Why Nougat Won’t Arrive on Devices Powered by Snapdragon 800/801

September 6, 2016, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

It’s been a week since some of the Nexus devices started riding the new Nougat ride. Interestingly, only a few among the long-range Nexus list of devices were provided with the latest version of Android N.

As it appears, this should be the very case for not just Nexus devices, but for almost all Android. Not all Android devices will be receiving the Android N OS, and the omitted list includes devices that are over two years old, including the Nexus 5 and Sony Z3 devices. Interestingly, the latter did have the Android 7.0 developer program running, but only until the fourth stage following which the support was dropped.

The reason for this omission is that Android 7.0 won’t be available on devices that are run by the Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 801 chipsets manufactured by Qualcomm. This would mean that a major chunk of persons who brought flagships in between 2013 and late 2014 would be missing out on the Android N update.



But who is to blame? Apparently, it appears that failure of the chipset provider to provide graphical update for the SoC now stands as the blockage for the devices powered by the chipsets in passing the Google Compatibility Test Suite (CTS).

Qualcomm in its statement has said that the update provided for its chipsets are set in accordance with customers, carrier and OEM interactions. But the company hasn’t denied the failure of a GPU update for the 800/801 chipsets either, which is also intriguing considering that it powers some of the major flagships of 2013.

One reason for this lack of support is said to be the updated API used in Android 7.0 Nougat, the Vulkan API. The inclusion of the API is why Qualcomm is showing hesitance in providing the GPU driver update for the 800/801 chipset, a necessity for the OEMS in providing the Android 7.0 update for its devices.

This is just one reason that has surfaced, and one which has not been confirmed until now. As with manufacturers, the reason given out is that the devices are old for an Android 7 update. If this gets true, the One Plus X and ZTE Axon of 2015 should be receiving the Android N update. These are devices that run the 800/801 class chipset. We will have to wait to see if these devices get an update of Android’s latest version to confirm whether Vulkan API is the real hurdle.

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