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Android 7.0 and the Snapdragon 800 — a conundrum

Many of us are sad that the Nexus 5 isn't getting any official update to Android 7.0. Especially when we watched and saw Google continue to build device trees in the code for Hammerhead — that means someone, somewhere, was working on it. And when Sony announced which phones were going to receive an update to Android 7.0, many noticed that the Xperia Z3 wasn't on the list. While the idea that phones from 2014 not getting updated late in 2016 isn't particularly surprising, the fact that the Z3 was part of Sony's Android Concept Initiative — a fancy name for an Android 7.0 Beta program — but didn't make the cut and that Google was working on Nougat for the Nexus 5 then just suddenly stopped was.

The situation has the internet asking the obvious question — why? The answer is that the Z3 and Nexus 5 actually can't officially run Android 7.0, even though could as a beta. Read on. It will all make sense.

Android platform updates aren't as important to consumers as we make them out to be. Here at Android Central we get excited about anything new and shiny, we tell you as soon as we can (often after you already know because leaks happen) and then we all get excited together. The reality is that Google Play Services and monthly patches will let you do everything you do on your phone for a long time, and by the time a must-have app comes out that requires the next version of Android you'll probably have a new phone or the update.

We can still want it, but this is just how things go until someone Google steps forward and changes it. Then you'll hear talk about Google's iron fist and EU complaints and God knows what else. The status quo sucks, but it still is the status quo.

Android 7.0 has no official support for the Snapdragon 800.

For the Android 7.0 update, in particular, we need to look no further than the requirements and the hardware of the Xperia Z3 or Nexus 5 (and plenty of other phones) for a likely answer about why certain phones aren't able to be updated. We can't confirm this using official statements or documents or a fancy slide, but we're sure enough to talk about it and why it worked out the way it did.

Android 7.0 in AOSP has removed support for the MSM8974 chipset. The Snapdragon 800 SoC uses this chip along with the Adreno 330 GPU. This means phones (and tablets — hello, Nexus 7) using the Snapdragon 800 are not supported. But this doesn't explain why the Z3 was able to run the beta, and run it well. For that, Google Play compatibility comes into the picture.

Nobody from any of the companies involved is talking about these issues, and requests for an official statement haven't been returned, but the internet has some clues about it all. Here we see Ola Olsson, of Sony Mobile Communications, talk a bit about it in a comment on Google+.

Yeah, this is sad but we don't want to play the blame game which means that we can't say more about the technical limitations. Even if we really wanted to give you N on the z3(c), we wouldn't [have] been able to do it. Not if we wanted to pass the Google CTS.

You'll find similar responses elsewhere, and this is Sony not throwing anyone under the bus and handling things in a professional, corporate way. The important thing there is the mention of Google CTS.

Google CTS is the Compatibility Testing Suite used to make sure a device can be certified to use Google Play. Android is a free application platform that anyone can take and use in any way it likes, but Google Play is not. It's a true for-profit commercial venture and Google has full and complete control over everything associated with it.

The actual rules and requirements needed for Android 7.0 CTS compliance are a bit of a mystery — either partners can't talk about it or don't want to talk about it — but we know the gist of it. Your product has to be able to run any app targeted for your platform version. That means if you're using Android 7.0, you need to support any app designed for Android Nougat. You can check out the Android 6.0.1 CTS documentation if you're curious. The Android 7.0 CTS documentation should live in the same place once it's been updated.

Snapdragon 800

During the beta testing for Android N — just after the release of version four — developers were told that Android N APIs were finalized and they could start targeting apps for them in Google Play. One of the things Android N does for developers is let them use the Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.1 APIs with both the SDK and the NDK. For that, though, you need hardware support. The Snapdragon 800 does not offer hardware support for either, and apps not designed to fall back to an older version of OpenGL would not run.

