Pixel Tablet and Android 14 might not support 32-bit apps

Pixel Tablet and Android 14 might not support 32-bit apps
Looking to complete the Pixel ecosystem, Google announced this past May at its I/O developer conference that the Pixel Tablet will join the Pixel handsets, Pixel Buds, and Pixel Watch in 2023. According to a tweet from Esper's Senior Technical Editor Mishaal Rahman (via ars technica), an intriguing line found in a Google commit says, "Move tangor to 64-bit only."

Considering that tangor is the codename for the Pixel Tablet, the message is clear. Apple moved iOS to 64-bit only in 2017 with iOS 11 leaving a number of 32-bit apps in the App Store for those who decided not to update to the latest iOS version for one reason or another. Eventually, those apps dealt with this change by developing a 64-bit app, or they withered away.

Since 2019, Google has requested that all apps submitted to the Play Store using native code have a 64-bit version. If Google does follow through on the commit, 32-bit apps would not work on the Pixel Tablet. The change also would give apps improved security and smoother, faster performance.

Rahman also tweeted about another commit for Android 14 that proposes that manufacturers build 32-bit Android phones only on devices that feature 3GB of RAM or less. Since most Android phones have 4GB of RAM or more, there is a good chance that next year will see 2023's Android 14 move to 64-bit as well.

The good news is that most chipsets used on Android phones will support 64-bit and some of the silicon used on flagship phones are reducing their 32-bit support. For example, top-of-the-line chips following ARMs architecture are phasing out 32-bit support which is found on only three of the eight cores with the remaining five cores supporting 64-bit only. ARM is looking to drop 32-bit support from its flagship architecture, but Qualcomm, the designer of Snapdragon chips, is not on board.

That's because, in China, the Google Play Store is not allowed reducing the need for 64-bit support. But as ars technica notes, the top five app stores in China are banning 32-bit apps at the end of this month.

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