Intel Reference Design Program for Android Promises Devices with Firmware Updates Tracking AOSP for 2 Years

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.

Intel_Reference_Design_for_AndroidYes, Intel has provided reference designs in the past, but this program goes further, especially with regards to Android support, and firmware updates.

This is the way it all works:

  1. Manufacturers can choose a set of pre-qualified components to build their Android device.
  2. Intel will provide a single Android image that works with the drivers to support all components.
  3. Intel will take care of GMS (Google Mobile Service), and CTS (pre-)certification for their customers.
  4. 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.

Via Liliputing

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8 Comments
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onebir
onebir
6 years ago

“Intel has committed to provide updates within 2 weeks of an AOSP update, for 2-year post-*device* launch.”

This is Intel’s device? So if a tablet launches 3 months after a chip’s released, and you buy it 6m later, you get support for 15m? Seems hardly worth it…

onebir
onebir
6 years ago

Under the Intel system, you’d probably have two stuck on 4.2.1 😉

Marius Cirsta
6 years ago

@onebir Not quite true. I’ve bought a tablet for my dad, Asus Phonepad 7 which runs on an older Atom ( the Z types ) and it received and update from 4.2 or 4.3 to 4.4. Besides if it has Intel hardware it’s much easier to upgrade and maybe even some DYI could work, especially with the newer Atoms with open source Intel graphics. I imagine there would be some drivers missing or something but there’s Android on x86 images out there and it just might work without too much effort. With ARM though you’re in for some nasty surprises… Read more »

Sander
Sander
6 years ago

I’m wondering: who provides the firmware upgrade to the Android itself … the device manufactuer or Intel? Because if still the manufacter has to do that, I won’t hold my breath.

BTW: It’s not only the “low cost Chinese smartphone or tablet” manufacterers that are horrible in (not) providing firmware updates, but also mainstream brands like Samsung and HTC. The German C’t had an excellent article on this two months ago. Only Nexus-devices were uptodate and kept receiving updates.

Sander
Sander
6 years ago

FWIW: The article “Schneckentempo” (meaning: “snail speed”, or “crawl”) on benchmarking manufacterers on their Android behaviour is on http://www.heise.de/ct/heft/2014-15-Android-Smartphones-und-Tablets-im-Update-Check-2242374.html. Alas it’s behind a paywall.

First lines of the article:

Achim Barczok, Alexander Spier

Schneckentempo

Android-Smartphones und -Tablets im Update-Check

Die schlechte Update-Versorgung bleibt bei Android der größte Schwachpunkt. Der c’t-Update-Check 2014 zeigt, welche Hersteller sich beim Aktualisieren ihrer Geräte am meisten Mühe geben – und bei welchen man gar nicht erst mit Updates rechnen sollte.

Someone from the other side
Someone from the other side
6 years ago

I had been wondering for a while why Intel wasn’t pushing that very strategy aggressively. THIS is how they win over the enthusiast world…

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