Now, as mentioned, we don't have access to the latest Android CTS documents. For Android 6.0.1, it said that hardware had to support OpenGL ES 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 or 3.1. I've been told that was amended to say "support OpenGL ES 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and either 3.1 or Vulkan," but Google has said nothing officially. But this certainly explains why support for the Snapdragon 800 was removed and phones like the Nexus 5 and the Z3 aren't going to see an official update, and I'm confident that this is the reason.

Android is open, but Google Play is not; there are rules involved.

This is a long, convoluted and confusing subject — much like Android updates in general. In the end, we know two things: the Sony Xperia Z3 will not be updated to Android 7.0 because it would not pass the CTS for technical reasons, and the Snapdragon 800 SoC does not offer OpenGL ES 3.1 support. The fact that no phone using the Snapdragon 800 or 801 (the 801 also uses the Adreno 330 GPU) has been announced as getting an update is a bit telling, too.

Let's be honest — this sucks. As enthusiasts, we want to get an update even if it doesn't change anything. The practical view that platform updates aren't as important as we make them out to be is fine, and I do think it's true, but that doesn't satisfy the inner geek. But it's also inevitable. Android has to advance and support new (and better) technologies like Vulkan. When these require hardware support, there has to be a cutoff. Maybe this time, the cutoff could have been avoided — the General Mobile 4G, an Android One device that uses the Snapdragon 410 and is in every way weaker on the hardware front than any phone running the Snapdragon 800 — already has Android Nougat and this throws a huge wrench into even the most plausible theory.

Is Google breaking its own rules here in regard to the CTS? Or is everything we have heard and think we know all bullshit and it really is some sinister plot to make us angry? (I'm fairly certain Google is breaking its own rules because it can, but I'm just as certain that everything is bullshit, so I still have no idea.)

The bottom line is that if you have a phone like the Xperia Z3, or the Nexus 5 or the Galaxy S5 and really want Android 7.0 Nougat, you'll probably have to get it from the fine group building custom software for the phones on XDA.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

