If you’ve ever bought a low cost Chinese smartphone or tablet, you must know you can’t really expect firmware updates, especially with a different Android version. For example, if you’ve purchased an Android 4.1 phone or tablet a couple of years ago, more likely than not, it’s still stuck to the same version. Intel intends to change all that by launching the Intel Reference Design Program for Android.
This is the way it all works:
- Manufacturers can choose a set of pre-qualified components to build their Android device.
- Intel will provide a single Android image that works with the drivers to support all components.
- Intel will take care of GMS (Google Mobile Service), and CTS (pre-)certification for their customers.
- Intel has committed to provide updates within 2 weeks of an AOSP update, for 2-year post-device launch.
So if you buy a new tablet part of Intel Reference Design Program for Android, you won’t have to worry about firmware upgrades, and you should get an image based on the latest AOSP release on your device within 2 weeks of a release.
Usually “reference design” refers to a single hardware design that manufacturers can copy, but in this case, I understand Intel solution will allow for more flexibility in the design, as they’ll support several touchscreen panels, displays, sensors, etc…, and it will be up to the OEM/ODM to select the ones they want in their design.
Details of the program do not seem to be available online, and they’ll probably need to find a way to indicate which Intel tablets are compliant with the program, so that consumers know which devices are actually supported.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.