Notebookcheck

Qualcomm and Google extend Project Treble to four Android OS versions and four years of security updates starting with the Snapdragon 888

Project Treble is now being extended for four years starting with Snapdragon 888-based devices. (Image Source; Qualcomm)
Project Treble is now being extended for four years starting with Snapdragon 888-based devices. (Image Source; Qualcomm)
Qualcomm and Google are now collaborating to extend Project Treble support to offer four Android OS versions and four years of security updates starting with devices powered by the Snapdragon 888. With this move, Qualcomm hopes to give users a more predictable software lifecycle and ensure most of them are on the latest OS release. The onus of actually releasing these updates, however, still rests on OEMs.

Project Treble ambitiously launched back in 2017 with Android 8 Oreo. It aimed to re-architect Android in a way that the Android OS framework is separated from the low-level code created by silicon vendors such as Qualcomm or MediaTek. This essentially allowed OEMs to roll out faster OS updates as they needn't depend on silicon vendors to release chipset code for every major Android release. 

So far, Qualcomm has supported only up to three major Android OS releases and three years of security updates per SoC. Now, starting with devices powered by the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm and Google are pledging to extend that support period to four major Android OS releases and four years of security updates. Qualcomm says this allows for a much more predictable software lifecycle for Snapdragon-based devices resulting in more customers being on the most up to date Android version available.

The success of Project Treble is still up for debate as many manufacturers still don't seem to be motivated enough to offer timely OS updates post-sales. That being said, Project Treble plays a crucial role in at least providing OEMs a framework to lessen rollout times. For instance, Google offers Generic System Images (GSIs) of Android that are compatible with vendor implementations or chipset code made for at least three previous generations of the OS.

Although Qualcomm and Google are now working together to ensure more Snapdragon-based phones stay updated, the ball is still pretty much in the OEMs' court as they would still need to invest quite a lot in testing and distribution of new OS versions. Qualcomm's four-year support window can potentially somewhat narrow the gap between Android and Apple's iOS when it comes to supporting older devices. 

Here's hoping that MediaTek and other SoC vendors also implement a similar support timeline. 

Source(s)

Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 12 > Qualcomm and Google extend Project Treble to four Android OS versions and four years of security updates starting with the Snapdragon 888
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2020-12-16 (Update: 2020-12-16)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.