212 Comments
  • Interesting, the likes of OnePlus X shouldn't dare dream then. But if the Nougat ROM can be ported to the original Nexus 5 through developers on XDA, why can't they really support it? RIP Z3 the odds were against you all the way through.
  • The XDA devs/CyanogenMod/Others can reverse the changes that removed support and build a ROM that works fairly well from scratch. Google (or Sony, or OnePlus) won't do that. To me, the real question is how the Android One phone is getting something that the Nexus 5 (or Z3, or OPx, or M8 or etc. etc. ) isn't, even though they would be better at doing it.
  • But the Z3 was on the developer's program for months now and it was working fairly well
  • It never got a Sony version of beta 4 or beta 5. Those builds removed support for the chipset. I've heard people fault Sony for not saying exactly what was going on, but I honestly think the folks running the Sony Android Concept program were doing what they could do to make the z3 compliant versus saying it was unsupported and giving up. Those guys seem like real enthusiasts and people who want to give you what you are asking for.
  • Jerry is it true the V10 might get Android an very very soon? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I haven't heard anything credible about that. My guess? LG will pump out a basic update for one unlocked model and leave it at that for a few months. It's how they did Marshmallow on the V10. The guys at LG are proud of the V10 and the unique experience it offers for creating media. Awesome camera, microphone, audio hardware and screen all in one package. They do not want to mess things up for the people who bought it. It's not their mainstream device, and it gets treated differently that the G4 did. Samsung introduced the Note series the same way. A unique device that had special attention paid to specific features, even if that meant it lagged behind on the platform version. People loved it, and it worked. LG knows how to look at things Samsung does, try to improve them and then do it themselves.
  • It never got DP5, it was stuck on DP4. http://www.xda-developers.com/xda-external-link/sony-pushes-android-n-de...
  • I was close. :P Same reasoning — Google started stripping support out around that time.
  • DP4 on the Z3 had lots of reboots and WiFi issues. DP3 was the most stable version.
  • Great article Jerry. This is what's interesting with the mobile Android Market.. I'm coming from Windows desktop (and a minimal mobile environment) where the life cycle of OS are what appears to be roughly 4 times longer than the Android mobile life cycle... Wow. Google appears to deprecate things (mobile OS backward compatibility) rather fast. This may be a 'Windows' or Microsoft shinning moment compared to Google. But I really don't know. I've got a feeling that the mobile environment in general doesnt have a long life cycle.??? Again, thanks for the article.
  • It isn't google but OEMs fault. They are the ones responsible for that. Even though new versions of android come quite often, their requirements don't change that often.
  • How can you blame OEMS when historically nexus devices didn't get that much more support than them?
  • Historically, smartphone have been depreciated quickly compared to MS Windows because of two reasons. One, the Android OS was relatively new... scratch that, it was just out of beta from Google and OEMs were bringing it right back into beta by adding their own software to it. No one had really worked with Android, so there was a lot of bad code. MS Windows has been maturing for decades. Even iOS was around before the iPhone, maturing for years in the iPod. Two, smartphone hardware was weak. 128 mb ram and single core 500 MHz processors could never keep up with anything short of bare bones basic software like texts, talk, and low quality video. Again, Intel Core processors are decades ahead of even today's best mobile processors. OEMs, developers, and manufacturers have years of experience building long lasting Windows PCs, with Android they are catching up fast (hence depreciation) but still have a ways to go.
  • Very well put. You hit the nail on the head.
  • This. My iPhone 4 got iOS updates for years even though some features such as screen mirroring were missing. I moved to Nexus 5 thinking it would get a similar level of support from Google. I don't care if it doesn't support VR goggles or the latest games but would have liked the update just for the dual window support.
  • Apple also makes the chips hence they have all the drivers and everything. This is what happens when Qualcomm does not want to support an older chip any longer.
  • For years apple didn't "make the chips" Quotes because they used standard ARM IP for the cores. The so called off the shelf ARM core. For the GPU they are using PowerVR designs. Apple just isn't purchasing their IP and writing all the code and doing all the he bring up and support on their own. They aren't creating newer lower level APIs like metal for the hardware on their own. This difference is, apple cares and spends the money, time and engineering to make it happen. Google doesn't.
