Android 7.0, Nougat, is currently rolling out to Nexus devices and will soon start being available to several high-end devices released within the last one year. One of the companies that has already confirmed which devices it would be releasing the latest Android update to is Sony. Last week, Sony revealed that only 9 Xperia smartphones would be making the jump to Android 7.0.
This was not that surprising given that most Android device makers concentrate on issuing software updates to their most recent devices and not all the devices they make. What was surprising, though, was the exclusion of a popular device that was even included in the Android Nougat preview tests, the Xperia Z3.
Sony Mobile has now come out to explain why the 2-year-old smartphone won’t be seeing Android Nougat, at least on an official basis.
As I had tried to explain at length earlier on, the Xperia Z3 not getting Android 7.0 has everything to do with its hardware. Its Snapdragon 801 processor and the accompanying Adreno 330 GPU to be specific. Part of the requirements from Google for devices to be able to run Android 7.0 include support for the new gaming API, Vulkan. So a device must have a graphics processor that can support either Vulkan or OpenGL ES 3.1. The Xperia Z3 and other devices that shipped with either the Snapdragon 800 or the Snapdragon 801 only support OpenGL ES 3.0.
[*for those not in the know, OpenGL is, in a nutshell, the API used for rendering 2D/3D graphics. It is what works in the background to render beautiful games like Asphalt 8 properly on your smartphone.]
So, there you have it, it’s not Sony’s fault, really. There is only so much that the company can do given the old hardware it has to work with and the demands of the new version of Android from Google.