Qualcomm wants to make it easier for phone makers to issue Android updates

Written on 06/30/2024
Taylor Bell

Android updates are getting longer and longer for top, high-end and upper mid-range devices, but it's very difficult for low-mid-range and especially entry-level devices. But Qualcomm wants to do all it can to change that.

Update delivery depends heavily on the manufacturer of the phone's chipset. That company must still actively support the SoC, and most cheaper devices will, naturally, reach the end of their support period much sooner than their more expensive counterparts. Even at higher price points, the frequency of updates is not always adequate. For example, monthly security updates are only offered by a few brands.

This is where Qualcomm comes in. According to Chris Patrick, senior vice president and general manager of handsets at Qualcomm, the company is working to make it easier for OEMs to keep all their phones up to date.

Patrick told us:

It is very complicated for a customer — an OEM — to get security updates, to get Android version updates, and then get it to every end user. It’s actually very expensive and very complicated. One of the things we’ve been working on for the past several years with Google and with the OEMs is to change the structure of inline code — to kind of change the machinery for how we do those updates. You’ll see that, later on this year, we’ll make some announcements about some of those changes we’ve made to facilitate this and help the whole ecosystem keep Android phones closer to up to date.

Patrick said that this has been a key issue for Qualcomm for a while and that the company plans to make an announcement about it.

Unfortunately, there are no further details, so we don't actually know when such an announcement will be made, but considering that Qualcomm is holding its annual Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii this October, we expect it will probably be then.

Of course, this doesn't mean that things will magically change for all devices from the next day onwards, but it does give us hope that updates will reach all devices in a more timely manner.