  • Planned obsolescence
  • Or, you know, just obsolescence.
  • This is answered in the article. If a phone doesn't have all the requisites for running the latest version of Android, it won't get to use Google services.
  • What about snapdragon 801? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It won't run 7.0 either
  • If the CTS requirements really say what I was told they say (I am positive they do, at least for now) the Snapdragon 801 does not meet the requirements to use Google Play. I'm not sure if the MSM8973v3 has direct AOSP support or if it was removed. Will have to look and see.
  • This is really odd that they would drop support for what were by far the most popular processors of their period so soon. I would not expect this until next year or the year after. Could it be that Qualcomm is playing shenanigans and being lazy?
  • It's not odd, the TI OMAP processor was dropped in Android 5.0 which left the Galaxy Nexus out of being upgraded.
  • But ti had also completely stopped making processors at that point. It was expected that support would be killed quickly. Qualcomm is massive by comparison and are not going anywhere anytime soon. Those are flagship phones with the flagship chipsets or their day that are being killed off quickly.
  • I know the internet said Ti quit making OMAP SoCs, (we probably said it, too) but that's 100% incorrect. You can buy OMAP 7x, 8x, 9x, 10x and L series chips today. They stopped custom fabbing for smartphone and tablet makers. I just bought a Gumstix Poblano with a TiAM4378 on board, so their pure ARM microprocessors are still in production, too.
  • Hmm didn't know that
  • Which is Google BS, since same OMAP SOC was shipped on Google Glass with L way later then the supposedly lack of support was announced.
  • So next year we'll be reading the same article about the Nexus 6 and the 805 I presume? Even though it has a 2.7 Ghz processor and 3 GB ram which should be a device that could be supported for 4 years. Especially with Android being minimized to run buttery smooth on low end devices as well as top tier, their words.
  • Basically. We will have to go back to rooting in order to keep up. Or buy a new phone, but I am not sure if anyone will make another phone with the N6's dimensions. So many people bitched about the size. I really like it and I am not sure that I want to go down to a 5.5" phone after this.
  • They'll probably claim that the processor will need to be 64-bit.
  • It was mentioned in the article.
  • Ok. I still have a Nexus 5 in the box. Collecting dust. Will people stop whining about it not getting support? And guess what next year Android 8.0 won't support the Nexus 6. Deal with it.
  • It is real strange how people expect these companies to keep their phones updated into infinity.
  • How is it strange when we have one company or 1.5 that does just that? I don't think I need to name them. I think caring about updates is more of a tech nerd thing and/or a thing for people who come/came from the other platforms where their phones got updates for a good while. I just want Nougat for what it brings pretty much, emojis included. If I get a phone that gets 8.0, cool. If not, there's always the next. lol.
  • I mean, we do have a company that updates their phones seemingly into infinity, but I think it is a valid question to ask if they should given how the updates sometimes make the phones unusable.
  • Bingo. Yeah I've watched that failure first hand. It's not pretty, and the customers reaction was to blame me, lol.
  • This must be how you count years --> 1, 2, 3, infinity
  • Lol. It's fair though. A certain phone out there has 4(!) updates, and will be out of them soon. That's 4 years of updates though. whoa.
  • No, I just have reasonable expectations for how long a phone will be updated. Not hard to understand really, or shouldn't be.
  • But the phone still works as well or better than when you bought it.
  • It's really strange how companies arbitrarily decide to only support something with software updates for less than two years in most cases.
  • 2 years isn't infinity, 2.5+ sure I guess Posted via Android Central App
  • How strange when smartphones are almost as powerful as PC's and people are told their devices won't make the cut for an OS upgrade when more than likely it can. Especially when Google is minimizing Android to run smooth and fast and low end devices. MS offered me free a WIN 10 upgrade on my 2010 HP pc with win 7, for example.
  • Windows 10 runs flawless on my atom tablet with 2GB of ram! Yet my nexus 5 can't run a incremental OS! Either way gave the nexus to my brothers wife and bought a S7, in the end the diference between updates wont be that big, they just come later.
  • It's because iPhone 5, which was released in 2012, is still getting iOS 10 update 4 years later.
  • I'm not sure people are whining as much as they're frustrated that a device that's capable of running N is going to be prevented from doing so. I actually still use my Nexus 5 daily as a secondary phone.
