How to fix Flagship Android Phones Might Get More Practical.
Until recently, if you wanted to shop for an Android phone that might get OS and security updates for any reasonable amount of your time , you had to shop for Google’s own Pixel phones.
It didn’t matter what proportion money you spent on your device—Google would announce a replacement version of Android, then you’d wait, and wait, and perhaps never see the upgrade in the least . there have been tons of parties you’ll blame: manufacturers that take advantage of hardware, not software; carriers dragging their feet and charging fees; and chip makers, who were similarly loathe to spend time and money on upgrading when there have been new Systems on a Chip (SoC) to sell.
Knowing this, or experiencing it yourself, makes an Android phone less appealing to repair . Maybe you’ll swap out the battery or screen, or maybe fix some water damage. But Android phones don’t hold their value, because their software goes out of date in only a few years, which makes them less valuable, and so on. It’s a nasty cycle for owners, for e-waste, for everyone .
So it’s great to ascertain that Qualcomm, the maker of most every flagship Android phone’s core chip, has announced, with Google, three years of OS updates and 4 years of security updates. Assuming they keep to their word, a phone you pay tons of cash for today are going to be eligible for 3 annual OS updates, and may stay awake so far with security patches for four years. Companies could previously compute their own agreements with Qualcomm to update their phones, as acknowledged by the Android Police blog, but now it’s a broad offering. It’s not at the Apple level of 5 years of OS updates and 7 years of security for iPhones, but it’s an enormous breakthrough .
While the announcement applies initially to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC, a 5G-sporting chip due inside flagships just like the upcoming OnePlus 9, Qualcomm PR told Ars Technica that the agreement will apply to all or any of Qualcomm’s future chips, including lower-tier models. Which is good , because manufacturing a “cheap” phone takes almost an equivalent energy and raw, rare materials as manufacturing a “flagship.”
Don’t worry, there’s still many work to be wiped out making Android phones less disposable. Qualcomm, despite its ambitions, doesn’t power every notable Android smartphone. Samsung makes its own Exynos, Huawei has HiSilicon, and MediaTek powers many budget-minded devices. And while Google and Qualcomm will provide the core architecture updates needed to upgrade a phone to subsequent OS, the manufacturer of the phone has got to cover the remainder of the space to a full upgrade. Google’s Project Treble and Project Mainline should have reduced the quantity of lift needed for phone makers to upgrade their devices. Certainly, most Android phone makers have nowhere to travel but up.
In the end, this could mean one less multi-party complication responsible for Android phones not getting updates. you’ll now more freely blame the manufacturers themselves for putting out a tool they don’t support for any reasonable amount of your time . And you’ll support those phone makers who support responsible devices together with your purchases, and keep your Androids alive even longer by fixing them.