 36 months of security patch updates, which will now be extended to 48 months after this announcement.
Furthermore, this also only applicable to all Android smartphones that feature Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 SoC for now.