  • I'm curious. Why would one use more than one phone (other than a company issued phone)?
  • I use two phones because there are features that some might have that others don't. for example, my HTC 10 is my daily driver and the audio quality and SD card support is something my Nexus 6P doesn't have. I listen to podcasts and music at work and my HTC 10 is better for that for me. My Nexus 6P is cool cause it will always(mostly) be updated first and I can see what new with Android plus I enjoy the bigger screen and speakers for media watching at home when I'm relaxing. ATM..I lent my 6P to my friend for the past few months so I haven't kept up with the 7.0 release but I can't wait to use it when I get it back.
  • Lets say you have a Note 5 that you use Monday thru Friday . The big screen makes work-life easier. On Saturday, you are golfing. A N5 will fit right in your pocket. The Note 5? Not so much. :-)
  • Leave goddamn work phone shut off somewhere on the weekends. (Pray it won't turn on come Monday morning) Go outside and play golf. I like the way you think.
  • But that is just the way it is, just because a phone CAN run an update doesn't mean it will be updated. Welcome to Android. This is not new and it happens all the time, getting frustrated about it is pointless, as is whining. If someone cares that much about the update they will root and rom, it is dead simple to do on Nexus phones.
  • I get what you're saying, my point is simply that the "salt in the wound here" is that they were building device trees in the code for the N5 and even released the beta for the Sony. People were clearly aware that the intentions were seemingly to release Nougat for these devices (which also implies their capability). That is the frustration. Had none of that happened, there'd be a lot less be surprised or saying anything.
  • Me too. I'll be saying the same thing next year in regards to my Nexus 6.
  • Let's talk about it not collecting dust in my house...
  • This!! a thousand times.
  • You are correct Jerry, it's nothing short of BS.
  • That isn't what he said. He said it sucks, but is inevitable. That is not BS, that is just the way of things.
  • "'... Im just as certain that everything is bullshit, so I still have no idea.)"
  • Reading comprehension is a dying art.
  • N doesn't seem to add much value over M. So I couldn't care less about it. The N5 still runs like a champ. As long as it gets security updates I'm content.
  • Lol way to make yourself feel better, keep it up
  • I'm serious. It's not that critical for me to have it. It not that much of an update. Should've been a 6.1,not 7.
  • How long till they stop doing security patches on devices they stop updating is what I'm thinking is important.
  • Six weeks. Nexus devices get three years of security updates and the Nexus 5 was released in October 2013, so it gets security updates for about six more weeks.
  • Let's hope that rule changes. Or let's really hope the 2016 nexus are worth while this time around
  • Runs fine on the 805. You can send the official build to the N6 whenever you get a chance, Google.
  • +1
  • My guess is for Moto even though both the Moto Maxx (Droid Turbo in the US) and the Nexus 6 have the same hardware, the Nexus gets the support and the Maxx doesn't. They just want people to move on up and buy new hardware. Simple.
  • I was curious about the application that is in the image, so a quick Google Image search helped me determine it's an application called CPU-Z in case anyone else is interested. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cpuid.cpu_z)
  • In other words... The cutoff with phones using the SD800/801 has been artificially created so Google and other OEMs can sell new phones.
  • No. The cutoff was needed so Android applications can be better and so that DayDream can be a real thing. If you don't find a way to force people building phones to put better hardware inside them, the messy situation we have now where some phones are good doing XXX but others suck WHY GOOGLE U FIXIT? will continue forever. If we want to question it — are we sure the 800 can't use today's graphics APIs? Did anyone actually try it? Does anyone care, not about phones 2-3 years old not being updated, but phones are being sold in 2016 that won't be updated because these things were not done? I can't get those answers. None of us can. But we still need to ask so these companies (Google included) know that we are paying attention.
  • Much of the internet is laying this on Qualcomm, stating that they won't create or provide updated drivers that support the Open GL standards. But you know what they say about the internet.
  • Google doesn't need the hardware to support the newer standards but to just allow backwards compatibility with Android 7.0 minus some features.
  • +1. Just like Apple have been doing for years.
  • If it's minus features than what's the point then? Posted via Android Central App
  • I think he should have said some of the features.
  • Ummmm... To have access to other the new features of the OS.
