New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from Feb 14) follows:

NVIDIA has recently updated the 2015 Shield TV to Android 11, marking 7 years of software support for the never-aging streamer. This makes the Shield the best supported Android device ever.

The closest the rest of Android comes is through Samsung’s recent changes that will see the likes of Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Fold 3 receive 5 years of software updates, including 4 major Android OS updates.

One would expect Google, the custodian of Android, to offer better Pixel software support than any other third-party vendor, but the search giant has nothing on NVIDIA in this respect.

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The best owners of the latest Google Pixel 6 phones can get is 4 years of software updates that include 3 major OS updates. If anything, NVIDIA now sits on the same high table with Apple.

One dig iOS users often aim at their Android counterparts is the limited software update support, with a significant number of OEMs only offering 1 or 2 major OS updates for their devices.

However, we all know for a fact that Apple controls just about everything from low-level SoC design to every bit of the software aspects that runs on it.

On the other hand though, with most Android vendors, these chipsets are outsourced from the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek. Unfortunately, these chipmakers often stand in the way of device makers when it comes to writing new software updates.

Parts of the low-level chipset firmware must be updated by the chipmaker before a smartphone vendor can make a new OS update available for the device in question, something Qualcomm and co. are not always willing to do.

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This is what makes NVIDIA’s Shield TV stand out from the rest. Unlike others that rely on Qualcomm, MediaTek and others for their chipsets, the Shield TV runs on an in-house Tegra processor.

Having an in-house chipset means NVIDIA controls every aspect of the low-level design, making it easier to support and update the product without the need for third-party intervention.

As noted, chipmakers must update parts of the chipset framework to support newer versions of an OS, but with full control of this low-level hardware, NVIDIA takes care of these updates instead of relying on some third-party to do it.

Today, Qualcomm’s update commitment guarantees 4 Android OS upgrades, which is what Samsung is now offering. Opting for an in-house silicon freed Nvidia from Qualcomm’s shackles, allowing software support for as long the Tegra SoC can handle.

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro 2019

Granted, especially keeping in mind Apple’s in-house iPhone chipsets that allow for as many updates as possible, there is no reason for Google not to offer longer Pixel software support in future now that Tensor is an in-house chipset.

I wouldn’t say I know much about the entire design process, but Google has pushed the narrative that Tensor is an in-house chipset, so the assumption is that every bit of the chipset’s low-level design is handled in-house.

Being in charge of low-level design means Google will no longer rely on Qualcomm to update parts of the chipset software to make it support a new OS. Instead, Google will make these updates themselves, allowing software support for Tensor-powered Pixel devices for as long as possible.

After all, the chipset already supports standards that could still be in use years from now, among them 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, media encoding like H.264, H.265, VP9, and AV1, meaning there won’t be nothing much outdated years later.

5g featured

With Samsung having stepped up software support to 5 years, it remains to be seen what Google has in store to counter this measure. And I can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time before an official comment comes out on this subject.

As we wait for that, be sure to join the conversation in the comments and also vote on the Twitter poll below. We will share the poll results a week from now.

Update 1 (Feb 20)

The results for the poll are out. In case you missed out on the poll due to any reason, you can voice your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

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ahmedaljanahy Creative Designer @al.janahy Founder of @inkhost I hope to stay passionate in what I doing

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