One of iPhone’s biggest advantage over Android is its software and security updates. The latest iOS 14 is still being pushed to the iPhone 6s from 2015 and it’s said to be running on 80% of all iPhone models. Soon, future Android devices will be able to enjoy longer software support as Google and Qualcomm have announced a commitment to deliver 4 years of updates.
Unlike Apple which has full control over its hardware and software, providing software updates on Android is complicated due to different device makers and chipsets. Google had taken steps to address this issue with Project Treble. With Project Mainline, critical security and privacy fixes can now be pushed via Google Play without the need to wait for smartphone vendors to take action.
With Google’s partnership with Qualcomm, they are bringing Treble’s modularity down to the chipset level which will help make Qualcomm’s job easier and allow them to maintain their chips for a longer period. It was reported by Android Police that all future Qualcomm chipsets starting with the Snapdragon 888 will support 3 years of Android OS updates and 4 years of security patches.
This means if a new Snapdragon 888 phone is released in the next couple of months with Android 11 out of the box, the device will be able to support Android 12, 13 and 14. On top of that, the devices will also continue to receive critical security updates for an extra year. That should give greater peace of mind for the next 4 years of usage.
This is certainly good news for consumers as they can hold on to their devices longer due to extended software and security updates. When Samsung introduced its Galaxy Note 20 series, it had promised to provide 3 generations of Android OS updates. This commitment extends beyond flagship models and it also include mid-range devices such as the Galaxy A51 and A71. Depending on market and devices, Samsung uses both Exynos and Qualcomm processors for its smartphones.
It would be interesting to see if the commitment to provide 3 years of Android OS and 4 years of security updates is extended across all chipset makers including MediaTek.
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