  • Yes I agree... In the desktop environment, if you didn't have the latest graphics card you couldn't play the latest games... But you had the stability / security fixes that helped you to stay current with threats etc. with that next upgrade of the OS. So you won some, lost some. Do you think the phones will EVER be compartmentalized like the personal pc?
  • But what about the 99% of people who don't care about DayDream. I mean, does any serious person actually think that a significant number of people will ever willingly strap phones to their faces? I'm as tech savvy as anyone, and a gamer, and I never want to strap a phone to my face.
  • You can split a platform. Odd version numbers for one "class" of a phone, even number builds for another. That's certainly a viable solution, and I'll be honest — from rumors I've heard (nothing worth writing about yet) with Android O it almost has to happen. But this isn't a great solution. It will cause confusion and force app developers to either maintain two versions of apps or target the lowest class of phones. Then again, the whole mobile landscape — yes, Apple included — is such a nightmare that nothing would surprise me.
  • Nobody wants to support two different versions. Not happening. I think Microsoft is making the right move... To write once, run on all environments. Google will have to do the same.
  • I "strap a phone" to my face almost daily and I love it. I'll keep doing it until I can afford an HTC Vive (and then I'll still look like I have a phone strapped to my face). Everyone that I've let try my Gear VR has immediately started shopping for one of their own. Companies will ignore VR at their own peril.
  • It would seems that all apps exist on the Play Store, regardless of the version of Android the client is running. I've seen plenty of apps that stated my BLU device is not compatible with that app, where my N5 could download it just fine - same version of Android. So, to enforce this, there's likely an attribute on my BLU (probably in build.prop) that didn't pass a check on the Play Store keeping me from being able to download that app. I don't see why "applications can be better" if Google denies an entire OS update to a device, just because that device wouldn't meet the hardware requirements for /some/ applications/uses. Heck, instead of apps that need Vulkan support (or whatever) to check Android version, add an attribute "supportsVulkan" that the Play Store would check against for compatibility with an app.
    I don't think the N5 (or S800/801 devices in general) is an example of Google "find[ing] a way to force people building phones to put better hardware inside them;" it's plenty good hardware, it's just reaching its 3rd birthday. in regards to Google's decision to not update the N5, it's that they found it worth abandoning rather than continue supporting, even though it can handle Nougat (and it'll live on in XDA - heck, I saw the N4 got an AOSP release of N today). Hey, its a free country, and Google can decide to nix a device if they please. And, I'm allowed to not like that decision.
    But you raise an interesting question about new devices that don't make the cut. Just out of curiosity, are there any new devices that don't make the cut? None come to mind, but I don't know allthethings.jpg. They mention the SD410 does make the cut, which is over a year old, and a pretty budget friendly chipset.
  • We need to move away from declaring certain features or hardware be present to support certain apps. That's the real story of Android fragmentation — brand new phones are sold that can't use brand new apps, while last year's high-end phones are installing them. That's just not a good way to move your app platform forward, and Google wants to move Google play forward. Forcing a higher minimum requirement for a new version of the operating system is a shit solution, but it happens. Google could work around the issue by building one giant image that can install on all Nexus phones, provide platform support for features that exist on each, deny it for those models without the needed hardware, then slap the words Android 7.0 on it all. This is what Microsoft and Apple do, and it keeps customers happier. Very few complain that XXX feature of the new OS doesn;t work on last year's model (Siri is a great example, or split screen) because they still feel as if they are supported well. Of course, this leaves OEM's out of the picture. And remember — this is only for phones that want to use Google Play. Android 7 should be usable on the Nexus One or the original Motorola Droid if someone wants to take the time to build a working kernel and make some changes to the source. Google doesn't seem to care about anything that isn't Google Play ready. And they shouldn't. Plenty of phones using the 800/801 are still being sold as brand new by ASUS, Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, and almost everyone else. Some are older models (Galaxy S4 can still be bought as brand new from Samsung for use on Straight Talk) others are phones we don;t care about because we don't see them in the west. Maybe these phones aren't "deserving" (I hate that term) of a platform version update, maybe they are. But they aren't going to get them, and chances are no maintenance updates will happen for them either. Don't get me started on the 410 and the Android One phone. I have no idea how well it runs Android 7, and I don't have access to one. But I can fooking promise you that the Z3 or Nexus 5 or HTC M8 or OnePlus X or any other phone using the 800 chipset runs it better. I have no idea how it can be compliant with CTS if the 800 isn't, and nobody is ever going to tell me. That is total and complete bullshit.
