May 8, 2018
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
There’s a rush one gets when a new version of Android — or better yet, a new phone with the latest mobile OS — is about to drop. In the U.S., this typically applies to early adopters; in China, however, that’s a much greater number of people. Yet, despite the overall popularity of Android, adoption has been a challenge. OEMs are keenly aware of the challenges associated with OS upgrades. Google and Qualcomm Technologies are working together to tackle these obstacles head on, using Project Treble.
This joint effort addresses OS adoption by providing devices currently powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 660, and Snapdragon 636 Mobile Platforms with early access to the newest Android OS: P. In places like China, having the latest Android OS is a key competitive differentiator, and it gives OEMs an edge.
Delivering the latest Android OS
A new Android OS typically follows a standard release process:
- 1. Open-source code for the new Android OS is published.
- 2. Silicon manufacturers modify the OS for their specific hardware.
- 3. Silicon manufacturers pass the modified OS to OEMs, who then customize it to fit their devices.
- 4. OEMs work with carriers to test and certify their devices with the new OS.
- 5. The new OS is made available to users, either via an OTA to devices that are already launched, or installed out of the box on new devices.
This whole process can add months to the delivery of the OS. Over time, this has led to different versions of Android running on multiple different processors across different devices. Right now, there are about eight Android operating systems in use, starting with Gingerbread. This means there are users who aren’t taking full advantage of Android.
OEMs have cited several reasons for why upgrading has been difficult. This includes everything from the high costs of carrier testing and certification to app compatibility and user acceptance rates. As a solution to these challenges, Google introduced Project Treble.
Benefitting from Project Treble
Launched with Android Oreo (8.0), Project Treble was created to improve the OS release schedule, to make it easier, faster, and less costly for OEMs to update their devices with the most recent version of Android. OEMs could outfit their devices with the newest technology, and users could enjoy Android’s latest and greatest.
In the latest version of Project Treble, Google is working with Qualcomm Technologies to streamline the release process even further by working together on a common development infrastructure to make Android P more accessible on Snapdragon platforms. This work supports Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 660, and Snapdragon 636 mobile platforms. Devices powered by these Snapdragon SoCs should have access to Android P up to 12 weeks sooner than would have been available before. Support for other platforms is expected in the future.
This joint effort was designed to accelerate the adoption of Android P and beyond in devices built on Snapdragon mobile platforms. By making the latest versions of Android available sooner and giving OEMs early access to the operating system, OEMs can speed up their device upgrade schedules to better satisfy consumers. With Project Treble, Google and Qualcomm Technologies are working to make adopting Android easy, so everyone can enjoy a slice of the next OS dessert.