  • That's interesting that you can still buy a new Galaxy S4. I'm one of those still driving a 3+ year old GS4 (i337) on 5.0.1. I don't trade phones yearly, or even every other year. I haven't had a security update since November 1, 2015. Where do phones used by MVNOs get their security updates (like the above mentioned GS4 on StraightTalk)? I am, however, currently in the market to replace my old GS4 and am patiently waiting on the Nexus Marlin to appear. I'm tired of Android fragmentation. No current Android, including the Note7 excite me (not a fan of the edge display). I hope the Nexus Marlin brings a killer game to the table. Else I may consider the iPhone7+ (Gasp. I never thought I'd consider that option). But my wife's 3+ year old iPhone 5 still gets updates while my 3+ year old GS4 is dead to the update world.
  • You are not making any sense... Google allowing phones that are just three years old to run Android 7.0 isn't stopping DayDream or OEMs from putting out better phones which they do with each new phone. You must know only a minority of apps actually need or benefit from Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.1 support... Apple provides new OS updates (minus some features) much longer with no problems. Personally, I don't care as my Nexus 5 is just a secondary phone but I do use it which will live on with custom ROMs but probably not ones Android based.
  • So you're saying that it's fine for a phone to not be able to support new features as long as it has the words Android 7 in the settings. Some people and some companies feel that way. Others do not. Google falls into the latter. I have no voice about which way is better. And I don't think either way is right or wrong. I just know how it is, and that some don't like it.
  • I think this happens already Jerry. My Moto E is running lollipop, but doesn't support screen casting or MHL like other phones also running lollipop.
  • But that's motorola taking that out, not Google. Posted via Android Central App
  • Cast support and MHL were never required. Chances are the hardware in the E would support them if Moto wanted to spend the money to use them, but they didn't have to. I think today's Google might have made them required features, though. Things have changed and they seem more determined to do whatever is needed to cut back on the whole "fragmentation" issue. Both the real fragmentation and the perceived fragmentation.
  • What?
  • Don't act so oblivious.
  • Could be or they may be trying to push Vulkan.
  • I'll probably regret saying this, but I'm thinking Vulkan will be a requirement for DayDream and OpenGL ES 3.2 for the entire UI in Android O. I hope I am wrong.
  • The Nexus 9 tablet got N, but it does not support Vulkan.
  • It supports OpenGL ES 3.1 (and 3.2 I think) which meets the requirements now. I think things are going to change for the next version (and compound this problem even further)
  • I think a lot of people in the comment section are missing the bigger picture here. I think it's easy to point fingers at Google or other OEMs. But let's not forget that it's up to Qualcomm to provide updated graphics drivers for these older chipsets for them to be able to run Vulcan and OpenGL ES 3.1 That's a time and money investment that Qualcomm probably doesn't see a big return on...
  • Exactly, the ROI is going to be extremely low as people upgrade to newer devices running the 808, 810 or 820 processors. Remember the TI OMAP processor, support for that was dropped in Android 5.0 simply because the ROI for TI to create drivers would be non existent.
  • If the phone that people currently have is working fine, why would they be forced to buy a new device?
  • No one is FORCED to upgrade to a new phone, is Google holding a gun to your head and telling you that you MUST upgrade?
  • Well ending security updates for hardware (aka Nexus 5) is three years old which will happen in what? Six months maybe? Does kinda force people to move on to a newer phone than. Flashing a custom ROM is not for must people...
  • Seeing the Nexus 10 get still security updates that apply to it makes me think it will be a bit longer than six months. But carry on.
  • Security updates are more important than major OS releases now anyway. Posted via Android Central App
  • Great article Jerry, very informative... Thanks for the information
  • Will a oneplus One running Cyanogen OS get the update to Nougat? Posted via the Android Central App
  • If CyanogenOS has to comply to Google CTS to have access to the Play Store then no. If they don't include Google Play out of the box, and allow you to sideload it manually then I don't see why you couldn't. You might face problems with Vulkan/OpenGL 3.1-only games later on though.
  • In the end, being a Nexus, the Nexus 5 will get Nougat from XDA/CyanogenMod/Other. My Nexus 4 is running CM13 and I'd be gob-smacked if Nougat didn't get ported for it. I don't have a Nexus 5 personally but the phone is legendary and will get Nougat by-hook-or-by-crook. Just a question of time really.
  • Absolutely, hell even the Galaxy Nexus is getting CM13 builds.
  • And I'm flashing the latest GNex CM13 builds as I type this on my two Galaxy Nexus. My HP TouchPad is running Marshmallow 6.0.1 as well and I might see Nougat for that maybe. The Dev/ROM community is amazing and full props to them. So Nexus 5 doesn't get "official" Android 7? So what.
  • Nexus 5 will get a Nougat build through Cyanogenmod - I can absolutely guarantee that.
  • Good read. Thanks!
  • What about the snapdragon 617
  • The 617 has an Adreno 405 and should be fully supported.
  • So my new honor 5x has a chance at nougat and emui5 ??? Maybe Posted via the honor 5x or my Amazon 5th gen with Google services sidloaded
  • N bn
  • It's odd to me that this continues to be a thing. It's never been a thing with the windows, Macintosh, and various *nix OSes. I know that mobile OSes are locked down like a Swiss vault, so maybe that affects it, but it's odd to me that I can just install windows on any piece of crap I have lying around and it'll work pretty well (yes there are minimum hardware specs but they're still pretty low)
  • I came to post a similar comment, I really like android but this has always been the Achilles heel. I mean, you can install Windows 10 on a 10 year old Pentium 'freakin' D PC (runs crappy, but hey)
  • I think the biggest reason is that windows could do it like mobile phones (and windows mobile does like Android) but don't is that they never did for businesses, and if they tried to there would be a huge backlash (they tried to have Skylake processors only work on Windows 10... That decision didn't last long). Meanwhile, apple and Google started their new paradigm, so there's nothing to point to and say "but they did it differently"
  • People seem to overlook that until very recently OS updates on PCs and Macs were not free, outside of security updates.
  • That is true, and something I didn't think about, although Apple has been doing that for a while. But they have a small hardware bubble. So that is a good point. But most computer OSes didn't have tons and tons of data collecting services built in to sell you ads, which is why they're free.
  • Windows, Macintosh, etc. tend to have high capacity hard drives that can accommodate multiple additional drivers for additional hardware. A phone needs to support all hardware after a factory reset. Very different.
  • Valid point, however that will become invalid soon now that flash storage is finally actually starting to fall in price.
    Also, there really aren't that many different drivers for lots of phones it feels like, because everything is a system on a chip, and those chips are often made by Qualcomm. That takes some of the chaos out of the equation.
  • **** it. Let's all go back to flip phones.
  • Yeah good luck with that, you're gonna need it.
  • I say it again everyone complains and slates Apple (rightly so at times) but when you buy one of their latest handsets your pretty much guaranteed it will be supported with updates for 3 years or more! no android OEM never mind Google themselves via Nexus provide that kinda support. Said elsewhere seen iOS 10 beta on a iPhone 5 the other day and was flawless! and tonight my mums iPhone 4! got the iOS 9.3.5 patch! now that's support. Totally understand how android OEMs can't update as easily but there's no excuse for Google not being able to support Nexus phones for 3 years!
  • Apple also gimps the software running on older phones by removing major features of the latest update in order for that older hardware to work with the latest releases. Android doesn't have the luxury of only being on a couple handsets. It has to run on hundreds (thousands?) of devices. So it's all or nothing for Android. Also, who's to say that Apple doesn't intentionally push features off for a later date, because they know it won't work on handsets that are supposed to get an update still? Apple has the luxury of doing this if they need to.
  • I'm sure it was a typo, but the Nexus 7 isn't equipped with the Snapdragon 800. Nexus 5 was the only Nexus device to use that chip.
  • The GPU is similar. 320/330. But you're right.
  • The Nexus 7 (2013) will not receive the update to Android 7.0.
  • Things were edited (and likely written lol) poorly there. The Nexus 7 GPU isn't CTS compliant, it shares the same feature set as the Adreno 330. The whole SoC is basically a custom/test config based on the 600 without a new fab process and older core configuration. For all intents and purposes, it's like a Snapdragon pre-800. Now you can see why it req